GOP Rep. Says He Was ‘Unaware’ Of Holocaust Denier Chuck Johnson’s ‘Previous Associations’

UNITED STATES - MARCH 20: Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) confirmed to TPM Wednesday that he’d had “a discussion” with Holocaust denier and right-wing troll Chuck C. Johnson.

In a statement Harris’ press secretary shared with TPM Wednesday evening, the congressman said he was “unaware of his previous associations.”

“I am unaware of his previous associations, but we had a discussion involving his business with genetic sequencing,” the statement read. “Of course I disavow and condemn white supremacy and anti-semitism.”

HuffPost’s Matt Fuller posted a picture of Harris and Johnson, alongside someone who appeared to be Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), on Wednesday:

Johnson, whose website once raised money for white supremacist Richard Spencer’s legal defense fund, has ties to other members of Congress, as well.

Last year, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was criticized for giving Johnson a ticket to the State of the Union address. (Gaetz told the Daily Beast that Johnson just “showed up at my office,” and that he had no prior relationship with him.)

And, the year prior, Johnson attended a meeting in the Ecuadorian embassy in London with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Soon after, Rohrabacher brought Johnson to a meeting with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

“I do not and never have believed the six million figure,” Johnson wrote in a 2017 Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”), first flagged by Little Green Footballs, referring to Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.

Johnson later claimed “I am not, nor have I ever been a Holocaust denier,” and said the comments were, in Mother Jones’ words, “part of a secret trolling experiment he was running.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: