Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

Republican Senator: Someone Threatened to Destroy Me Over Border Deal

Republican Senator James Lankford is sharing the threats he’s been receiving over the border deal.

Senator James Lankford holds papers in his hand, as others walk behind him.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Despite heralding the “migrant crisis” as America’s number one priority, Republican lawmakers don’t seem too keen on actually doing their jobs to remedy it. In fact, according to one Republican senator, conservatives have been actively threatening those trying to solve it.

For weeks, Donald Trump–endorsed Senator James Lankford worked alongside his Democrat colleagues to develop a Senate resolution addressing problems stemming from the U.S.-Mexico border—ultimately creating a proposal that concedes so much to Republicans that it shocked progressives. And yet, House Speaker Mike Johnson warned that the bill would be “dead on arrival” in the lower chamber, refusing to back down from the House’s original proposal: the extreme, asylum-limiting bill H.R. 2.

On Wednesday, moments before the Senate officially blocked the bipartisan deal from moving forward, Lankford talked about the warnings he’s been receiving.

“Some of them have been very clear with me: They have political differences with the bill. They say it’s the wrong time to solve the problem, or let the presidential election solve this problem,” Lankford said on the Senate floor.

“I had a popular commentator that told me flat out, before they knew any of the contents of the bill, if you try to move a bill that solves the border crisis during this presidential year, I will do whatever I can to destroy you, because I do not want you to solve this during the presidential election,” the Oklahoma Republican continued.

“By the way, they have been faithful to their promise and have done everything they can to destroy me in the past several weeks,” Lankford added.

Other conservative lawmakers, like Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw, appeared bewildered with his party’s grandstanding on Tuesday.

“I understand some Republicans are saying we don’t need any changes to the law. Then why did we write H.R. 2? Why did we do that?” lamented Crenshaw to C-SPAN after all the failed votes Tuesday. “Why didn’t Trump just shut down the border, if you think we just don’t need any changes to the law? He couldn’t! He had to make a deal with Mexico.”

Conservatives have been dropping hints for weeks that the GOP’s quiet refusal to actually do anything about the border is all to help reelect Trump, who hopes to make immigration a key issue in his presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, politicians around the country are trying to lobby for their own solutions to alleviate the burdens of mass immigration, which have collectively cost city governments billions in additional expenses. In an MSNBC op-ed, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston called on Congress to change the law and allow undocumented immigrants to work, decrying a “broken system” that effectively forces refugees looking for a better life into the throes of poverty.

“Every migrant I speak to tells me they don’t want any charity; they just want to work. When I speak to conservative business leaders, they say the same thing: Newcomers should work; I have open jobs; let me hire them,” Johnston wrote. “Migrants in our cities want to work and businesses want to hire them, yet the federal government continues to stand in the way of a common-sense solution. Congress must take steps that will resolve this humanitarian crisis for asylum-seekers and prevent a fiscal crisis for cities.”

“If we perpetuate the status quo, we will force local governments either to pay for perpetual public services for unemployed migrants, overwhelming city and state budgets, or cut back services for migrants and leave thousands of people homeless on our streets,” Johnston continued. “Both ‘solutions’ go against two core American values: We are a welcoming nation of immigrants, and anyone willing to work hard should be able to support their family.”

Jeffries, Pelosi Enjoying Every Minute of Mike Johnson’s Humiliation

House Democrats can’t stop gloating after Republicans failed to pass their own legislation.

Nancy Pelosi looks at Hakeem Jeffries. Both are seated in the Capitol and laughing.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

House Democrats couldn’t hide their glee on Wednesday as Republicans fumed over the party’s failure to pass major measures despite holding the chamber majority.

The House on Tuesday voted 250–180 against a Republican-led $17.6 billion aid package for Israel, and 216–214 against Republicans’ articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The losses are a stinging blow to Republicans, particularly House Speaker Mike Johnson, who was unable to unite his party.

As Republicans gripe about what went wrong, some have started to complain that Democrats didn’t warn them that Representative Al Green would be present. The Texas Democrat, who was set to have abdominal surgery, briefly left the hospital to cast his “no” vote on the House floor. Although his arrival in a wheelchair and wearing hospital scrubs caught some members off guard, House Minority Whip Katherine Clark told CNN his presence “was not a surprise.”

That didn’t stop Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from claiming Tuesday night that Democrats “hid one of their members, waiting til the last minute, watching to see our votes, trying to throw us off on the numbers that we had versus the numbers they had.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries brushed off the accusation Wednesday. “It’s not our responsibility to let House Republicans know which members will or will not be present on the House Floor,” he told a press conference.

Jeffries also noted that when Nancy Pelosi was speaker, she successfully passed multiple major pieces of legislation—such as the Inflation Reduction Act—despite Democrats having a similarly narrow majority.

Representative Jimmy Gomez chimed in on X (formerly Twitter) with a brief counting lesson for Greene.

Pelosi herself pointed out that she never brought a bill to the floor unless she knew she had the votes to pass it.

“You have to have your votes,” she told CNN, unable to stop grinning. “Don’t worry about the other side. You have to have your votes. You know what is a majority. If you don’t have that, don’t bring it to the floor.”

House Republicans Throw Each Other Under the Bus After Epic Failures

The Republican Party is in complete disarray right now.

Mike Gallagher, Chip Roy, and others stand speaking to each other in the Capitol.
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Representative Mike Gallagher speaks to Chip Roy and others after the House failed to convene a speaker, January 4, 2023.

What House GOP leadership had hoped would be a victory lap quickly devolved into a mug-slinging contest on Tuesday after the party lost two key votes back to back, first failing to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and, hours later, failing to pass a GOP-led bill to send more U.S. aid to Israel.

Since then, Republicans can’t stop taking stabs at one another, slamming each others’ politics following the embarrassing loss.

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene accused Representative Tom McClintock of failing his oath of office by voting against the impeachment effort, adding that the California Republican should “grow some courage and read the room.”

“Well, instead of reading the room, I’d suggest that maybe she read the Constitution she took an oath to support and defend,” McClintock told C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.

“That Constitution very clearly lays out the grounds for impeachment,” he continued. “This dumbs down those grounds dramatically and would set a precedent that could be turned against the conservatives on the Supreme Court or a future Republican administration the moment the Democrats take control of the Congress.”

Four House Republicans joined Democrats in voting against Mayorkas’s impeachment, resulting in a stunning 216–214 upset. One of them, Utah Representative Blake Moore, changed his vote at the last minute, ultimately siding with the liberal party to avoid a tie.

Representative Mike Gallagher told Hugh Hewitt that his “no” vote shouldn’t have surprised GOP leadership, noting that the caucus didn’t need to barrel into the vote and “embarrass themselves when the math wasn’t there,” reported Olivia Beavers.

“I whipped no for over a month,” Gallagher said.

Over the last several months, Republicans have worked overtime to make a crisis out of the border without actually working to solve it. Republican governors are going toe to toe with federal agents along the Rio Grande section of the southern border, backing Texas’s defiance of a Supreme Court order to remove haphazardly placed concertina wire that effectively prevents federal border agents from doing their jobs. And on Monday, House Speaker Mike Johnson reiterated that the bipartisan Senate border package would be “dead on arrival” in the House, instead insisting that the extreme, asylum-limiting bill proposed by House Republicans, H.R. 2, would be the only path forward.

“I understand some Republicans are saying we don’t need any changes to the law. Then why did we write H.R. 2? Why did we do that?” lamented Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw to C-SPAN after all the failed votes Tuesday. “Why didn’t Trump just shut down the border, if you think we just don’t need any changes to the law? He couldn’t! He had to make a deal with Mexico.”

Meanwhile, Democrats were quick to rub salt in the wound. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who advanced several major policy wins during her tenure at the top of the lower chamber, hopped on MSNBC to remind conservatives how to govern.

“Don’t bring a bill to the floor unless you know you have the votes,” Pelosi beamed. “And in order to know you have the votes, you have to have some in your pocket.”

Experts: The Walls Are Closing in Fast on Trump After Immunity Ruling

Things are not looking good for Donald Trump after a federal appeal court completely destroyed his presidential immunity arguments.

Donald Trump raises his hand up in a fist (presumably to the cameras) as he walks outside

Donald Trump’s legal team has until Monday to appeal to the Supreme Court over his recent immunity ruling—but according to legal experts, there’s little that they, or any judge, or any court, can do to reverse course for the GOP front-runner.

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court unanimously voted against all three of Donald Trump’s presidential immunity arguments in his January 6 case, finally and formally dubbing the former president as simply “citizen Trump.”

Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissman noted that’s all you need to know about the ruling.

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe told CNN the ruling is “bulletproof,” and a case that will “be studied by law students for generations.”

George Conway, a conservative attorney and husband of former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, called the ruling “airtight.” In a piece for The Atlantic, Conway described how the court “patiently, painstakingly, and unsparingly” dismantled Trump’s legal arguments for immunity.

“How does the Supreme Court read this?” CNN’s Kaitlin Collins asked Conway on Tuesday.

“This opinion is so good, and so clear, so comprehensive, there’s nothing in it that could be possibly attacked. I don’t see how even the Supreme Court could write—I don’t see how any judge, any court, anywhere, including the Supreme Court, could write a better opinion that more accurately states what the law is and should be,” Conway responded.

“I don’t think it’s worth the court’s time to deal with it at this point. If Trump is convicted, which I think he will be, they can actually review this after his conviction,” he added.

The ruling was “masterful because it combined so many elements” like “constitutional text, judicial precedent, history, and just sheer logic and the party’s own concessions—Trump’s own concessions—just to make an absolutely cohesive whole opinion that just inexorably leads you to the conclusion that he is not immune,” Conway explained.

And Trump’s February 12 turnaround is so quick it “puts him in a box,” according to former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman.

“Given thoroughness and unanimity of opinion, we will have lost only about six weeks should the Supreme Court deny the stay application, which we should look to it to do by around February 19. If it takes the case, mandate doesn’t return to Chutkan until early July,” Litman posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Some Backbone! GOP Congressman Torches Trump on Border

You don’t really have to trust Republican Representative Chip Roy, but at least on this one thing, he’s right.

Chip Roy looks off camera
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A Republican lawmaker has gone off on Donald Trump for tanking the Senate bipartisan border deal while failing to actually address immigration issues himself.

After demanding more restrictive immigration policies for years, Republican lawmakers have acted fast to kill the bill revealed Sunday. Some Republicans think that any compromise with Democrats is an automatic nonstarter, but many others were working out of loyalty to Trump. They didn’t want to potentially hand Joe Biden a win on immigration.

Trump hailed the bill’s failure Tuesday night, writing on Truth Social that “ALL A PRESIDENT HAS TO DO IS SAY, ‘CLOSE THE BORDER,’ AND THE BORDER WILL BE CLOSED. A COSTLY NEW BILL IS NOT NECESSARY!”

It’s an argument Trump has repeatedly made, but in reality, the U.S. president cannot unilaterally seal off the border. If the position had that power, it’s likely Trump would have used it during his time in office.

Representative Chip Roy lashed out at Trump for making this claim. “No, we’re not going to just pass the buck and say that, ‘Oh, any president can walk in and secure the border.’ I saw former President Trump make that allegation earlier today on one of his social media posts,” he said Tuesday night on the House floor.

“Well, with all due respect, that didn’t happen in 2017, -18, -19, and -20. There were millions of people who came into the United States during those four years.”

Roy doesn’t support the bipartisan bill and instead would prefer more extreme measures. He expressed opposition to the deal on Monday, saying the package authors “don’t know what they’re talking about.”

He criticized the measure for allowing 5,000 average daily migrant encounters at the border before the border gets shut down. “If you set a standard of about 5,000, the cartels will go ah, I get it. 4,999? You got it,” Roy said, in a horrifically racist take.

But the Texas Republican is growing increasingly frustrated with his party’s inability to achieve any of its goals. Roy lost it on the House floor in November, criticizing Republicans for failing to follow through on a single campaign promise.

“One thing. I want my Republican colleagues to give me one thing. One. That I can go campaign on and say we did,” Roy said. “One!”

“Talked a big game about building a wall and having Mexico pay for it. Ain’t no wall, and Mexico didn’t pay for it, and we didn’t pass any border security.”

Here’s Mike Johnson’s Pathetic, Viral Reaction After Brutal Day of Losing

House Speaker Mike Johnson had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Mike Johnson stares off in space, it looks like he was caught with nothing to say
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After wasting weeks on the issue, the House Republican impeachment vote against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas proved to be a dud—and one person was particularly unhappy about the result.

House Speaker Mike Johnson was visibly upset by Tuesday’s 216–214 vote against impeachment, contorting his face upon reading the result of the vote.

As Democrats in Congress cheered, Johnson slammed the gavel for the House to come to order.

Republicans had accused Mayorkas of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust” with regard to his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border, threatening to symbolically oust the secretary as part of a border crusade in which the party does practically everything except negotiate a legitimate border package.

Over the last several months, Republicans have routinely conceded the actual job of governing to Donald Trump’s reelection wishes, making a crisis out of the border without actually working to solve it. On Monday, Johnson reiterated that the bipartisan Senate border package would be “dead on arrival” in the House. Meanwhile, Republican governors are going toe to toe with federal agents along the Rio Grande section of the southern border, backing Texas’s defiance of a Supreme Court order to remove haphazardly placed concertina wire that effectively prevents federal border agents from doing their jobs.

Four House Republicans joined Democrats in voting against Mayorkas’s impeachment. That included Utah Representative Blake Moore, who changed his vote at the last minute, ultimately siding with the liberal party to avoid a tie.

“House Republicans will be remembered by history for trampling on the Constitution for political gain, rather than working to solve the serious challenges at our border,” Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Mia Ehrenberg said in a statement to The New York Times.

“This baseless impeachment should never have moved forward,” she continued. “If House Republicans are serious about border security, they should abandon these political games and instead support the bipartisan national security agreement in the Senate.”

It was a spectacular embarrassment for Johnson—who in December said that God had told him to lead the GOP, like Moses, through a “Red Sea moment”—revealing that the rookie speaker just might not have the gumption to maneuver his radically divided caucus.

House Republicans Suddenly Miss Kevin McCarthy After All That Losing

Some House Republicans have buyer’s remorse with Speaker Mike Johnson.

House Speaker Mike Johnson is surrounded by reporters holding phones in front of him to record what he says
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

After losing two major votes, House Republicans are suddenly starting to regret giving Kevin McCarthy the boot.

The House on Tuesday voted 250–180 against a $17.6 billion aid package for Israel, a measure brought by Speaker Mike Johnson in an effort to kill the bipartisan Senate border deal. The lower chamber also failed to pass articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Four Republicans joined all Democrats to oppose the move.

In the hours following, as Republicans lamented the brutal losses, some lawmakers began to wish they had kept McCarthy in charge.

Getting rid of Speaker McCarthy has officially turned into an unmitigated disaster,” Representative Thomas Massie, who had supported McCarthy, tweeted Wednesday morning.

“All work on separate spending bills has ceased. Spending reductions have been traded for spending increases. Warrantless spying has been temporarily extended. Our majority has shrunk.”

When someone commented that Republicans should have kept serial fabulist George Santos in Congress but were right to dump McCarthy, Massie replied, “Name one thing that’s improved under the new speaker.”

The night before, Representative Matt Gaetz, who introduced the motion to vacate McCarthy in the first place, also bitterly complained about McCarthy’s absence.

“Wouldn’t it have been nice to still have Kevin McCarthy in the House of Representatives?” Gaetz said on Newsmax. “He would have been a reliable vote for impeachment.”

Gaetz still managed to twist the knife, though, noting that after his ouster, McCarthy resigned from Congress at the end of 2023, leaving House Republicans with a precariously thin majority. “If he wasn’t speaker, he wasn’t willing to stick around,” Gaetz said.

I think that the errant expulsion of Santos and the abject selfishness of Kevin McCarthy contributed to this result as much as the three Republican members who voted ‘no.’

Even before Johnson took over from McCarthy in October, Republicans had proven themselves wholly unable to accomplish anything in Congress. Even some of the farthest-right members of the caucus have been forced to admit as much. Since Johnson took over, the GOP’s majority has shrunk significantly, leaving the party with even less wiggle room to get measures passed.

Meanwhile, McCarthy—who is probably currently dancing around his California home to “How You Like Me Now”—is plotting revenge against the Republicans who kicked him out of Congress. His allies are working to recruit primary challengers to those eight turncoats.

It Sure Looks Like Mitch McConnell Is About to Become the Next Kevin McCarthy

Senate Republicans are turning against Mitch McConnell after his failed border deal.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Republicans are starting to turn on their leader Mitch McConnell over his support of the bipartisan border deal, a situation that echoes the October ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

McConnell has urged his fellow GOP senators in recent days to support the bipartisan measure, but he has been met with resistance. Some Republicans think that any deal brokered with Democrats is an automatic nonstarter, and some are following Donald Trump’s orders—but whatever the case, enough oppose the border bill that McConnell was forced to finally admit Tuesday that the measure has “no real chance” of passing.

Senator Ted Cruz pointed to McConnell’s stance on the bill Tuesday when he called for the minority leader to step down. When asked at a press conference whether it was time for McConnell “to go,” Cruz replied, “I think it is.”

I think a Republican leader should actually lead this conference and should advance the priorities of Republicans,” Cruz said.

While Cruz has long opposed McConnell’s power, even voting against him for Senate minority leader in 2022, he’s not alone this time. Shortly after the bill was unveiled on Sunday, Senator Mike Lee took to X (formerly Twitter) to blast the measure as “an unmitigated disaster.”

“I cannot understand how any Republican would think this was a good idea—or anything other than an unmitigated disaster,” Lee wrote. “WE NEED NEW LEADERSHIP—NOW.”

Many other Senate Republicans have been privately and publicly lambasting McConnell’s negotiation over the deal, even though it contains a lot of the border policies Republicans have been demanding for months.

The calls for McConnell to resign over his support for a bipartisan deal are reminiscent of the House ousting McCarthy after he helped broker a deal with Democrats on the debt ceiling. It’s unclear whether Republican senators are moving to oust McConnell from his leadership position, or if they would even succeed at doing so.

But McConnell’s power in Congress has slowly started to wane. Some Republicans started to grow frustrated with him at the end of 2022 over his support for continued U.S. aid to Ukraine (another element of the bipartisan bill). And last summer, he froze up during two different public appearances, prompting demands he resign due to flagging mental capabilities.

More on McConnell’s plight ahead:

House Republicans Have Total Meltdown After Trump’s Immunity Loss

House Republicans are desperately trying to defend Donald Trump from claims of insurrection.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Hours after a federal appeals court unanimously voted against all three of Donald Trump’s presidential immunity arguments in his January 6 case, the former president’s biggest fans in Congress decided to introduce a nonbinding resolution that Trump “did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States.”

One after another, a hurried collection of MAGA House Republicans made their case for the former president.

“We are here today to authoritatively express that President Trump did not commit an insurrection, and we believe Congress has a unique role in making that declaration,” Representative Matt Gaetz said. “It’s not the job of the states and especially not the job of some bureaucrats in Colorado to make this assessment and interfere with the right of voters to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice.”

“Is there a practical implication if this passes; would this help Trump legally in court, or is this just a symbolic thing?” asked one reporter.

“I think it would be incredibly helpful, legally, if we were to adopt this provision. You know, I’ve been the victim of federal crimes,” added Gaetz, who is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly paying $900 to a sex trafficker for sex with a minor. “If we’re the purported victim, in Congress, and we’re saying this was not an insurrection, I think that would hold a great deal of weight.”

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene seemed equally keen for Trump’s favor when she took the podium, completely flipping the script by claiming that President Joe Biden’s actual inauguration was an insurrection.

“When they came to Washington and protested, all of you called it an insurrection,” Greene said, referring to more than 2,000 rioters who forcefully entered and devastated the Capitol building—of which 749 have received criminal sentences.

“And then when Joe Biden was inaugurated and this entire Capitol complex was surrounded with 30,000 National Guard troops, none of you stood there and called that an insurrection,” she continued. “Oh no, you all stayed silent.”

New York Republican Elise Stefanik, who along with Gaetz is rumored to be on Trump’s short list for his vice presidential pick, also chimed in during the press conference to decry the legal effort to hold the former president accountable for attempting to thwart the transfer of power.

“As President Donald Trump continues to dominate in the polls, extreme Democrats will stop at nothing in an attempt to prevent President Donald Trump from returning to the White House,” Stefanik said.

It’s unclear if the one-page resolution, which was co-signed by 60 Republican members of the House, would have any sway in an actual court of law—especially when the Colorado Supreme Court already set a precedent for the language, ruling in December that Trump was ineligible to appear on the state’s GOP primary ballot on the basis that he had taken part in an insurrection and violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.

Of Course Tucker Carlson Is in Russia to Interview Putin

The former Fox News host has spent years expressing his love of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tucker Carlson, seated, wears a suit and laughs before a mic
Ian Maule/Getty Images

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson announced Tuesday that he is in Russia for the worst reason possible: He is going to interview Vladimir Putin.

Carlson has been in Moscow over the past few days, gleefully fueling speculation that he would interview the Russian president. Neither he nor the Kremlin would explicitly confirm or deny anything until Carlson posted a video on X (formerly Twitter).

Carlson said he was interviewing Putin so that Americans would finally know the truth about the war in Ukraine.

American “media outlets are corrupt,” he said in the video. “They lie to their readers and viewers, and they do that mostly by omission.”

He cited the multiple interviews Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has given to U.S. outlets. “The interviews he’s already done in the United States are not traditional interviews,” Carlson said. “They are fawning pep sessions specifically designed to amplify Zelenskiy’s demands.”

“That is not journalism. It is government propaganda.”

Carlson did not acknowledge that he himself has held multiple “fawning pep sessions” for a politician. Both while he was at Fox News and after he was unceremoniously fired, Carlson has repeatedly parroted Donald Trump’s talking points and invited the former president on air to spew falsehoods unchecked.

Meanwhile, Carlson claimed, no Western outlets have interviewed Putin, meaning most Americans don’t know “why Putin invaded Ukraine, or what his goals are now.”

Putin has actually made it pretty clear why he invaded Ukraine: He wants to force the country to rejoin Russia, in an effort to reestablish the Soviet Union. But if there is a lack of coverage about the Russian side of the invasion, it’s because Putin has cracked down on journalism.

Since the war broke out, the Kremlin has rushed to silence reporting on the military conflict. Two American journalists, Evan Gershkovich and Alsu Kurmasheva, are currently imprisoned in Russia for covering the war.

It’s likely that Putin only accepted Carlson’s request for an interview because Carlson, while at Fox, repeatedly expressed support for Putin on air and echoed Kremlin talking points. He has vehemently opposed U.S. military aid for Ukraine and blamed Western nations for Russia’s invasion because they supported letting Ukraine join NATO.

More on the fall of Tucker: