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OPINION

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

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Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving party leader in the history of the U.S. Senate, is facing increased rebellion from the far-right faction of his conference, with calls for his ouster including from one longtime GOP Senator who declared, “WE NEED NEW LEADERSHIP — NOW,” and a reporter calling it a hint “at mutiny.”

At issue is the bipartisan U.S. Senate border deal, months in the making, which includes funding for the southern border, a major rewrite of immigration laws, and funding for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. Axios calls it “one of the harshest immigration bills of the century,” and even the traditionally right-wing U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports it. The bill was crafted by hardcore conservative U.S. Sen. Jim Lankford (R-OK), hardcore liberal U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), and libertarian-leaning progressive Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ). It is strongly supported by President Joe Biden, and both Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Brawl erupts in Senate GOP over border security supplemental,” is the AM headline at Punchbowl News, with the news outlet reporting: “the bill’s release Sunday night was like pouring gasoline on the fire that is the Senate GOP internal war. Senators and aides publicly and privately questioned whether a majority of the Republican Conference would back it, a key metric. There were even calls for an immediate leadership change from some GOP senators and conservative outside groups.”

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The text of the legislation, unveiled Sunday evening, has drawn harsh criticism from Republicans of all stripes in the House of Representatives, with Speaker Mike Johnson calling it “dead on arrival,” and from far right Republicans in the Senate. Mike Lee of Utah appears to be the loudest of the three ringleaders charging against the bill – and against McConnell.

“This bill unites Senate Democrats and sharply divides Senate Republicans,” Lee wrote on X Monday morning, the latest in a screed of dozens of posts that began Sunday evening.

Behind all of this is Donald Trump, who has very publicly opposed the legislation long before the text of the bill was released. Those opposed to the border bill, strong promoted by Senator Lankford, are largely Trump acolytes. In addition to the large number of House Republicans, on the Senate side they include Steve Daines of Montana, who also serves Senate leadership as the Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Newsweek puts the count of GOP Senators opposed to the just-unveiled border bill at eleven. In addition to Daines, they include: Marsha Blackburn, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, Eric Schmitt, Tommy Tuberville, JD Vance, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Mike Lee.

Senators Lee, Hawley, and Cruz appear to be the ringleaders opposing the bill.

READ MORE: ‘Decision Time’: Dem Challenges GOP With Release Date of Bipartisan Border and Ukraine Bill

Late Sunday night Senator Cruz (R-TX) wrote, “Two weeks ago, at a Senate press conference, I said this deal was a ‘stinking pile of crap.’ It turns out my assessment was too generous.” He also wrote, “This…is…INSANE. On Schumer’s Open-Borders Legislation, Republicans shouldn’t just vote no… …but HELL NO.”

Overnight and into Monday, Senator Lee went on a social media extravaganza, blasting the bill, and the Senate GOP Minority Leader.

“If you had a lawyer, agent, or employee who (while negotiating on your behalf) botched a deal as badly as Senate GOP leadership botched this border / supplemental aid package, would you immediately fire that person?” Lee asked on X, suggesting he wants McConnell gone.

“This is worse than bad negotiation. It’s betrayal. The Senate GOP can still stop it if 41 [Senators] will stand together,” Lee wrote on X, calling it a “crap-sandwich” and the “Border Capitulation Bill.”

Making even more clear his desire to see McConnell replaced, Lee added: “Senate GOP leadership screwed this up—and screwed us. Even while refusing to let us see the bill they claimed to be negotiating on our behalf—for MONTHS—they were never in doubt, insisting we’d be dumb and even unpatriotic NOT to support it. This is a disqualifying betrayal.

Unsurprisingly, Sen. Lee was the one to announce, “WE NEED NEW LEADERSHIP — NOW.”

READ MORE: ‘Each Person’ Will ‘Serve’ Jesus: Embattled Republican’s Christian Nationalism Revealed

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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“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.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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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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