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Mike Johnson’s Own Words on Impeachment Come Back to Haunt Him

A newly resurfaced video shows Mike Johnson complaining about “single-party impeachment.”

Mike Johnson
Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson once warned about the exact impeachment strategy his party is now pursuing against Joe Biden.

In a video from 2019 recently resurfaced by MSNBC, Johnson raises concerns about Democrats opening an impeachment inquiry against Trump along party lines, as well as an impeachment happening within a year of a presidential election.

Johnson also warned that the Founding Fathers would have been against Trump’s impeachment because they believed a “single-party impeachment” would divide Americans.

“The Founding Fathers warned us,” Johnson said in 2019.

The House plans on authorizing Biden’s impeachment inquiry on Wednesday.

Republicans Reject “Open and Transparent” Clause From Biden Impeachment Rules

House Republicans seem committed to making their impeachment inquiry as shady as possible.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
House Rules Committee Chair Tom Cole

Republicans are doubling down on their removal of the phrase “open and transparent” from a proposed resolution to impeach President Joe Biden, continuing to defend a move that by all means looks like an effort to keep the American people in the dark and out of a legal challenge to the nation’s highest elected official.

Republicans on the House Rules Committee on Tuesday voted against adding the clause back into their impeachment rules.

A senior House Republican aide identified with House Speaker Mike Johnson previously said that the term was excluded from the resolution on the basis that it was “too wordy,” according to USA Today.

But Democrats got feisty about that, pointing toward their 2019 impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, which didn’t just include the phrase in its text but utilized it as a header to front a section explaining the proceedings.

“My point is that at the impeachment inquiry phase, when we took that vote, from then on, everything was public, which is why the resolution was structured as such,” said Colorado Representative Joe Neguse. “In this instance, Republicans have removed it, and it’s clear that they don’t intend to have a public process.”

Neguse also highlighted that Republicans’ impeachment rules, as currently written, don’t require a single public hearing.

The blatant dismissal of the phrase seems more akin to shirking responsibility for a transparent proceeding, despite aggressive Republican signaling otherwise.

On Tuesday, Republican Representative Guy Reschenthaler claimed the inquiry was inherently transparent because “you can’t turn on a news program” without seeing Representatives Jim Jordan or House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer discussing the investigation.

It’s not the only aspect of the inquiry in which Republicans are insisting on discretion. Last week, the caucus threatened to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress if he refused to appear for a closed-door deposition, despite the president’s son’s previously voiced preference for a public hearing, fearing that information from those interviews would be selectively leaked and used to “manipulate, even distort, the facts and misinform the American public.”

Congressional Interns Accuse Bosses of Suppressing Calls for Cease-Fire

In a new open letter, interns on Capitol Hill say members of Congress are ignoring their own constituents.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Inc/Getty Images

Congressional interns are calling their bosses out, accusing the rank and file of Capitol Hill of downplaying constituent calls for a cease-fire in Gaza, claiming that hundreds of thousands of messages from U.S. citizens and staff have gone “unnoticed and unheard.”

In an open letter signed by 140 interns and fellows working for Democratic and Republican offices, the collective noted that congressional phone lines and inboxes have been more than overwhelmed with messages calling for an immediate cease-fire. In just 71 of 535 congressional offices, constituents placed more than 693,170 calls, letters, and voice messages demanding a cease-fire, according to the group.

“We believe Israel, like any nation, has the right to defend itself and its people. However, there is no justification for the wanton killing of innocent civilians. There is no justification for intentionally bombing hospitals, shelters, water supplies, religious sites, or schools. This is no longer an act of defense. It is genocide,” the letter read.

“While we refrain from telling our bosses how to do their jobs, as congressional interns and fellows, we owe it to the American people to expose the patent malpractice of Congress. We can no longer stand by while the voices of constituents are suppressed and ignored by their elected officials,” they added, avoiding naming themselves for fear of career retaliation.

The interns also noted that some members of Congress have not been “adequately briefed” about the volume or contents of the messages and that despite congressional inaction, they would do “everything in our power to ensure a permanent ceasefire is achieved.”

“To diminish the intelligence of people who support a ceasefire, to blatantly spread misinformation within the office about the conflict, and to actively make other staff feel uncomfortable is appalling,” read one testimonial included in the letter. “There is a clear disconnect between what the American public wants and what their representatives are doing.”

This isn’t the first report that members of Congress are ignoring constituent calls for a ceasefire. Last month, a HuffPost report found that several Democratic lawmakers explicitly told their staff to let the ringing go to voicemail. At the time, one staffer said the calls don’t “stop ringing at any point in the day.”

Sixty-one percent of all likely voters support a cease-fire and calls for the deescalation of violence in Gaza, according to a December 5 Data for Progress poll. That same poll found that the majority of respondents (63 percent), including Republicans, felt that Israel should only receive more aid under the condition that it meets a U.S. standard for human rights.

Meanwhile, only 11 percent of Congress feels the same, with just 61 lawmakers having issued statements calling for a cease-fire.

At least 18,412 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the war began, and 1.7 million people (or 81 percent of the total population) have been displaced, according to data from the Gaza Health Ministry and the United Nations.

Giuliani Just Made His Legal Troubles Even Worse in Georgia Defamation Trial

Rudy Giuliani may have just defamed two Georgia election workers ... again.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani just can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

The former Trump attorney got grilled by a federal judge on Tuesday, who argued that Giuliani’s post-court tirade, during which he espoused more of the 2020 election lies that he’s on the stand for to begin with, could warrant more defamation charges.

America’s mayor is currently on trial to determine how many millions he owes a pair of Georgia poll workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. Giuliani was already found liable in August for defaming them after he accused the duo of manipulating ballots—claims that transformed into months of harassment, death threats, and protesters at their doorsteps.

Outside the courthouse on Monday, the very first day after his trial, Giuliani told a gaggle of reporters that he still stands by those claims.

“Of course I don’t regret it, I told the truth,” Giuliani said. “They were engaged in changing votes.”

“When I testify, the whole story will be definitively clear that what I said was true, and that, whatever happened to them—which is unfortunate about other people overreacting—everything I said about them is true,” he added.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell was incensed by the accusations, which flew in the face of part of Giuliani’s defense, which argued that Freeman and Moss were “good people” who did not deserve what happened to them. Even Giuliani’s attorney, Joe Sibley, had a hard time defending his client’s behavior, admitting that the two statements were not “reconcilable” before blaming Giuliani’s inflammatory comments on the 79-year-old’s age.

“Was Mr. Giuliani just playing for the cameras?” Howell asked Sibley on Tuesday, noting that his recent comments “could support another defamation claim.”

It may be a supernova blast in the limelight for America’s disgraced mayor, whose star is quickly dying amid a flurry of legal charges that have all but bankrupted him. After this expensive trial, Giuliani will be one of 19 co-defendants in the Fulton County election interference case in which he stands accused of orchestrating a “criminal enterprise” in Georgia that pressured state officials to reverse Trump’s election loss.

But Giuliani may be undone even before he’s handed a sentence. In September, the criminal defendant was sued by his former legal representation for failing to pay his bill, allegedly only dishing out $214,000 of nearly $1.6 million in legal expenses, after he claimed he was stiffed by his favorite client, Trump, to the tune of millions of dollars.

It should serve as a lesson to even the closest of Trump’s allies: There’s no thanks for helping the real estate mogul. Despite the bad blood, Giuliani apparently had no other option than to beg Trump for help settling his seven-figure legal fees, to which the stingy developer refused but offered to throw a couple of fundraisers for him instead.

Watch Matt Gaetz Get Trolled With “Underage Sex Award” at Republican Event

The Florida representative was caught off guard when he appeared onstage.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz was recently surprised with an award at an Ohio GOP event, congratulating him for his dedication to using Venmo to allegedly pay underage girls for sex.

On a livestream of the Strongsville Republican Party’s Christmas gathering, which took place Thursday, a man who introduced himself as “Mike with the Strongsville GOP” went on stage and invited Gaetz to join him. He then presented the 2023 Strongsville GOP award and offered the odd congratulations to Gaetz.

“Congratulations for your dedication to using Venmo to allegedly pay underage girls to have sex with you,” the presenter said, catching Gaetz off guard.

“Oh come on man, you’re so full of it,” Gaetz replied, as he continued to awkwardly hold the award in his hand. Police immediately escorted the presenter away.

The Department of Justice decided in February that it would not charge Gaetz after its sex-trafficking investigation. But since then, the House Ethics Committee has reopened its own investigation into Gaetz—looking at the Florida congressman’s alleged sexual misconduct, illicit drug use, and other misconduct.

The Daily Beast reported in 2021 that the congressman had paid a 17-year-old girl as well as accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg through Venmo. Greenberg, an associate of Gaetz’s and at the center of the DOJ investigation, pleaded guilty the next month on charges ranging from falsifying identification to the sex trafficking of a child. He was sentenced last year to 11 years in prison.

Growing Number of Republicans Say They’d Back Trump—Even With a Felony

A new poll reveals the true extent of Donald Trump’s hold over the Republican Party.

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Two-thirds of Republicans apparently have no problem with reelecting someone who attempted to overthrow the government.

Just 31 percent of Republicans would not vote for Donald Trump if he was convicted before Election Day 2024, according to a new Reuters/IPSOS poll.

That’s a drastically lower number than recorded in August, when nearly half of polled Republicans said that the vote for Trump was a no-go if the GOP front-runner was “convicted of a felony crime by a jury.” In that same poll, just 35 percent of Republicans said they would continue to support him even if he was found guilty of a crime, while the remaining 20 percent said they were undecided.

While lacking nearly a third of the Republican vote could be enough to sink Trump, the shrinking figure paints a foreboding picture ahead of next November.

Trump currently faces 91 charges across four criminal cases: the federal election interference case, the Georgia election interference case, the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, and the Stormy Daniels case in which Trump is accused of using his fixer Michael Cohen to falsify business documents to quietly pay off the porn actress ahead of the 2016 election.

And while Republicans’ preference for Trump seems to fly in the face of his criminal trials, there’s a reason for their madness—fewer than a quarter actually believe the accusations.

And yet the presidential race is currently neck and neck. In a general election Morning Consult poll published Sunday, Trump pulled 43 percent of the vote while Biden lagged slightly behind at 41 percent.

Some of that dwindling support behind the incumbent is due to Biden’s recent policy decisions at home and abroad. On Friday, the Biden administration signaled to Republicans that it was open to a swath of Democrat-opposed border policies, including some that were previously tried by Donald Trump, for instance adding 12,000 beds to detention centers in an apparent attempt to compromise on a Republican proposal to detain asylum-seekers instead of releasing them with a court date.

Biden has also upset young voters and people of color—who clinched his 2020 win—with his unwavering support of Israel amid the escalating conflict between the Middle Eastern country and Gaza, where at least 18,412 Palestinians have been killed and 1.7 million people (or 81 percent of the total population) have been displaced since the war began on October 7, according to data from the Gaza Health Ministry and the United Nations.

GOP Senator Flabbergasted When Asked to Back Up Evidence-Free Claim

The Republican senator appeared speechless when asked to back up his wild claim about Democrats.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was left flabbergasted when asked to back up his wild claim that Democrats used fake electors in the 2020 election.

Johnson shared the unsubstantiated claim in an interview with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Monday evening. Collins asked the Republican senator if Bob Spindell, who acted as a fake elector in favor of Donald Trump during the 2020 election, should be suspended from his role on the Wisconsin Election Commission.

Spindell was one of 10 Wisconsin Republicans who posed as fake electors in the 2020 election and agreed last week to settle a civil lawsuit acknowledging that President Joe Biden won that election—three years later. Spindell and the nine other fake electors agreed not to serve in next year’s election or any other election that Trump runs in—but Spindell has still not been removed from the state’s Election Commission.

Johnson, for his part, still thinks Spindell and his allies did nothing wrong.

“These folks did nothing different than what many Democrats have done in many states,” Johnson said on CNN. “It has happened repeatedly.”

The senator told Collins to “just check the books” for instances of fake Democrat electors but deflected when Collins asked, “Which books?”

Johnson is right that fake elector schemes have been found across the country—but they were all backing Trump. In addition to Wisconsin, Nevada, Michigan, and Georgia have all charged fake electors in their states. There is yet another investigation into a similar scheme in Arizona. Meanwhile, Trump faces separate charges in Georgia for the whole plot.

Jack Smith Is Going to Expose Trump—With His Own Cell Phone Data

Special counsel Jack Smith is prepared to use Trump’s cell phone data at his January 6 trial.

Jack Smith
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The prosecution in Donald Trump’s federal election subversion trial has an apparent bombshell on the horizon.

Special counsel Jack Smith filed legal documents on Monday indicating that he will call three (currently unnamed) witnesses to speak to a trove of data extracted from Trump’s cell phone in use during his years at the White House.

The first two witnesses will translate geographic location data logged on the device by Google into a visual representation of the “movements of individuals toward the Capitol area during and after the defendant’s speech at the Ellipse,” according to the document.

The third witness will use the data to explain how Trump used Twitter on January 6, revealing images and websites visited, determining the “usage of these phones throughout the post-election period,” and identifying the “periods of time during which the defendant’s phone was unlocked and the Twitter application was open on January 6.”

The data on Trump’s phone could provide a tick-tock of Trump’s behavior on January 6 and the days immediately preceding and following it, as well as supply additional information about who had access to his accounts and devices.

It could also explain whether Trump personally approved the January 6 tweet assailing Vice President Mike Pence for not having the “courage” to overturn the election results, issued a mere two minutes before Pence was whisked out of the Capitol by a security detail as storming rioters chanted, “Hang Pence.”

Monday’s filing is the latest indication of what Smith intends to do with a trove of data collected via search warrant back in January.

The trial, in which Trump faces four federal charges related to his attempt to thwart the presidential transfer of power, is set to begin in March—though the former president’s team is still fighting to delay it.

Jake Sullivan Has a Dire Warning on What Happens if Ukraine Doesn’t Get Needed Aid

In a sit-down at the National Press Club, the national security adviser also addressed Gaza, asserting that Israel was succeeding in targeting Hamas leaders.

Jake Sullivan
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday expressed concern about the dire threats facing America and the world if Congress doesn’t pass needed Ukraine funding this week—going so far as to warn that a broader war may break out that could involve U.S. troops.

During an event co-hosted by The DSR Network and The New Republic at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Sullivan repeatedly expressed concern about what is happening in Ukraine and what message America would be sending if it abandons the country amid the Russian invasion.

“I do not think it’s hyperbole to say that basically the security of Europe is at stake, and therefore the risk of American men and women having to go deal with another massive war in Europe, as we have before, if we don’t work with Ukraine to stop Russia in Ukraine. That’s at stake,” Sullivan said.

“Look, the arithmetic here is simple,” he continued. “We have now, as of the end of December, used up all of the funding that Congress has given us to supply weapons to Ukraine, and then to replenish our stocks with the weapons that we’ve handed over. And so if Congress does not come through, we will begin to enter a period in which we are unable to give Ukraine the air defense interceptors it needs to keep Russian missiles from crashing into Ukrainian cities. We will not be able to provide the ammunition necessary for them to continue advancing and hold the line against the Russian attacks, which have been intensive in the east over the course of the past few weeks. And as weeks go by, that will have a material effect on Ukraine’s battlefield position.”

Sullivan asserted that most members of Congress—across party lines—do want to see additional funding for Ukraine. Republicans, however, are stuck on pairing that aid with changes to border and immigration policy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will visit Congress on Tuesday to make a last-ditch plea for an aid package before the holidays. That’s unfortunately looking increasingly unlikely, as there are only three days left in Congress this session.

Beyond stark warnings about the future of European security, Sullivan also spoke about American values when it comes to Ukraine. “I believe the American people still want to see the United States standing for the basic proposition that a free people deserves to be free, and we should help them be able to achieve that,” he said. “And if we don’t, I really think it undermines the very idea of who we are as a country. And there isn’t really a greater stake than that.”

He did not, however, raise these same values when discussing Israel’s actions in Gaza—which to this point have killed nearly 18,000 Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of them civilians. When asked whether Israel is taking out Hamas targets such that the war might end sometime soon, he lauded Israel’s progress in fighting Hamas and defended its ground operation to the south of the Gaza Strip as being effective in targeting Hamas leadership.

“In Gaza City, they have managed to identify and begin to neutralize a truly expansive network of tunnels that form the backbone of the military capacity of Hamas in the north, and they’re working through ways in which they are going to render those tunnels ineffective going forward,” Sullivan said. “They have been able to take out senior brigade commanders, battalion commanders, company commanders, and a significant number of fighters and now in the south in Khan Yunis, that’s really the beating heart of the Hamas leadership that is located and has been located in that area. And so they’re equally in a ground operation trying to get after the infrastructure that has supported the command and control for Hamas writ large overall, and are looking to neutralize that as well.”

“Ultimately, they’re going to continue to work at getting the most high value targets, the authors of the horrible massacre on October 7, including [Yahya] Sinwar, [Mohammed] Deif, and [Marwan] Issa, the top three Hamas leaders in Gaza. And they have not yet obviously gotten to them.”

Sullivan made no mention of the rising death toll of Palestinians. When asked by The New Republic’s Michael Tomasky if he could foresee the United States attaching conditions to military assistance to Israel if the war continues to drag on, Sullivan demurred. “We will be talking to them and have been,” he said. “President Biden, most recently, with Prime Minister Netanyahu, about what their vision is for how long this goes on. But I think for now, those conversations are best left behind closed doors. And so I won’t yet entertain the hypothetical in your question.”

On another matter, audience member Jon Wolfsthal, who was the senior director for arms control issues in the Obama administration, asked whether the administration was reviewing the fact that a president can bypass military leaders to order the launch of nuclear weapons. Wolfsthal didn’t mention Donald Trump but did invoke the idea that a “future president” could act unilaterally and asked if reviewing this was on the administration’s agenda.

“It is not right now on our agenda but now that you posed the question, it will be,” Sullivan replied. “I will go back tonight and say, ‘Hey, what’s the deal with the question?’ I’m not unfamiliar with the issue generally, but it hasn’t sat at the core of the debates we’ve been having over the Nuclear Posture Review, or the employment guidance, or other critical documents. It’s a completely worthy question and one we should be taking a look at. This is one of those cases where you’re actually posing a question that’s going to generate a task.”

Texas Woman Forced to Flee State for Abortion After Dystopian Legal Battle

“She’s been in and out of the emergency room and she couldn’t wait any longer.”

Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

A Texas woman who was pleading the courts for an emergency abortion—and who was personally and repeatedly targeted by Attorney General Ken Paxton—has been forced out of state in order to receive critical care.

Kate Cox has been at the center of a contentious post-Roe ruling, riding out a legal challenge to the state’s near-total abortion ban after learning that her fetus has a fatal genetic condition that could jeopardize her health and future fertility if carried to term. The lawsuit is the first of its kind since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.

On Thursday, Travis County District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble ruled that Cox should receive a temporary restraining order, allowing the 31-year-old mother of two to pursue an abortion under the ban’s medical emergencies clause. But hours after the ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the state’s Supreme Court to intervene and issued a statement promising to prosecute doctors performing the procedure with felony charges, even if a court permitted the procedure. On Friday night, the state’s Supreme Court blocked the lower court’s order and once again put Cox’s health in jeopardy.

“This past week of legal limbo has been hellish for Kate,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Her health is on the line. She’s been in and out of emergency rooms, and she couldn’t wait any longer.”

“This is why judges and politicians should not be making health care decisions for pregnant people—they are not doctors. This is the result of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade: Women are forced to beg for urgent health care in court,” Northup said. “While Kate had the ability to leave the state, most people do not, and a situation like this could be a death sentence.”

The burgeoning restrictions on the lifesaving operation have fueled a medical brain drain in several states pursuing abortion bans, with large swaths of medical professionals exiting en masse while states struggle to define the parameters and consequences of the bans. The vast majority of Americans do not support such restrictions, with 73 percent of respondents saying they support first-trimester abortions, according to a 2023 AP-NORC poll.

Voters have made their positions on the issue abundantly clear. Since Roe was reversed by the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority in June 2022, abortion has become a nonstop losing streak for Republicans, turning what was once anticipated to be a red wave in November into a trickle. That has led to a quiet stripping of pro-life policies from conservative platforms across the country, with the party attempting to ditch the “pro-life” branding altogether in an effort to skirt more electoral losses.