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:
Correct me if I’m wrong, but is that Chuck C. Johnson walking with Reps. Phil Roe and Andy Harris?
Both waited for him to get through security. pic.twitter.com/ybfdK8Bwqy
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 16, 2019
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.”