Last week, I pointed out some discrepancies in the way Mike Johnson has—at moments over the past few years when it has been politically convenient—told his story of "adopting" a troubled Black teenager, also named Michael.
At that time, I was willing to give Johnson the benefit of the doubt concerning one of the glaring inconsistencies in the timeline he had offered.
In 2019, Johnson stated he "took custody" of Michael when he and his wife were newlyweds. But he confusingly stated that this undocumented "custody" began "twenty-two years ago" (i.e. two years before he got married).
In future tellings, Johnson was careful to correct the timeline, so I was willing to allow that "twenty-two years ago" may have been a slip of the tongue (even though he said it just weeks after celebrating the 20th anniversary of his "covenant marriage").
The real truth lay in Johnson’s "slip of the tongue."
Since making his original admission, Johnson and two separate spokespeople have consistently misrepresented the details of how Johnson "took custody" of Michael.
The way Johnson and his spokespeople have told the story, Michael would have been 14 years old in 1999 and 38 in 2023.
New facts came to light on November 3, the same day I highlighted here more aspects of Speaker Johnson's Russian-financed, highly secretive life.
In a new article, The Daily Mail confirmed Johnson's adopted Black son was indeed 40 years old—along with additional details about his continued run-ins with law enforcement.
This now-confirmed timeline shows that Michael Tirrell James, Johnson's "adopted" son, was 14 when then-single—and still only 24 years old—Mike Johnson met him in 1997. Michael Tirrell James is 40 years old today.
The age difference between "father" and "son" is less than eleven years.
This new reporting, combined with what we already knew about Johnson's strange life story, adds to a troubling picture, leaving some crucial questions about the woefully unvetted House Speaker still unanswered.
What did Johnson lie about? What has he tried to conceal?
We know for sure Mike Johnson hasn’t been straight with us. Here's a quick recap of what we now know—and what we still don't:
- Johnson launched his MAGA career as a father-of-four white kids before revealing the existence of an older Black "son."
- Johnson has been cagey about the exact timeline of his relationship with the underage boy he once "took custody" of.
- Johnson’s evangelical group—Young Life Ministry—has a history of covering up sexual predation. Johnson has yet to be asked about this organization's role in "adopting" a troubled teenager he first met as a single man.
- The way Johnson has described the "adoption," you would think he steered young Michael Tirrell James away from a life of crime. But Johnson is not the savior he has presented himself as. His "adopted" son has, says The Daily Mail, "a rap sheet that goes back to 2003."
- In addition, Johnson's "adopted" son went on to become an "adult predator," dating an underage girl he met over the internet in 2007. In petitioning a court to keep Michael Tirrell James away from his daughter, the girl's father said James, "told me that he will do what [the] f**k he wants to do and don't get in my way or you dead. She is my b***h."
- In 1999, two years after forming a close personal relationship with Michael Tirrell James, Johnson entered into a "covenant marriage"—an arrangement that makes divorce extra-difficult and which requires the couple to take part in period of pre-marital religious therapy.
- Once in the marriage, both he and his wife became outspoken anti-LGBTQ activists—frequently using rhetoric so extreme that some people are openly wondering if Johnson "doth protest too much."
- Johnson took money from Russians in 2018—at least one of whom is a Putin-connected oligarch.
- Russian state TV celebrated Johnson's ascension to the Speakership with the kind of glee that suggests possible kompromat.
- Johnson has gone to great lengths to conceal his personal financial records.
It's enough to make you wonder if he uses the same bank as former GOP House Speaker Denny Hastert.
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