Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed Republicans Thursday for what he described as "delusional" and "paranoid" attempts to discredit the FBI — singling out GOP Sen. Ron Johnson for a particularly harsh rebuke.
The Wisconsin Republican suggested earlier in the week that a series of text messages between two FBI officials — backed up by an "informant" — had identified a "secret society" within the bureau with anti-Trump intent.
"Republican members of this body, I am ashamed to say, picked up on casual texts sent between FBI agents to say that there is a ‘secret society’ at the Department of Justice — without a shred of evidence," Schumer said on the Senate floor.
"I saw the senator ... propagating this on television this morning," he said of Johnson. "It looked delusional. It looked paranoid. What began as an attempt to discredit the investigator has now devolved into delusional, self-serving paranoia."
ABC reported Wednesday that the full text — which hadn't been made public when Johnson leveled the claim — appeared ambiguous and was perhaps meant sarcastically.
Per ABC, the full text message from FBI lawyer Lisa Page to senior counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok read: "Are you even going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society."
On Fox News earlier in the week, Johnson describe the "secret society" text and revealed a potential bombshell: "The secret society — we have an informant talking about a group holding secret meetings offsite,” Johnson said in an interview with anchor Bret Baier.
The next day, Johnson told reporters that he wasn't sure what the text between to the two FBI officials actually meant and that "secret society" was simply the term used by the two officials.