Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TPM.

Johnson Like Achilles

I wrote earlier that I doubted Speaker Mike Johnson was in any trouble. Because the kind of people who fire GOP Speakers don’t think any of this clown show is a problem. I think this is obvious. But in case you had any doubt, Freedom Caucus dead-ender Clay Higgins tweeted this afternoon that far from being a clownish failure Johnson is more like an Iron Age hero walking right off the pages of Homer. “Mike Johnson is enduring withering attacks from every faction. Iron sharpeneth iron. He’s getting stronger.”

So there you go. Mike Johnson is likely just fine.

Is Mike Johnson Toast After The 72 Hour Herky-Jerky Rake-Stomp Parade? Prime Badge
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A number of you asked me last night and this morning if we may be coming to the end of Mike Johnson’s speakership. After yesterday’s two big fails, is he almost done? In any normal universe the combined events of the last 72 hours would likely lead to Johnson resigning if not in disgrace then in some mix of humiliation and … well, resignation. But this isn’t a normal universe. It’s the 2024 House Republican caucus. So I don’t think he’s going anywhere. I’m not sure any of the key people even think there’s a problem.

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Too Much Winning

Truly remarkable. After a year of threatening, House Republicans finally voted to impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas. And they failed. It’s just basic vote counting. And they failed. Then their standalone Israel bill failed too.

I’m a little unclear on what comes next. Steve Scalise was apparently not there because of his on-going treatment for cancer. It was unclear whether Rep. Al Green would be there but he was. He was apparently wheeled in from the hospital. I’d heard suggestions that they’ll hold another vote. But unless I’m missing something adding Scalise’s vote won’t change the result.

Doesn’t really matter. It’s the pratfalls that are the most amazing part of this.

Late Update: Apparently one additional Republican flipped from Yes to No after it became clear the impeachment would fail. This is procedural move which allows the vote to be held again. It also means that the “real” vote was 215-215, rather than 214-216. Thus Scalise returning and voting Yes would put it over the top.


Okay, this is getting … well, interesting? It’s now 100% clear the border deal is dead. In my first post an hour or so ago it was 98% dead. The ambiguity has now been removed. That’s no big surprise.

What’s at least a bit surprising is the next move. Republicans are now at least saying that Plan B is to strip out all the border stuff and leave in the aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. But the key to remember is that that is how we got here in the first place. Democrats were trying to move an aid bill and Republicans said no aid without a border crackdown. Democrats at first refused linkage but eventually gave way. Then they negotiated this border deal. Now Senate Republicans, at least for the moment, are saying they’ll go back to the aid bill they refused if it didn’t address the border.


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Who Is the Operator Behind the NH/Biden Voter Suppression Calls?

New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella announced today that Deep Fake voter suppression robocalls aimed at dissuading voters from voting in last months Democratic primary have been traced to a Texas-based firm called Life Corporation, owned by a man named Walter Monk. The calls used a voice like President Biden’s and told voters not to “waste” their vote in the primary, implying that you could vote in the primary or the general election but not both.

Monk seems to have a long and pretty sordid history of low-rent robocall type operations, but at least on first pass not a clear history of involvement in politics.

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Epic Senate Border Bill Post-Mortem/Wraithing Update Prime Badge
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The big, big news of the morning is of course the D.C. appellate decision that Donald Trump has no immunity as a former president. But I wanted to briefly revisit the half-day life of the Senate bipartisan border deal that collapsed last night in the face of Trump’s demands.

There’s a bit more to it that I wanted to walk you through. Not a lot more. But a bit more. And those bits have some significance.

After the bill was released, House GOP leaders repeatedly insisted it was absolutely positively dead in the House. The very transparent aim of these statements was that they wanted their Senate Republican colleagues to kill it in the Senate. Because the truth is that it’s not at all clear it was dead in the House if it was allowed to get a vote. So the thinking from the House GOP was: you’re going to put us in a very tough position if you pass the bill and send it to us. So kill it in the Senate first. At least for now, that’s just what their Senate colleagues did.

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Well That’s a Wrap!

I noted below that we might know tonight where the Senate GOP is going on the compromise legislation they said they wanted. Well, it’s not even 8 p.m. And we know. They’re going to filibuster it. The explanation of the evening is that voting this week is too soon. They need more time. But of course more time is just to build opposition to it. Trump was able to shut this down pretty quickly. If anything it’s now turning into a secondary effort to show Trump’s dominance over McConnell in the Senate. But that’s a topic for another post. The White House now needs to shift gears and make this a central element of its campaign. There was a bipartisan compromise to crackdown on border crossings. It included lots of what Republicans have demanded for years. But Republicans killed it because Donald Trump told them to.

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About Ukraine

According to The Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov, Russian forces in Ukraine are about to capture the first Ukrainian city since the capture of Bakhmut last May. According to him it’s a “direct result of acute ammunition shortage — caused by the U.S. Congress withholding further military aid to Ukraine.”

Senators Falling In Line

Pretty rapidly Senate Republicans seem to be falling in line behind Donald Trump’s demand to kill the Senate border deal.

Sen. Mike Rounds now says he’d be no on cloture if Sen. Schumer brings the bill up for a vote this week, as he said he would. For clarity, “no on cloture” is Senate-speak for supporting filibustering the bill, which he’s actually been a supporter of. In other words, he’s leaving open the possibility he might vote for it later after amendments. But that likely means after adding poison pills to scare off Democratic votes. At a minimum GOP Senators are saying, okay nice start. Make it more draconian and we’ll talk.

At least for now it seems like Trump’s demand to kill the bill have made it impossible for it to get to 60 votes. Trump’s got supporters of the compromise lining up to announce they’re against it.

Border Bill

Following up on the post below about this Senate border bill. However this goes I suspect it will go quickly. No one in the Senate wants to get caught out on the losing side of it. With that in mind Politico’s Burgess Everett just reported that Sen. John Thune says he’s “still reviewing the text and I think James Lankford worked as hard as he could to get the best deal under the circumstances.”

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