Mike Johnson Again Offers Up The House As Trump’s Mouthpiece

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 4: Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) takes a question from a reporter during a weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on June 4, 2024 in Washington, DC. Republican leaders discussed the g... WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 4: Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) takes a question from a reporter during a weekly news conference on Capitol Hill on June 4, 2024 in Washington, DC. Republican leaders discussed the guilty verdict in former U.S. President Donald Trump's hush money trial, U.S. President Joe Biden's upcoming executive order to tighten immigration at the southern boarder, the House vote today on the Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act, an effort by Republican lawmakers in Washington to deter the International Criminal Court (ICC) going forward with arrest warrants for top Israeli leaders over the war in Gaza, and other topics. (Photo by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Fox News Digital was first to report on yet another effort by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) to use his gavel to show Donald Trump that House Republicans are fighting his battles — regardless of whether or not Johnson’s razor-thin House majority is able to actually fight those battles.

Citing two GOP lawmakers and a source familiar with the matter, Fox News reported this morning that Johnson had briefed Republican lawmakers in private Tuesday on a “three-pronged” strategy for addressing a GOP-imagined crisis: the “weaponization” of the DOJ. Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), the problematic ex-White House doctor, told Fox News Digital that the former president was fully briefed on the plan before Johnson brought it to the Republican conference.

Johnson himself announced the new legislation-as-messaging campaign in a press conference shortly after the closed-door meeting Tuesday. His remarks to reporters about the substance of the strategy — which will supposedly include legislation — were vague.

“We’re going to do everything we can, everything within our scope of our responsibility in the Congress, to address it appropriately. And I announced this morning to our conference, we’re working on a three-pronged approach,” Johnson said.

“We’re looking at various approaches to what can be done here through the appropriations process, through the legislative process, through bills that will be advancing through our committees and put on the floor for passage and through oversight. All those things will be happening vigorously.”

Johnson has demonstrated repeatedly in his tenure as speaker that he is not exactly the Great Unifier that the anti-McCarthy faction of House Republicans that pushed him forward might have hoped. He has had to rely on Democratic support to help pass basic spending bills to keep the government open and crucial foreign aid, and so Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is still threatening to oust him on the regular.

How exactly he will unify those Republicans facing tough reelections with MAGA extremists who have been hijacking the House for the last two years in order to pass legislation to pacify Trump’s “rigged” reaction to his criminal conviction is not yet clear. Even if the bill somehow passes the fractured House without Democratic votes, it’ll likely fail in the Senate.

What is clear is that Johnson has seemingly succeeded in transforming the House of Representatives into a Donald Trump mouthpiece — something his predecessor struggled to fully do after briefly breaking with Trump over January 6.

First it was the decision to spike bipartisan legislation that would’ve addressed issues at the border after Trump complained that solving the problem would be like giving Democrats a “gift” during an election year.

Then, a few weeks ago, Johnson introduced a redundant piece of legislation that he and Trump announced in a joint news conference at Mar-a-Lago, meant to prevent non-citizens from voting in federal elections. As TPM’s Khaya Himmelman has reported, that is already illegal and basically never happens. But the issue has been resurrected as an area of fixation for Trump’s allies who want to give him a target to pin his mass-voter fraud claims on, if he loses in the fall.

Like those bills, the Democratic Senate and President Biden will not allow the Trump effort to “de-weaponize” the DOJ to become law. But that is almost certainly besides the point.

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