When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro, and when the weird turn pro, sometimes they want to sabotage each other, apparently.
It’s a feud that could only happen in the bizarro, life-as-Mad Lib political universe of 2016: Roger Stone, the godfather of ratfucking and longtime friend of Donald Trump, and Charles “Chuck” Johnson, professional troll-investigator for the millennial generation, are fighting over a young man from Arkansas who believes he is the illegitimate son of Bill Clinton.
“He’s crazy,” Stone told me of Johnson.
“I feel a bit about Roger the same way I did when we had to take away the keys from Grandpa,” Johnson told me of Stone.
Both men are conservatives who ostensibly want to Make America Great Again! but they differ bitterly on how exactly to do so when it comes to the curious case of Danney Williams, who calls himself “the Clinton kid.” Their disagreement underscores the total lunacy of the general election, where, with eight days to go, things have spiraled so far out of control that even the fringe, peripheral figures are battling.
In Johnson, Stone says, he sees potential lost: “You can’t believe a word the fellow says, it’s too bad because he’s a genius in some ways.”
In Stone, Johnson says, he sees an irrelevant political operative whom he believes is standing in the way of the truth in order to boost his own profile.
Of the two, Johnson is the less forgiving. “Roger should be very careful about calling me crazy. Everything I’ve predicted has come to pass,” he said. “Crazy like a fox?”
This begins, as all great stories should, with Bill Clinton’s morning jog.
“About five blocks” from the governor’s mansion in Arkansas, Clinton often jogged past a housing project in 1984, according to The Clintons’ War on Women, Stone’s latest book. That was when he encountered Bobbi Ann Williams, who was a prostitute at the time. Williams claims she and the then-governor had sex behind bushes, at the Little Rock Holiday Inn, and with a bunch of her friends at his mom’s cabin. She says she became pregnant, and during her pregnancy continued to see Clinton, who laughed off her suggestion that it was his child. Williams says she’s sure her son, Danney Williams, named for her husband, is Clinton’s because he was the only white man she’d had sex with the month he was conceived, and as an infant, he was very pale.
In 1999, the tabloid Star reported the Danney Williams story and claimed it would conduct a DNA test using the written report on Clinton’s DNA from the Ken Starr investigation into his sexual misconduct, which included his semen on Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress. Star never announced the results of its alleged test, but the Drudge Report claimed Time magazine had learned the test cleared Clinton. In The Clintons’ War on Women, Stone claims a Clinton operative later told him the Star piece was planted by the administration to trick the mainstream media. (Stone sees a conspiracy in the fact that, in 1999, Star was purchased by Evercore Capital Partners LLC, an investment group run by Roger Altman, a longtime friend of the Clintons who served as deputy secretary of the Treasury).
Both Stone and Johnson are in agreement that the Star DNA test either never happened or was bogus, but that’s where the fight begins.
Johnson, who is 28 years old and sports carrot-colored hair and a corresponding beard, first gained notoriety while at The Daily Caller, where he enthusiastically, if not always accurately, reported on the since-indicted Sen. Bob Menendez. He views Menendez’s corruption indictment as a personal victory, although the senator was never found to have frequented underage prostitutes as Johnson claimed. In the ensuing years, Johnson has acted as a pervasive nuisance on social media (until he was banned from Twitter), making enemies left and right, most notably Gawker, whose demise he gleefully championed. Today, Johnson runs WeSearchr, an organization with a mission statement that reads, “1. We post bounties on questions people want answered. 2. We pay the people that answer them. 3. That’s it.” In his telling, a question he wanted answered was Danney Williams’s paternity.
“I always suspected Bill Clinton probably knocked up one of the women he was seeing,” Johnson told me. “I saw an opportunity to answer the question definitively.”
He says he offered Williams a substantial but unspecified sum of money in exchange for his DNA sample.
“I thought getting Danney’s DNA would be easy,” he said. “He lost his job, he was willing to chat on the phone, and I was willing to spend serious money to get it.”
Johnson claims he already has “the Clinton side of the DNA,” but wouldn’t get into details, only divulging that he “sent private eyes to get it.” He added that he wouldn’t need Bill Clinton’s DNA specifically, just that of a relative.
“Danny is raising money on his GoFundMe for $100K and has raised less than $5,” Johnson said. There are several GoFundMe’s related to Williams, one which seeks to raise $100,000 and has raised $2,780, and another which has raised just $30 of a $500,000 goal.
“I had a representative meet him in Little Rock and gave him a grand just for the meeting,” Johnson said, “We more or less begged him to give us his DNA for money and we offered a lot of money.”
That is where Stone came in.
“I hear from Danney that he doesn’t want to do the DNA testing despite me basically throwing money at him. I ask why, and then I find out it’s because of Roger.”
Johnson texted Stone to confront him, and provided screen shots of the exchange to The Daily Beast. Stone was aggravated Johnson had told Williams he couldn’t help him, and Johnson cautioned him that he was beginning to look like he was all talk. Stone told him to “watch and learn.”
As a result of Stone keeping Williams from him, Johnson is now intensely skeptical of his story. It would be, Johnson says, very easy to perform a DNA test.
“The fact that no one is willing to actually do that suggests to me that this is all a con.” Stone, he said, “goes right up to the line without actually demonstrating it’s true. He just wants it to be truthful enough, or truthy enough, which is what all conspiracy theorists do.”
He added, “I guess Roger is too busy selling T-shirts that say ‘Rape’ on them and peddling the theory that LBJ killed JFK.”
The flip side is that not everyone, even a proud dirty trickster like Stone, trusts Johnson, so his claim that he has Clinton’s DNA—and the DNA of Dr. George Wright, whom some conspiracy theorists allege is actually the former president’s father—is met with raised eyebrows. To Stone, Johnson is just some cocksure kid who’s trampling all over his territory and potentially poisoning the Danney Williams well.
In an email, Stone called Johnson a “spastic loser,” a “talentless little asshole,” and “mentally ill.” He said Johnson being on the autism spectrum, which he has been open about, explains his problems.
“The issues with autism,” Stone said, “are essentially a person is highly intelligent on the one hand [like Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man], but on the other hand their social skills are stuck at about the level of a 5 year old.”
Stone continued, “So he does ‘off the wall’ things that to the normal person is betrayal/jerk/asshole/crazy, but in his 5-year-old mind he is only able to consider the need for getting attention, nothing else. He was temporarily kicked off Twitter for giving out the home addresses of reporters, then get got reinstated and did it again! He got kicked off again temporarily, and did it again! Then he got permanently banned. So this how the autistic mind / 5-year-old child thinks, he does what brings him attention at the moment, and cannot take consequences into consideration.”
He added, “Be very very careful what you write about me. Frankly, I would enjoy suing you and exposing your duplicity and lack of journalistic ethics.”
But Johnson is undeterred. “I want to know the answer,” he said. “Don’t you want to know the answer?”