Two days after not only appearing on Fox News and claiming he could confirm the existence of a rogue “secret society” within the FBI dedicated to bring down Donald Trump, but also announcing there was an “informant” to corroborate the story, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has emerged as a national punchline as the whole GOP charade has collapsed in spectacular fashion.

The caper represents just the newest desperate attempt by Republicans to protect the White House from tripping legal jeopardy.

The strategy is harshly transparent: The GOP is trying to dismantle trust in the FBI so that if and when the Trump White House faces indictments, the public relations shield will revolve around the promise of the way untrustworthy government law enforcement is.

It’s an astonishing position to take for a political party that “have often sold ourselves as the party of law enforcement, and not just on the state and local level, but the federal level as well,” Rep. Charlie Dent said on Wednesday, urging his Republican colleagues to “temper” their anti-FBI rhetoric.

But it’s too late for Johnson, who is now paying a price for his reckless behavior.

His step-on-a-rake routine began Tuesday night when he claimed a single text message between two FBI employees proved there was “a group that was holding secret meetings off-site” and reflected “corruption, more than bias.”

Remember, this is the chairman of Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, going on national television and just making stuff up about some kind of deep State conspiracy over the FBI.

Still, the fever swamp GOP press loved it.

But with the text message now public — “Are you going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society” — it’s clear to any rational thinking person that the message was sent in jest, i.e., Let’s form a secret society, haha.

On Thursday, Johnson essentially confirmed that the text message was not, in fact, a gateway into a mysterious, Trump-hating FBI underground. Instead, it was a joke made between friends. (The senator still hasn’t explained the “informant” nonsense.) Fox News has since punted on the whole charade.

Speaking on the floor of U.S. Senate Thursday, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) belittled Johnson for making “delusional” and “paranoid” claims about the FBI.

On Twitter, Johnson continues to get roasted over his dopey “secret society” claim:

Maybe the next time Johnson feels the need to run to Fox News and spread lies about the FBI, he’ll think twice.

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