Ever since conservative blogger and social media troll Charles “Chuck” Johnson was banned from Twitter in 2015, the controversial figure known for doxxing his detractors and offering cash for “scoops” on others has been keeping busy. More recently, he earned some free press for his role in shaping Malik Obama’s newfound career as a fellow Twitter troll, but Johnson is in the news again thanks to a Forbes article outlining his apparent role in Donald Trump‘s transition team.
Per an investigation stemming from conversations with Johnson back in December, Forbes reporters Ryan Mac and Matt Drange allege their subject “has been pushing for various political appointees to serve under Donald Trump, according to multiple sources close to the President-elect’s transition team.” He “does not have a formal position” to speak of, but Johnson “is working behind the scenes with members of the transition team’s executive committee, including billionaire Trump donor Peter Thiel, to recommend, vet and give something of a seal of approval to potential nominees from the so-called ‘alt-right.'”
As Mac and Drange note, they “verified Johnson’s involvement with multiple people close to the transition team who spoke on condition of anonymity,” though Trump spokesperson-turned-administration appointee Hope Hicks didn’t respond to their request for comment. Neither did Thiel spokesperson Jeremiah Hall. What’s more, the Forbes authors were having trouble getting Johnson to respond to repeated requests for a followup.
To make matters worse, Johnson then told The Daily Beast’s Gideon Resnick “most of the Forbes story is false.” When this claim was pointed out to Mac on Twitter, he stressed they “attempted to contact him multiple times prior to publishing” but received “no response.” Resnick confirmed Mac’s update, saying Johnson “[hadn’t] responded after I asked twice what exactly is false about the story.”
Whether or not Johnson is actually a part of, or participating in, the Trump transition remains to be seen. Considering the infamous troll’s history with bending the truth of stories to fit his own needs suggests not, but considering the crowd the president-elect surrounds himself with, who knows?