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OPINION

How Mike Johnson Spent the Day Protecting Mike Johnson

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Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson made two major statements Wednesday at a press conference on his Biden impeachment inquiry, both of which serve to protect not the rule of law, the public’s faith in the credibility of Congress, or American democracy, but Mike Johnson.

Johnson, elected Speaker by every House Republican just five weeks ago, was widely described as a “back-bencher,” (a British term Americans have co-opted to refer to a low-profile or lower-level member of Congress,) yet he was anything but. While not well-known by the American people, Johnson had made his mark during the 2020 election, leading The New York Times recently to call him “a key architect of his party’s objections to certifying President Biden’s victory.”

“Mr. Johnson played a leading role in recruiting House Republicans to sign a legal brief supporting a lawsuit seeking to overturn the results” of the 2020 presidential election, The Times reported. “In December 2020, Mr. Johnson collected signatures for a legal brief in support of a Texas lawsuit, rooted in baseless claims of widespread election irregularities, that tried to throw out the results in four battleground states won by Joseph R. Biden Jr.”

In an opinion piece last month, The New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie declared, “Mike Johnson Is a Right-Wing Fever Dream Come to Life.”

In addition to Johnson’s far-right wing views on religion and social issues, Bouie pointed to the Speaker’s “tireless advocacy on behalf of Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”

He noted: “Johnson wrote one of the briefs purporting to give a legal justification for throwing out the voting results in several swing states. He advanced the conspiracy theory that Venezuela was somehow involved with the nation’s voting machines. On Jan. 6, 2021, he urged his Republican colleagues to block certification of the election on the grounds that state changes to voting in the face of the pandemic were illegitimate and unconstitutional. When questioned, during his first news conference as speaker, whether he stood by his effort to overturn the 2020 election, he ignored the question, and his fellow Republicans shouted down the reporter who asked it.”

READ MORE: Mike Johnson Once Agreed to Speak at ‘Kill the Gays’ Pastor’s Conference – Until an NCRM Report

Johnson “is, in short, an election-denying extremist who believes that his allies have the right to nullify election results so that they can impose their vision of government and society on an unwilling public.”

On Wednesday, Speaker Johnson falsely described both impeachments of Donald Trump as “meritless.”

It was an important statement for him to make, for Mike Johnson.

“I’m a lawyer. I’m a constitutional law attorney,” Speaker Johnson told reporters Wednesday, a statement he frequently uses to remind people of his status. “I served on President Trump’s impeachment defense team twice. And we lamented openly, we decried how the Democrats politicized that process, they were brazenly political, and how they brought those meritless impeachment charges against the president.”

Donald Trump was impeached the first time for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after “Trump froze military assistance for Ukraine,” NPR reported in early 2020, “at the same time he sought investigations that he thought might help him in the 2020 campaign.”

The second time Trump was impeached, in January 0f 2021, was for “incitement of insurrection.” Speaker Johnson calling that meritless is in direct contradiction of a Colorado judge’s recent ruling that Trump did, in fact, “engage in insurrection.”

“This, what you’re seeing here, is exactly the opposite,” Johnson continued on Wednesday, referring to his committee chairmen’s impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. It is an inquiry that Republicans have been forced to admit, even while on Fox News, they have no actual proof of any impeachable offense.

“We are the rule of law team,” Johnson continued. “The Republican Party stands for the rule of law. And the people in charge of this are doing this thoroughly, carefully. methodically. They’re investigating and gathering all the facts and to do this appropriately and to do it in a manner that upholds our constitutional responsibility. requires time, it requires a sound process. You don’t rush something like this. You can’t.”

It was critical for Johnson to mischaracterize and demean Democrats’ impeachments of Donald Trump, especially Trump’s second impeachment over his “incitement of insurrection.”

Remember, as The Times noted, Johnson was a “key architect” of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. The insurrection was part of that effort.

READ MORE: Speaker Mike Johnson to Be Keynote Speaker at Hardline Christian Nationalist Lawmakers’ Gala

Johnson also “voted against establishing a national commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection,” Politico reported, calling him “one of Trump’s fiercest defenders in his impeachment hearings,”

Two weeks ago NCRM noted the stakes for Johnson “are simple: his three-vote majority is already razor-thin. Speaker Kevin McCarthy made clear Santos would be allowed to stay as long as possible. Will Johnson direct his leadership team to actively whip to expel Santos, knowing his majority will slip even further?”

Johnson answered that question on Wednesday. Despite having just called his House Republican caucus “the rule of law team,”  Johnson effectively declared he opposes Republican efforts to expel U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who is facing 23 federal felony charges, and a damning Ethics Committee report.

Johnson’s tiny majority would become even smaller, should the House expel the embattled New York GOP lawmaker. And early next year it could shrink even more, given the announced upcoming resignation and exit of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), not to mention the other “House Republicans who may head for the exits.”

Dana Houle, a former chief of staff for a Democratic Congressman noted, “Ohio law is murky, but it’s possible [Bill Johnson’s] (overwhelmingly Republican) seat will remain open until November. It’s a reason why Santos won’t be expelled; if Santos’ & Johnson’s seats are vacant the GOP will have only a two seat majority.”

And that’s likely another reason why Speaker Johnson on Wednesday declared, “we’re going to allow people to vote their conscience” on the Santos expulsion vote, expected Thursday. “We’ve not whipped the vote and you wouldn’t I trust that people will make their decisions thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this. I’m, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘How Fascists Act’: Trump Slammed for Demanding Biden Weaponize Government to Help Him

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OPINION

‘Abomination’: Fox Hosts Issue Stunning Trump Legal Judgment Critiques

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Hosts on Fox News on Monday made several misleading claims about the American elections system, COVID, the rule of law, and Friday’s $450 million total civil judgment against Donald Trump and his executives.

“I think that these people clearly hate Trump more than they love America,” declared Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe on Monday. “You know, and by the time they finally get him if they ever do, what’s going to be left of the country? I mean, think about all the damage these threats to democracy people have done as they burn the country down to try to get him.”

“No one trusts elections anymore after they upended the system during a COVID virus almost as deadly as the flu as they append to the process that with mail-in balloting and trying to take Trump off the ballot. No one trusts the rule of law anymore. It doesn’t exist, as they’ve used it weaponized it against Donald Trump. The media’s debased itself lying about Donald Trump.”

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It is untrue that “No one trusts elections anymore.” It is false that COVID is deadly than the flu. Mail-in balloting is a safe alternative to in-person voting.

Boothe’s remarks, while inaccurate, expose the effects the Trump campaign has had on confidence in U.S. elections.

“Few Republicans have high confidence that votes will be tallied accurately in next year’s presidential contest, suggesting years of sustained attacks against elections by former President Donald Trump and his allies have taken a toll, according to a new poll,” the Associated Press reported last summer. “The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds that only 22% of Republicans have high confidence that votes in the upcoming presidential election will be counted accurately compared to 71% of Democrats, underscoring a partisan divide fueled by a relentless campaign of lies related to the 2020 presidential election. Even as he runs for the White House a third time, Trump continues to promote the false claim that the election was stolen.”

As for COVID, as recently as today The Mercury News reported, “COVID deaths in California dropped dramatically in 2023 but still 17 times higher than flu deaths.”

Boothe wasn’t the only Fox News host who spread questionable claims on Monday’s show.

READ MORE: ‘Borders on Pathological’: Judge Decimates Trump in Fraud Ruling

Emily Compagno pointed to the recent threatened Truckers for Trump boycott of New York, without mentioning the truck driver who sparked it retracted his video.

“Chicago Ray deleted his original post and shared a new one on Monday in which he distanced himself from the boycott calls and stressed that he was not encouraging anyone to do anything,” Newsweek reports. NewsNation also reports “Chicago Ray backs down on calls for truck boycott.”

Quoting a comment, Compagno read: ” ‘If all of us patriots stand up we will make a difference. We have to push back against the ones trying to purposely destroy our country.’ And I can’t help but underline that is how everyone is perceiving this abomination of a ruling that had no victims.”

“Everyone” does not perceive the civil business fraud ruling against Trump as an “abomination,” nor as adjudicated to “purposely destroy our country.” Some legal experts have supported and praised the judgment. One called it “a powerful predictor of what’s to come in his criminal trials.”

Last year Fox News settled a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems for a reported $787.5 million, called “one of the largest ever in a defamation case.”

“The case held the potential to make public a stream of damaging information about how the network told its audience a story of fraud and interference in the 2020 presidential election that many of its own executives and on-screen personalities did not believe,” The New York Times reported last April. The paper noted the lawsuit was “over the network’s promotion of misinformation about the 2020 election.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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OPINION

House Republicans Flee DC for Early Vacation Amid National Security ‘Crisis’

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Facing multiple national security threats and another two possible federal government shutdowns of their own creation, House Republicans, who still control the majority, announced on Wednesday they are leaving Washington, D.C. early for their winter vacation.

On Tuesday Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters, “national security begins with border security.” House Republicans have been calling the border a “crisis,” but have killed bipartisan legislation to fix it.

The House won’t be back in session until February 28, barely days before a partial government shutdown that is slated for March 1, with the rest of the government shutdown slated for one week later – unless the House and Senate pass legislation keeping the government funded.

The House was scheduled to be in session through the end of the week, but Republican Majority Whip Tom Emmer announced Wednesday the final vote will be Thursday at 2:30 PM, as Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman reported.

Just two weeks ago Emmer called the situation at the border “the worst crisis we’ve ever seen.”

Meanwhile, just hours ago, Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner stunned the nation by sounding the alarm about what he called “a serious national security threat.” Later reports state it appears to involve Russia, possibly Russian capabilities to use nuclear weapons in space to shoot down satellites.

READ MORE: ‘Own It’: Kellyanne Conway Urges Republicans to Run on Their Anti-Abortion Positions

Earlier Wednesday, a reporter asked House Speaker Mike Johnson about the bipartisan Senate border bill he and Donald Trump killed.

“You yourself were part of killing the Senate compromise bill,” the reporter said. “You called it ‘dead on arrival.’”

“So my question to you is, while you say there need to be solutions, what are House Republicans doing to get to a solution on the border, and on Ukraine. Or are you going to actually do nothing? What is your proposal, what are you doing?”

Johnson  insisted, “We’re addressing each of those issues,” before adding, “We are not going to be forced into action by the Senate.”

The House has yet to address what for months it has called the “crisis” at the southern border, Ukraine’s desperate need for military funding, funding for Israel, funding for Taiwan, and humanitarian aid for Gaza. By killing the Senate border bill ICE is now being forced to plan to release thousands of immigrants into the U.S. due to a $700 million budget deficit that bill would have solved.

Meanwhile, critics are expressing frustration with the House GOP.

READ MORE: ‘Treason’: Top Constitutional Expert Warns on Trump’s Attack on NATO

“The government shuts down on March 1st and Speaker Johnson is cancelling session for Friday. That gives us tomorrow and three days at the end of the month in DC to keep the government open,” lamented U.S. Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-FL).

“Are you kidding me!?” wrote Democratic activist Aaron Parnas. “House Republicans are leaving D.C. for two weeks after scaring the country over a national security threat, refusing to pass aid to Ukraine, and while a shooting is impacting Kansas City.”

Wednesday’s shooting at the Super Bowl parade left one person dead and up to 15 others injured.

The official House calendar shows Congress is scheduled to be in session just 114 days this year. Amid last year’s three weeks of not having a Speaker, and thus not performing its legislative responsibilities, no effort was made to “make up” any of those days in 2024. Last year the House was scheduled for 127 days.

Even those schedules are light. For example, according to the research website ThoughtCo, the House in 2018 was scheduled to be in session for 174 days, and in 2017, 192 days.

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OPINION

Speaker Johnson’s Latest Move Adds to His Conflicting Quagmire of Divergent Border Positions

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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson currently holds several conflicting positions on addressing the U.S. southern border, not to mention sending funds to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan – which he has insisted be linked together. He’s now created an even more confusing quagmire exacerbated by a joint statement released Monday afternoon by his House Republican leadership team.

In their latest shot across the bow to the U.S. Senate, Speaker Johnson and his leadership team declared the just-released Senate immigration and border security funding bill, which includes critical aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, “DEAD on arrival.”

“House Republicans oppose the Senate immigration bill because it fails in every policy area needed to secure our border and would actually incentivize more illegal immigration,” reads the statement from House GOP Speaker Mike Johnson, Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and Majority Whip Tom Emmer. “Because President Biden has refused to utilize his broad executive authority to end the border catastrophe that he has created, the House led nine months ago with the passage of the Secure the Border Act (H.R. 2). That bill contains the necessary components to actually stem the flow of illegals and end the present crisis. The Senate must take it up immediately.”

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“America’s sovereignty is at stake,” the House leadership statement adds. “Any consideration of this Senate bill in its current form is a waste of time. It is DEAD on arrival in the House. We encourage the U.S. Senate to reject it.”

After spending months promoting HR2, the House bill immigration experts and House Judiciary Committee Democrats have called “draconian,” Speaker Johnson recently declared President Joe Biden had to “close” the border and needed absolutely no help from Congress to do so, just merely sign executive orders. President Biden says that’s false.

Over the past few days it has been the stated position of Speaker Johnson that no legislation is needed to secure the border, the House’s HR2 is needed to secure the border, and the Senate bill is “DOA.” Additionally, on critical funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, Johnson says he will bring to the House floor a stand-alone bill solely for funding for Israel, after insisting a U.S. border bill be tied to funding for those three countries. Over the weekend CNN called that an “about face.”

Meanwhile, there’s little to no chance the Senate will even consider HR2.

The right-leaning news outlet The Hill has said HR2 is “a sweeping bill that would drastically restrict the asylum process while establishing a vast new surveillance system to forcibly freeze regional migration and crack down on the existing undocumented population.”

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Calling for a “balanced, bipartisan approach,” House Judiciary Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY) last month said, “House Republicans insist they will only consider H.R. 2, their draconian enforcement-only bill that would destroy the asylum system, gut protections for unaccompanied kids, and end all parole programs. Policies that stand no chance of passage in the Senate, which shows that they’re not interested in real solutions.”

On Monday, Greg Sargent at The New Republic wrote, “Why Mike Johnson Is Having a MAGA Meltdown Over the Border Deal.”

“The House speaker,” Sargent explains, “is afraid that if the Senate bill passes, the GOP will partially own the border crisis. He—and Trump—also fear the bill will work.”

On Sunday, confronted by NBC News’ Kristen Welker, Speaker Johnson was asked if Donald Trump was “calling the shots.” He said, “of course not. I am calling the shots.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Mutiny’: Far Right GOP Senators Start to Give McConnell the McCarthy Treatment

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