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Another House Republican Quits, Timing His Departure for Maximum Chaos

Wisconsin’s Mike Gallagher is following Colorado’s Ken Buck out the door—and the way he’s doing it is totally screwing over House Republicans.

Representative Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, speaks with members of the media following a vote at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Al Drago/Getty Images
Representative Mike Gallagher speaks to media following a vote at the U.S. Capitol.

Republican Representative Mike Gallagher announced Friday that he will leave Congress in just a few weeks, leaving his party’s majority in the House in its most precarious position yet.

Screenshot of a tweet from Mike Gallagher

Gallagher’s departure will leave House Republicans with 217 seats in the chamber, compared to Democrats’ 213. The GOP has already struggled to pass any legislation, and Gallagher’s resignation means the GOP now has just a one-vote majority. That number is likely to shrink even more in coming months as more Republican lawmakers leave early.

Gallagher was seen as a rising star in the Republican Party. A four-term lawmaker, he was chosen to lead the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. Republicans also viewed the young Wisconsin representative as their “best shot” to unseat Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin.

But Gallagher had been at odds with his party on several key issues recently. He rejected the conspiracies that the 2020 election had been rigged, and slammed the January 6 insurrection as “banana republic crap” (although he ultimately voted against impeaching Donald Trump).

Crucially, in a stunning upset, Gallagher voted against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in February.

“I whipped ‘no’ for over a month,” Gallagher said at the time, explaining he was worried his caucus didn’t have the votes to pass articles of impeachment and would just embarrass itself by plowing ahead.

Gallagher made his announcement the same day that Representative Ken Buck, one of the few other Republicans to oppose impeaching Mayorkas, leaves Congress. When he announced his early retirement last week, Buck had hinted that more Republican resignations were imminent.

I think it’s the next three people that leave that they’re going to be worried about,” Buck said. Two more to go.

This article has been updated.

What Is NBC News Even Thinking Hiring Ronna McDaniel?

NBC News seems willing to overlook all that former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel has said in the past—including fake claims of election fraud.

Ronna McDaniel speaks on a stage with a mic in her hand
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

NBC raised eyebrows Friday when it announced that former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel will join the network as an on-air contributor.

McDaniel, who stepped down from the RNC at the start of this month, will provide conservative political analysis on NBC and its affiliate MSNBC. She makes her on-air debut on Sunday.

NBC News political coverage chief Carrie Budoff Brown explained that McDaniel was chosen because she can provide “an insider’s perspective on national politics and the future of the Republican Party.”

That insider knowledge is apparently enough for NBC to overlook the rest of McDaniel’s history. Although she disagreed with Donald Trump in recent months, McDaniel was still one of his biggest allies in the party. She repeatedly elevated his claims and conspiracies, including that the 2020 election had been rigged and that mail-in voting allowed for fraudulent ballots to be cast.

McDaniel was elected RNC chair in 2017, at first with Trump’s support, although the former president insisted she drop her maiden name (Romney) to win his support and show loyalty. She was reelected four times and helped to transform the party into the mirror of Trump that it is now.

But Trump eventually turned on her because she refused to crown him the Republican presidential nominee and instead opted for a contested primary. Trump eventually clinched the nomination on his own, but not before he decided he’d rather have two absolute loyalists at the helm of the RNC.

The GOP in general has also soured on McDaniel because she failed massively at the two main parts of her job: fundraising and winning elections—thanks in large part to her embrace of Donald Trump.

By the end of October, the RNC had a little more than $9.1 million in its coffers, the smallest amount in nearly a decade. McDaniel insisted there was “nothing unusual” about the low funds.

Republicans also suffered wave after wave of bruising losses, from the 2022 midterm elections to, most recently, the special election for former representative and serial fabulist George Santos’s seat in New York. The party has largely blamed McDaniel for the defeats, even as many of the failed candidates mostly embraced Trump’s policies and talking points.

So, given the facts that McDaniel was both bad at her job and is now on the outs with her own party, it’s unclear what analysis of value she has to offer NBC. Instead, her hiring looks more like a shameless grab for viewers.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Leads Revolt to Oust House Speaker Mike Johnson

Marjorie Taylor Greene has filed a motion to vacate the House speaker—and put all of Congress in a standstill yet again.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene proposed a vote to oust Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday, offering a sudden challenge to his leadership after supporting his bid for the role just four months ago.

The Georgia lawmaker reportedly filed the motion to vacate Johnson just moments before the House of Representatives voted to pass a $1.2 trillion omnibus bill. It is not yet clear if Greene filed the motion as privileged, which would require time on the House floor.

Moments after the news broke, Greene claimed she’s not yet calling for Johnson to vacate while acknowledging the motion’s filing. Instead, Greene considers it a “warning” and a “pink slip.”

“I do not wish to inflict pain on our conference and throw the House in chaos,” Greene told a crush of reporters outside the Capitol building. “But this is basically a warning and it’s time for us to go through the process, take our time, and find a new speaker of the House that will stand with Republicans and our Republican majority instead of standing with the Democrats.”

Still, even though it’s a warning, Greene did concede that she will force the vote.

“There’s not a time limit on this,” she continued.

“But I’m not saying that that won’t happen in two weeks or it won’t happen in a month or who knows when,” she said. “But I am saying the clock has started, it’s time for our conference to choose a new speaker.”

A formal vote to oust Johnson, however, might see Greene’s cause fall remarkably short. Two of the eight Republicans who voted to eject former Speaker Kevin McCarthy in October have already said that they wouldn’t have any part in a new effort to rid the lower chamber of its speaker.

Tennessee Representative Tim Burchett told Politico that he had “no idea” what Greene was doing and signaled he would not support the cause. South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace also told the outlet she would vote no.

The news follows months of circulating rumors that hinted at growing disdain for the junior party leader, who took the reins of the House in a surprise vote after Republicans cannibalized McCarthy over similar transgressions.

A vote to oust Johnson also holds the potential to completely backfire on Republicans. Democrats could use the opportunity to vote in Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries as the speaker, putting a discordant GOP in a position of needing a nearly unanimous vote to maintain their role at the head of the lower chamber. In a vote with full attendance, the conservative party could lose just two Republican votes.

“Speaker Johnson always listens to the concerns of members, but is focused on governing. He will continue to push conservative legislation that secures our border, strengthens our national defense and demonstrates how we’ll grow our majority,” Johnson’s spokesperson, Raj Shah, said in a statement.

This article has been updated.

House GOPer Trashes Republican Colleagues in Unhinged Outburst

“Quit sending them,” Republican Representative Eli Crane begged voters, referring to members of his own party.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

At least one House Republican is completely fed up with his party this week.

At a press conference on Friday, Freedom Caucus member Eli Crane was so infuriated by the six-bill, 1,012-page spending package organized by House and Senate leaders—meant to stop a government shutdown—that he urged Americans to vote out his GOP colleagues.

“Please, quit sending politicians up here who come to your town, who come to your Lincoln Reagan Day dinner, talking about fiscal responsibility, border security, and then they vote on this crap repeatedly,” the Arizona representative said, waving a piece of paper while referring to the House minibus set for a vote on Friday. “You can help us. Quit sending them up here because in case you guys haven’t noticed, we are radically outnumbered.”

“It’s always the same names. It’s always the same names of people trying to stop it. And it’s always the same names unfortunately who talk a good game in the media, and back at home in their districts, and then they come up here and they vote for this crap hoping that you don’t pay attention. You can help us,” Crane added.

The comments came during a Freedom Caucus press conference, where Crane and several other members trashed Speaker Mike Johnson. And it’s another sign that the Republican Party is in complete disarray.

And before you get too cozy on Crane, remember that the House Freedom Caucus member has vocally supported Donald Trump, celebrating his 2024 primary wins and voting against the impeachment efforts against him in 2020. He has also personally helped fuel Republican infighting, including being a part of the “Gaetz Eight,” a small cohort of Republicans who voted out former Speaker Kevin McCarthy late last year.

Moments before the House was set to vote, Crane reaffirmed his take on the package.

“This is garbage,” he said.

Don’t Worry, Trump’s Truth Social Payday Won’t Really Save Him

Donald Trump’s Truth Social is officially going public after a merger vote. But he needs the cash much, much sooner.

Donald Trump walking, police in the background
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump may finally get the money to start paying down his legal bills, after his social media company completed a merger Friday with a wealthy shell company.

Shareholders of Digital World Acquisition Corporation approved the merger with Trump Media & Technology Group, which has nearly run out of cash. The deal will inject more than $300 million into Trump Media and keep Truth Social, the former president’s personal social media platform, up and running.

Trump Media will now debut on the stock market with a value of more than $5 billion. Trump will own a dominant stake in the company worth more than $3 billion.

The merger comes just days before Trump must post the $464 million bond in his New York civil fraud trial. If he fails to secure the massive amount, the state attorney general can begin seizing his assets as repayment. Although the merger will provide Trump with an unexpected windfall, he may not be able to cash in just yet.

Under the merger deal, Trump is prohibited from selling any of his shares or using them as collateral for a loan for six months. He can ask the board of Digital World Acquisition Corporation to waive that rule for him, but it is unclear if they will agree.

Trump could attempt to stack the board with his allies in an effort to swing a vote in his favor, but even then, the merger is unlikely to turn out to be a golden goose. The terms of the deal prevent him from selling more than one percent of outstanding shares per quarter. And current investors won’t want him to sell off a large swath of stocks at once because it could signal he’s losing interest in the business, which in turn could turn off potential investors.

“It’s simply trading on Trump’s name,” Kristi Marvin, founder of the research firm SPACInsider, told Politico. “People aren’t buying this because they like the fundamentals—they’re buying this because they like Trump.”

And even when Trump manages to offload a large amount of stock, there’s no guarantee how much it will be worth. The stock value will depend on the whims of what Boston College law professor Brian Quinn described to Politico as “MAGA meme stock investors.”

“By the time Trump is able to start selling his shares, I doubt they will be worth much,” Quinn said. “Certainly less than his present requirements.”

And Trump has a lot of requirements. As his campaign trail fundraising lags, he struck a new joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee (which is co-chaired by his daughter-in-law). Donations will now go first to his campaign and a PAC that pays his legal bills first, before the RNC can get a share, the Associated Press reported Thursday night.

Trump reportedly only has about $413 million in cash assets, not nearly enough to pay off his various legal fines. In addition to the $464 million he owes New York state, Trump owes nearly $400,000 to The New York Times and thousands of dollars for gag order violations.

He also owes $382,000 to Orbis Business Intelligence, the consulting firm owned by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. Trump had sued Orbis over a dossier Steele compiled in 2016 that alleged Trump and members of his inner circle had been “compromised” by Russia’s security service.

This story has been updated.

Idiot Trump Confesses He Actually Has the Money to Post Bond

Donald Trump is close to the deadline to post bond in his fraud trial—and he’s screwing himself over even more.

Donald Trump wears a red Make America Great Again cap and yells into a mic while squinting
Scott Olson/Getty Images

After having reached out to several guarantors and 30 suretors for help posting his $464 million New York bank fraud bond, Donald Trump suddenly wants everyone to know he actually does have the cash.

In a bizarre rant on Friday morning, the man who was found to have defrauded banks and investors by overvaluing himself and the value of his properties claimed that he had accrued the wealth by way of “HARD WORK, TALENT, AND LUCK.”

Trump also admitted he has nearly half a billion dollars in cash.

The confession directly contradicts a filing from his legal team last month arguing that it would be “impossible” to secure a bond covering the full amount of the multimillion-dollar ruling.

Trump’s words will surely help out New York Attorney General Letitia James, who on Wednesday urged an appeals court to ignore Donald Trump’s latest effort to worm his way out of paying the $464 million disgorgement from his bank fraud trial.

The former president has until Monday to pay off the half-billion-dollar disgorgement—and if he doesn’t, James can begin taking steps to seize his assets to cover the debt, including 40 Wall Street and Trump Tower.

But Trump is juggling more than the fine deadline. Paying out of pocket could potentially put a major Wall Street deal on the line for the former president, as well. On Friday, investors in Truth Social are expected to sign off on a deal that would allow the company to go public, potentially offering a gigantic financial windfall for the GOP presidential pick. In a public version of the company, which would begin trading in just a few weeks, Trump would own at least 58 percent of the shares—a stake valued at $3 billion, reported Politico.

It would, however, trip him up in the short term. In order to begin the process, Trump would need to tie up his shares of the company in a lock-up agreement for the next six months, and any potential off-loading by the former president could be seen as cataclysmic to a deal that rides on his involvement.

Ken Buck Leaves House Republicans With an Unforgettable Parting Gift

Representative Ken Buck is leaving Congress—but first, he joined Democrats on a major foreign policy issue.

Representative Ken Buck walks down stairs in the Capitol

With just a day left in Congress, retiring Representative Ken Buck has delivered a parting gift—that looks more like a parting shot—to his fellow Republicans.

Buck signed House Democrats’ foreign aid discharge petition Thursday night, the first Republican to do so. If the petition, which was launched earlier this month, reaches 218 signatures, it would force a vote on a $95 billion foreign aid package. The package, which has already passed the Senate, includes $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, an increasingly unpopular issue among far-right Republicans.

House Speaker Mike Johnson has refused to consider the aid package, which would also give aid to Israel and Taiwan, despite it passing the Senate with broad bipartisan support, because it does not include regulations for the U.S.-Mexico border that he considers strict enough. But if the aid bill makes it to the House floor, it is expected to pass, again with bipartisan backing.

As of Thursday night, the discharge petition had 188 signatures. It needs just 30 more to pass.

Buck also signed a competing discharge petition to force a vote on a package that includes both Ukraine aid and new border restrictions. Other Republicans have also signed on to that petition, which has only 16 signatures so far.

Although Friday is Buck’s last day in Congress, his signatures will remain on both petitions until his temporary successor is chosen in a special election. If the successor also signs either petition, Buck’s name will be removed. The special election to replace Buck won’t be held until June, coinciding with the Colorado primaries.

Despite sitting on the far-right wing of his party, Buck has found himself at odds with his fellow Republicans in recent years. In fact, the far-right House Freedom Caucus voted Tuesday night to oust Buck from its ranks. One member, speaking anonymously, told The Hill that Buck hadn’t attended caucus meetings regularly for months.

The member cited Buck breaking with Republicans on “several major issues” and “leaving the conference hanging with a historically narrow margin” as the main reasons for his removal.

When Buck first announced his retirement in November, he slammed the GOP for pushing “self-serving lies,” including that the 2020 election had been stolen. More recently, he has been seemingly the only Republican who refused to fall in line with his party’s efforts to impeach Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Buck has repeatedly pointed out that neither impeachment effort is based on any evidence of wrongdoing.

Last week, when Buck announced he would retire early, he told CNN that the past year had been the “worst year of the nine years and three months that I’ve been in Congress.”

“Instead of having decorum, instead of operating in a professional manner, this place has just devolved into this bickering and nonsense and not really doing the job for the American people,” he said.

Shutdown Time? Freedom Caucus Rips Mike Johnson for Spending Bill

The far-right Freedom Caucus is pissed at Mike Johnson (again).

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The government is about to just barely avoid a shutdown (again), and the House Freedom Caucus is livid about it.

Congress has until midnight Friday to approve funding for multiple key government agencies. Leaders from both parties presented a $1.2 trillion spending package early Thursday morning that is expected to pass, just managing to keep the government funded for the rest of the year.

The Freedom Caucus, which comprises the farthest-right lawmakers in the House, is furious over the bill and particularly with House Speaker Mike Johnson. The caucus views both failing to slash government spending and collaborating with Democrats as cardinal sins.

Freedom Caucus members took to social media to blast the spending bill, which they dubbed the “Swamp Omnibus.” Their gripes included the fact that the bill would fund the World Health Organization, fund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in the Department of Defense, and provide military aid for Ukraine.

The caucus then announced it will hold a press conference Friday morning to discuss the bill and the fact that it was not given sufficient time to read the full text. In a statement, the caucus lambasted the fact that the bill “spends $5.5 Million per word, fully funds and continues the Biden border crisis, and it is loaded with radioactive ‘woke’ earmarks.”

Screenshot of tweet from House Freedom caucus and image of statement

House Republicans have a razor-thin majority in the chamber, meaning that Democrats and less extreme Republicans would have to unite behind the spending bill. Otherwise, just a few votes of opposition from the Freedom Caucus could tank the measure.

The House also still has the motion to vacate, the rule that allows just one member of the body to force a vote on whether to remove the speaker. It was this rule that resulted in former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ignominious ouster in October, thanks to several Freedom Caucus members. The caucus could invoke the rule again against Johnson. Far-right Republicans have been mulling the idea since January, accusing Johnson of making too many compromises with Democrats.

Pro-Trump Lawyer Can’t Stop Getting Arrested for 2020 Crimes

Stefanie Lambert, who tried to overthrow the 2020 election, has been arrested for the second time in one week.

Trump Pence Make America Great Again Sign nailed to a tree along with two small U.S. flags below them
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Michigan lawyer Stefanie Lambert unsuccessfully tried to challenge the 2020 election results in court. Now she’s appearing before a judge in another capacity.

Lambert turned herself in at a Michigan courthouse on Thursday, following another arrest earlier in the week, over a plot to seize several voting machines in the state in 2020.

Lambert was arrested on Monday in Washington, D.C., where she was representing election denier Patrick Byrne in a defamation suit brought by Dominion Voting Systems. Federal marshals arrested her in the courtroom for her failure to show up for a hearing in her home state. She’s accused of four felonies related to alleged tampering with voting machines in search of evidence of nonexistent vote manipulation during the 2020 election.

The goose chase began on March 7, when a warrant was issued for Lambert’s arrest for her role in what Michigan state Attorney General Dana Nessel called “a coordinated plan to gain access to voting tabulators.” Lambert, accused of breaking into voting machines to run “tests,” never showed. Then, on March 18, Lambert was arrested after  representing Byrne in the Dominion defamation suit, where she is also accused of leaking confidential internal emails belonging to Dominion. Lambert, who was given access to the emails as Byrne’s counsel, accused Dominion of “[instituting] fraud with this defamation suit” and leaked the emails to a third election-denying nesting doll: Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf, who posted thousands of leaked emails on his Twitter account on Monday.

Three days after a D.C. judge instructed her to return to Michigan, the Coen brothers–esque saga has reached its conclusion, at least for now, with Lambert turning herself in to face conspiracy charges for her involvement in the machine-tampering scheme. Notably, Oakland County Judge Jeffery Matis mandated that Lambert’s fingerprints be taken, which, despite court orders, Lambert has resisted, and that she submit a DNA sample, both of which may be used to confirm whether Lambert physically tampered with a voting machine.

A key foot soldier in Trump’s failed postelection lawfare campaign, Lambert worked on some of the highest-profile lawsuits alleging fraud, including Sydney Powell’s boondoggle “kraken” case. She now joins the ranks of former Trump legal team members facing criminal charges for their involvement in efforts to block certification of the 2020 election.

Lambert took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to allege her own conspiracy before turning herself in. “I just know too much.… And I have too much evidence,” she said.

Letitia James Is Prepared to Seize One of Trump’s Favorite Assets

The New York attorney general’s office has filed the paperwork needed to begin taking Donald Trump’s assets—including in Westchester.

aerial view of a very large and very pretty house surrounded by a massive amount of land and trees.
Johnny Milano for The Washington Post/Getty Images

Donald Trump has just days left to post the nearly half-billion-dollar bond in his New York civil fraud case before the state attorney general can start seizing his assets, and Letitia James seems to know exactly where she wants to start: Westchester.

Trump was fined $354 million in mid-February for committing real estate–related fraud in New York. With interest adding $112,000 per day, and adding the fines his adult sons also face, the total sum has already exceeded $464 million. James formally registered the judgment in Westchester County on March 6, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

James’s filing did not give a reason for the registration, nor did it specify which of Trump’s Westchester assets she intends to seize, but the registration will make it easier for James to secure liens. Westchester is home to two of Trump’s most valuable properties, the Trump National Golf Club Westchester and Seven Springs, a mostly undeveloped 212-acre estate.

Seven Springs featured prominently in the civil fraud trial. Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump had fraudulently inflated the estate’s value for years—sometimes by as much as five times the appraised value—in an effort to get more favorable terms on bank loans.

Trump was given 30 days from the day the judgment was entered to post bond. That window expires Monday. Unless an appeals court steps in, James will be allowed to start seizing Trump’s assets next week.

The appeals court has yet to rule on whether Trump can delay posting bond or post a heavily reduced one of just $100 million, as he has requested. James urged the court Wednesday to deny Trump’s request, arguing that his claims could not be trusted.

Trump’s arguments, James pointed out, were based on sworn statements by Trump Organization General Counsel Alan Garten and Gary Giulietti, one of Trump’s close friends. During the trial, Engoron determined that Giulietti could not be considered a credible witness and argued that Garten had “professional interests in this litigation.”

Trump finally admitted earlier this week that he has been unable to find an organization that will underwrite the bond for him. His lawyers wrote in a filing that to obtain the bond, they would need to post collateral worth $557 million—which they say is a “practical impossibility.”

Trump’s lawyers explained they have asked about 30 different organizations to underwrite the bond and have been turned down every time. The list of companies they can keep asking is limited, since the bond is so large, and companies so far have expressed an “unwillingness … to accept real estate as collateral.”

The former president has no one to blame but himself for his current bind. His repeated boasts about his personal wealth—despite reportedly only having about $413 million in cash assets—likely contributed to the size of the judgment. And the trial revealed that Trump was in the habit of inflating the value of his real estate assets to make himself look better when trying to secure loans. So it’s no wonder that bond providers don’t want to accept real estate as collateral.