Senator Johnson‘s hiring of Trump lawyer begs new questions about Jan. 6

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., waits for a meeting with other lawmakers, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Evidence revealed at the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection shows that an aide for Sen. Johnson told former Vice President Mike Pence's staff that the Republican from Wisconsin wanted to hand-deliver fake elector votes from Wisconsin and Michigan. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By Joe Zepecki
October 24, 2022

In June, the Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol revealed for the first time that Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson was at the center of an attempt to prevent the peaceful transition of power before the capitol was attacked by insurrectionists later that day.

The short version of that disclosure is this — with mere moments to go before the congressional proceedings began on January 6 — Johnson was the ‘inside man’ MAGA Republicans went to in their last ditch attempt to physically hand off slates of fake electors to then Vice President Mike Pence on the floor of the Senate. The fake elector slates were a critical component of the Trump plan to remain in office despite losing the 2020 presidential election.

Since that disclosure in June, Johnson’s explanation of his role has changed multiple times. New reporting just this week may be the most damning yet for Wisconsin’s senior Senator. 

Mere weeks after the Jan. 6 committee first disclosed his role in the fake electors’ plot, Johnson suddenly hired the very same Trump lawyer — Jim Troupis — who he was in communication with the morning of January 6, 2021. In the months since, Johnson’s campaign has paid tens of thousands of dollars to Troupis’ firm.

Now, a couple things are worth pointing out here. First of all, campaigns hire lawyers all the time, for really smart, above board reasons. Complying with campaign finance regulations and ensuring campaigns are operating within the boundaries of the law is a-ok. In fact, not having a lawyer while running for federal office would be the very definition of political malpractice.

But, Johnson has had just such a lawyer for years. He won his first election more than a decade ago and had never paid Troupis so much as a dollar until just weeks after their January 6th communications were revealed to the public.

Which makes it fair to ask: why? Why hire Troupis at all? Why hire him at that particular time?

One possible reason folks are considering is that the payments are an attempt to ensure that Troupis won’t spill the beans about the conversations he and Sen. Johnson had on and before January 6th. 

If Troupis were subpoenaed and ordered to testify in any of the various January 6th investigations currently underway, he could claim that any questions about his conversations with Johnson fall under attorney-client privilege. 

That claim would certainly push any possible testimony, or additional insight into Johnson’s role in the criminal conspiracy led by Trump, out of view of the public until well after Johnson faces the voters.

If Johnson’s involvement in the Trump plot to disrupt the transition of power to President Biden goes deeper than the public currently knows, voters should have that information before they decide whether to fire or re-hire him.


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