Mike Johnson denies collaborating with Democrats to defeat attempt to remove him – US politics live | US politics

Johnson denies collaborating with Democrats to defeat ouster attempt, says ‘I have to do my job’

At a press conference today, Republican speaker of the House Mike Johnson denied making a deal with Democrats to defeat a far-right attempt to remove him as the chamber’s leader:

Rightwing congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is behind the attempt to remove Johnson as speaker, accused him of a “slimy back room deal” with House Democrats after their leaders earlier today said they would not support Greene’s motion to vacate.

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Donald Trump, right, and Joe Biden, left. Photograph: Reuters

Are you worried about Donald Trump returning to power? Are you counting the days until voters eject Joe Biden from the White House?

Or do you just want to know which candidate is more likely to win?

On Thursday 2 May from 8-9.15pm GMT, the Guardian’s Tania Branigan, David Smith, Mehdi Hasan and Tara Setmayer will hold a live event where viewers will get the inside track on the people, the ideas and the events that might shape the US election campaign.

Book tickets here.

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Donald Trump told Time much about what he would have planned for a second term in the White House, which adds up to a far more extreme agenda than what he promised when elected in 2016.

Here’s a summary of it all, from the interview:

What emerged in two interviews with Trump, and conversations with more than a dozen of his closest advisers and confidants, were the outlines of an imperial presidency that would reshape America and its role in the world. To carry out a deportation operation designed to remove more than 11 million people from the country, Trump told me, he would be willing to build migrant detention camps and deploy the U.S. military, both at the border and inland. He would let red states monitor women’s pregnancies and prosecute those who violate abortion bans. He would, at his personal discretion, withhold funds appropriated by Congress, according to top advisers. He would be willing to fire a U.S. Attorney who doesn’t carry out his order to prosecute someone, breaking with a tradition of independent law enforcement that dates from America’s founding. He is weighing pardons for every one of his supporters accused of attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, more than 800 of whom have pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury. He might not come to the aid of an attacked ally in Europe or Asia if he felt that country wasn’t paying enough for its own defense. He would gut the U.S. civil service, deploy the National Guard to American cities as he sees fit, close the White House pandemic-preparedness office, and staff his Administration with acolytes who back his false assertion that the 2020 election was stolen.

Time also managed to break a bit of news about Trump’s intentions beyond 2028. If elected in November, the constitution only allows him to serve one term, and he told the magazine that he has no plans “to overturn or ignore the constitution’s prohibition on a third term”.

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Trump expresses support for efforts to monitor pregnant women

Trump also signaled his support for the possibility that states hostile to abortion rights would attempt to monitor pregnant women.

In the interview with Time, Trump was asked if he believes “states should monitor women’s pregnancies so they can know if they’ve gotten an abortion after the ban?”.

Trump replied, in part: “I think they might do that. Again, you’ll have to speak to the individual states.”

Trump was then asked if he was personally comfortable with people being prosecuted for receiving abortions after a state-implemented ban.

He said:

The states are going to say. It’s irrelevant whether I’m comfortable or not. It’s totally irrelevant, because the states are going to make those decisions.

And by the way, Texas is going to be different than Ohio. And Ohio is going to be different than Michigan. I see what’s happening.

Read the full interview here.

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Donald Trump considering pardons for January 6 insurrectionists, if elected

Donald Trump has said that he is considering pardons for every person accused of attacking the US Capitol on 6 January if elected president in 2024, according to a new interview.

Trump told Time that he refers to those involved in the 2021 insurrection as “J-6 patriots”. When asked if he “would consider pardoning every one of them”, Trump said: “Yes, absolutely.”

Trump characterized those persecuted for their involvement in 6 January as being victims to a two-tier justice system.

Trump said:

It’s a two-tier system. Because when I look at Portland, when I look at Minneapolis, where they took over police precincts and everything else, and went after federal buildings, when I look at other situations that were violent, and where people were killed, nothing happened to them. Nothing happened to them. I think it’s a two-tier system of justice. I think it’s a very, very sad thing. And whether you like it or not, nobody died other than Ashli [Babbitt].

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A pro-Palestine protester disrupted a US armed forces committee hearing where defence secretary Lloyd Austin was providing testimony.

As seen in video of the incident, Austin was speaking when a protester carrying alet Gaza live” sign, stood up and said: “How can you talk about US leadership when you’re supporting genocide in Gaza?”

The protester added: “It is illegal. It is immoral. It is disgusting. The whole world is watching what we are doing in Gaza right now … Secretary general, you are supporting a genocide.”

The protester was removed by security.

‘You’re supporting a genocide’: Gaza protesters disrupt Lloyd Austin Senate hearing – video

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Johnson denies collaborating with Democrats to defeat ouster attempt, says ‘I have to do my job’

At a press conference today, Republican speaker of the House Mike Johnson denied making a deal with Democrats to defeat a far-right attempt to remove him as the chamber’s leader:

Rightwing congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is behind the attempt to remove Johnson as speaker, accused him of a “slimy back room deal” with House Democrats after their leaders earlier today said they would not support Greene’s motion to vacate.

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Greene accuses Johnson of ‘slimy back room deal’ for Democratic support, hints at forcing vote on motion to vacate

In response to House Democratic leaders’ vow to oppose her effort to remove Mike Johnson as speaker, far-right congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene hinted she may force a vote on the matter.

“What slimy back room deal did Johnson make for the Democrats’ support?” the Georgia lawmaker asked. She continued:

If the Democrats want to elect him Speaker (and some Republicans want to support the Democrats’ chosen Speaker), I’ll give them the chance to do it. I’m a big believer in recorded votes because putting Congress on record allows every American to see the truth and provides transparency to our votes.

Here’s the full tweet:

Everyday, I fight the Democrat agenda destroying America and I fight for an America First Republican agenda.

Mike Johnson is officially the Democrat Speaker of the House. Here is their official endorsement of his Speakership.

What slimy back room deal did Johnson make for the… pic.twitter.com/HGDyDzvJQH

— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) April 30, 2024

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In addition to the banner reading “intifada”, Columbia University protesters have unveiled outside Hamilton Hall another banner reading “Hind’s Hall”:

A banner reading ‘Hind’s Hall’ flies over Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall this morning. Photograph: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters

A group supporting the protests says that is in reference to Hind Rajab, a six-year-old found dead among her relatives in Gaza amid Israel’s invasion:

More on her story:

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White House spokesman condemns Columbia building takeover, protesters’ use of ‘intifada’

Protesters unfurl a banner reading “intifada” outside Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall earlier today. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

Deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates has condemned protesters’ usage of the word “intifada” and their takeover of a building on Columbia University’s campus, saying the action was “not peaceful”:

President Biden has stood against repugnant, Antisemitic smears and violent rhetoric his entire life. He condemns the use of the term ‘intifada,’ as he has the other tragic and dangerous hate speech displayed in recent days. President Biden respects the right to free expression, but protests must be peaceful and lawful. Forcibly taking over buildings is not peaceful – it is wrong. And hate speech and hate symbols have no place in America.

Protesters unfurled a banner reading “intifada” after breaching Hamilton Hall on Columbia’s campus early this morning – a term that denotes Palestinian uprisings against Israel. Here’s more about its history:

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The pledge by House Democratic leaders to save Mike Johnson’s speakerships caps a week of whiplash for the conservative, who won plaudits on the left for allowing a vote on Ukraine aid, then pivoted to insinuating that anti-Israel protests on college campuses were “backed” by Hamas. The Guardian’s David Smith has a recap of the wild few days Johnson has had:

Democrat Nancy Pelosi cited his “integrity” and described him as “courageous”. Republican Michael McCaul called him a “profile in courage”. CNN hailed him as “an unlikely Churchill”.

Mike Johnson, speaker of the House of Representatives, began the week showered in plaudits for leading the House in approving $95bn in urgently needed wartime aid for Ukraine, Israel and other US allies.

It was widely noted that Johnson had done his homework, changed his mind, prayed for guidance and risked his job by facing down far-right extremists in his own party including Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had threatened to oust him if he helped Ukraine.

But the chorus of praise-singers echoed past renditions when the likes of William Barr, Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney were valorised for doing the bare minimum by denouncing the serial liar and election denier Donald Trump. (Barr, incidentally, now says he will support Trump in November.) That is how low the bar is now set.

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House Democratic leaders announce opposition to attempt to remove Johnson as speaker

The top House Democrats, including minority leader Hakeem Jeffries, say they will oppose any attempt by congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and other rightwing Republicans to remove Mike Johnson as the chamber’s speaker.

Last month, Greene filed a motion to oust fellow Republican Johnson from his position as speaker of the House, citing his collaboration with Democrats to pass a government spending bill. In the weeks since, Johnson again worked with the House minority to approve legislation authorizing military aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, and reauthorize a controversial surveillance law. Greene, meanwhile, has picked up only two other co-sponsors to her motion to vacate the speaker’s chair, and it was unclear if she would continue with her campaign.

“At this moment, upon completion of our national security work, the time has come to turn the page on this chapter of Pro-Putin Republican obstruction,” writes Jeffries along with Democratic whip Katherine Clark and caucus chair Pete Aguilar.

“We will vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Motion to Vacate the Chair. If she invokes the motion, it will not succeed.”

Their position was a reversal from October, when all Democrats joined with eight Republican insurgents to vote for Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as speaker – leading to Johnson’s ascension after weeks of GOP infighting.

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Trump fined $9,000 for violating gag order in New York hush-money trial

Donald Trump has been hit with a $9,000 fine after the judge presiding over his trial on charges relating to falsifying business records related to hush-money payments made before the 2016 election found he violated a gag order.

Testimony in the trial continues today, with Gary Farro, a banker previously at an institution used by Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen, on the witness stand. Follow our live blog for more:

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Mike Johnson has previously threatened to use Congress’s powers to revoke visas for foreign student protesters, and cut funding to universities that fail to protect Jewish students.

But doing any of that may require passing new legislation, which the Senate’s Democratic majority could reject. Johnson is no doubt aware of that dynamic, and yesterday, his office signaled that the “crackdown on antisemitism” Johnson envisions will rely on House committees and their powers of investigation.

“House Republicans, with leadership from committees of jurisdiction, will expand a wide-ranging investigation focused on holding accountable college and university administrators who fail at their core responsibility: keeping their students safe,” Johnson’s office said in a statement that announced his press conference set for 2.15pm today.

If Johnson tasks House committees with investigating antisemitism at colleges, expect lots of subpoenas and testimony by university officials – perhaps not unlike the December hearing that lead to the presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania resigning:

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Johnson says Columbia protests ‘utter disgrace’, again calls for university president’s resignation

Republican House speaker Mike Johnson continues to direct his ire at the students and leadership of Columbia University, accusing them of antisemitism for their protests against Israel’s invasion of Gaza:

What continues to transpire at Columbia is an utter disgrace.

The campus is being overrun by antisemitic students and faculty alike.

There must be consequences. President Shafik must resign. https://t.co/l1x5aRjuwS

— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) April 29, 2024

The protesters at Columbia say they’re outraged by Israel’s invasion of Gaza, and are sparring with university administrators, including president Minouche Shafik. Columbia’s leaders yesterday began suspending students who remained at a protest encampment after an afternoon deadline to disperse, and hours later, dozens of protesters took over a university building on Columbia’s Manhattan campus.

Here’s the latest on the protests at Columbia, and universities nationwide:

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Mike Johnson to announce ‘crackdown’ on antisemitism at universities as protests intensify

Good morning, US politics blog readers. As campus protests against Israel’s invasion of Gaza escalate nationwide – including at Columbia University, where demonstrators took over a building overnight – the GOP is pressing forward with allegations that the rallies are motivated by anti-Jewish bias. While the evidence for that is disputed, the Republican speaker of the House Mike Johnson today plans to announce “a House-wide crackdown on the virus of antisemitism spreading throughout college campuses”. Johnson paid a visit to Columbia last week, where he alleged Hamas “backed” the student protests, a remark that was criticized as baseless. He has also threatened to use Congress’s powers to revoke visas from foreign students involved in the demonstrations, and cut funding to universities that do not protect Jewish students.

Johnson will hold a press conference at 2.15pm ET to elaborate on just what his proposed crackdown entails, while the Republican-controlled House is also considering legislation to codify into federal law a definition of antisemitism that has been criticized for equating criticism of Israel with prejudice against Jews. Of course, whatever the House passes must be approved by the Democratic-led Senate, and there’s no guarantee they’ll go along with the speaker’s plans. Expect to hear more from Congress about the protests as the day unfolds.

Here’s what else is going on:

  • Joe Biden is heading from Washington DC to his home town of Wilmington, Delaware, for a campaign event at 3pm, and then back to the capital.

  • Will today be the day that Hamas agrees to a ceasefire deal that could see the release of Israeli hostages? Such a development may also take the heat off Biden, who has faced intensifying protests of his own for his support of Israel’s invasion of Gaza. Follow our live blog for the latest on this developing story.

  • Donald Trump’s trial over allegedly falsifying business records is back in session in New York City. Follow along here for the latest.

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