Mike Johnson justifies Mayorkas impeachment, claiming ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’ – live | US politics

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Mike Johnson justifies Mayorkas impeachment, saying ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’

House Speaker Mike Johnson defended the Republican vote on Tuesday to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures. We had to do that,” he said during a weekly press conference of Republican leadership. It was a quote that can be read with remarkably different meaning depending on if you’re a Democrat or Republican.

“He has abdicated his responsibility, he’s breached the public trust, and he’s disregarded the laws Congress has passed,” Johnson added.

The speaker went on to suggest there were still significant differences between senate and house Republicans on passing a border bill. A bipartisan bill that paired securing the border with foreign aid failed last week after conservative Republicans blocked it, which was humiliating for the GOP.

“The Republican-led House will not be jammed into passing a foreign aid bill that was opposed by most Republican senators and does nothing to secure our own border,” he said.

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Key events

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing that Tom Suozzi, the New York Democrat who won a special election for George Santos’ vacated seat in congress, had pulled off his win in part because of his support for legislation cracking down on immigration.

“The people of New York’s third district issued a strong repudiation of Republicans who put politics ahead of national security,” said Jean-Pierre, referring to a bill that Republicans killed last week which would have implemented immigration restrictions in exchange for the release of foreign aid.

Her comments match a shift in tone by Democrats, who have moved to the right on immigration politics during Joe Biden’s first term in office.

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Jake Sullivan, talking in the west wing at the weekday White House press briefing, said that while Nato allies are doing a lot to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, “there is no substitute for the US coming forward with this funding”.

Sullivan, the national security adviser, said that Ukrainians are “a brave, courageous people defending their homeland” and, when asked how long Ukraine can hang on against the Russian invasion, he added: “They will keep fighting but they will fight from a less strong position” if they don’t get more funding from the US to help get their territory back.

He said the difficulties intensified with “each passing day, each passing week” that US aid does not arrive.

The US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, takes questions in the White House on 14 February 2024. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

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Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

National security adviser Jake Sullivan is urging the US House to take up and pass the $95bn national security bill – moved through the Senate early yesterday – that would supply more support for Ukraine, Israel and other US allies such as Taiwan, as well as further aid.

The need for more US aid for Ukraine is particularly acute in its grinding resistance to the almost two-year-old invasion and bombardment of its territory and people by Russia.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, wants talks on his terms to end the conflict.

Sullivan said: “We know from history that when you do not stand up to dictators they keep going. So President Biden is determined to get this [funding legislation] done, to get this aid out the door so that we are helping friends and partners.”

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Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

The White House press briefing is just beginning. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has wished the gathered media a happy Valentine’s Day and said that Joe Biden called New York Democrat Tom Suozzi to congratulate him last night after he flipped the congressional seat vacated by the disgraced and expelled Republican George Santos in the special election.

She’s now handed over the foreign policy section of the briefing over to the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, who is there today instead of national security spokesperson John Kirby.

Sullivan will take questions, after praising the US Senate for having passed the $95bn national security bill early yesterday that will supply more support for Ukraine, Israel and other US allies such as Taiwan, as well as further aid. So far, the legislation’s prospects in the Republican-controlled House are dim.

Sullivan, however, predicts that if the bill can be brought to a full vote on the floor of the House that it will pass with bipartisan support.

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Here’s what’s happening so far

  • House Speaker Mike Johnson defended the House’s decision to impeach the homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas. “Desperate times call for desperate measures. We had to do that,” he said during a weekly press conference of Republican leadership.

  • An impeachment trial for Mayorkas will happen in two weeks when the Senate returns from a recess. Removal from office, which requires the votes of two-thirds of senators, is extremely unlikely. The Senate isn’t expected to spend very long on the trial, CNN reports.

  • Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate majority leader, has called the impeachment a “sham”. Joe Biden said: “History will not look kindly on House Republicans for their blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship that has targeted an honorable public servant in order to play petty political games.”

  • Johnson also downplayed concern for Republicans after Democrats flipped a congressional seat in New York in a special election on Tuesday. “That is in no way a bellwether of what is going to happen this fall,” he said. Meanwhile, there has been some finger-pointing among Republicans on Capitol Hill over who is to blame for losing the seat, Punchbowl News reports.

  • House Republican leadership was more than happy to use their weekly press conference to highlight special counsel Robert Hur’s report on Biden’s handling of classified documents. “The American people know that if someone is mentally unfit to stand trial, they are unfit to serve as commander-in-chief,” said Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican. Biden has pushed back hard on any suggestion that he does not have the mental capacity to be president. The White House has blasted Hur’s decision to include an assessment of Biden’s memory as outrageous and irrelevant to the investigation.

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Ted Lieu, the vice-chair of the House Democratic caucus, said on Wednesday that Asian American voters had played a key role in Tom Suozzi’s victory in a special election on Tuesday. Lieu is the highest ever ranking Asian American in House Democratic leadership.

Ted Lieu says Asian Americans boosted Suozzi, attributes part of that dynamic to Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump mocks Asian Americans, he makes fun of people with funny sounding last names like Elaine Chao… Republicans remain silent and the Asian American community notices.”

— Max Cohen (@maxpcohen) February 14, 2024

House Democrat throws shade at Johnson, saying he’s ‘on the job training’

Pete Aguilar, the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, threw some shade at the House speaker, Mike Johnson, on Wednesday, suggesting the speaker was inexperienced and learning on the job.

Dem Pete Aguilar scoffs at Speaker Johnson call to do appropriations before foreign aid – says the House can do multiple things at once

“Democrats also believe in on the job training and that’s clearly where Speaker Johnson is right now” pic.twitter.com/7KTzNXJdPg

— Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) February 14, 2024

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A valentine from Donald J Trump

In an email to supporters, Donald Trump shared his valentine to his wife, Melania. It’s a bit … unusual.

“Even after every single INDICTMENT, ARREST, and WITCH HUNT, you never left my side. You’ve always supported me through everything,” reads the note, which has the subject line “I love you, Melania!”

“I wouldn’t be the man I am today without your guidance, kindness, and warmth,” he adds.You will always mean the world to me, Melania!”

The message is signed “From your husband with love, Donald J. Trump.”

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Johnson is downplaying a Democratic win last night in a Long Island district formerly represented by Republican George Santos.

“That is in no way a bellwether of what is going to happen this fall,” he said.

He noted that Tom Suozzi, the candidate who won, had formerly represented the district in Congress and was widely known already. He also said that many of the positions Suozzi took on issues like immigration resembled Republican ones.

“The result last night is not something that Democrats should celebrate too much,” he added.

There has been some finger-pointing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday over the result, according to Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman.

A healthy round of finger pointing this morning among Republicans here on Capitol Hill this morning about NY3.

So far I’ve heard:
– People say the Nassau County GOP machine is useless after supporting Pilip and Santos.
– People blame the leadership
– People blame Pilip herself…

— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) February 14, 2024

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Mike Johnson justifies Mayorkas impeachment, saying ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’

House Speaker Mike Johnson defended the Republican vote on Tuesday to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures. We had to do that,” he said during a weekly press conference of Republican leadership. It was a quote that can be read with remarkably different meaning depending on if you’re a Democrat or Republican.

“He has abdicated his responsibility, he’s breached the public trust, and he’s disregarded the laws Congress has passed,” Johnson added.

The speaker went on to suggest there were still significant differences between senate and house Republicans on passing a border bill. A bipartisan bill that paired securing the border with foreign aid failed last week after conservative Republicans blocked it, which was humiliating for the GOP.

“The Republican-led House will not be jammed into passing a foreign aid bill that was opposed by most Republican senators and does nothing to secure our own border,” he said.

Updated at 





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