Crooked Media - You down with MTG?

Friday, March 22, 2024
BY CROOKED MEDIA

-Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, for once, telling it like it is.

The House passed a $1.2 trillion spending plan to keep the government open before Friday night’s deadline. But now, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has a revolt on his hands.
 

  • When we dreamed up yesterday’s newsletter headline, “Tragic Mike’s last dance,” we had little idea quite how accurate it would turn out to be by this morning.  Naturally, we owe it all to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who responded to today’s upside-down vote to keep the federal government open with exactly what we’ve come to expect from House Republicans: A motion to oust speaker Johnson, and a threat to throw the GOP into a leaderless flail for the second time since October. Greene, who actually voted to keep former speaker Kevin McCarthy around when her MAGA pals came for him in the Fall, is livid about the $1.2 trillion “minibus” spending deal that Johnson cut with Democrats to avoid an election-year shutdown. The bizarre structure and timing of the spending bill is entirely due to Republicans’ maximalist deal-breaking going back to last year. Now Greene and her supporters on the far-right are furious that their leader-of-fourth-choice opted for the bare minimum of governing instead of forcing a shutdown right before an election. MAGA gonna MAGA!

 
  • From the perspective of a lawmaker who wears a MAGA hat to the State of the Union address and calls Democrats “pedophiles” (then stands by it) today’s vote to keep the government functioning was a disaster. To be sure, Johnson’s deal was passed by Democrats. Just 101 Republicans voted for the bill, while 185 Dems backed it. And a majority of Republicans, 118, voted against the deal. “The proof is in the vote count today. We cannot afford to have a speaker of the house that (sic) is doing the bidding of democrats,” Greene said. She’s not totally wrong! Traditionally (lol, we know. Norms!) passing major, trillion-dollar legislation over the objections of your own majority party would indeed constitute a good reason for a rank-and-file revolt. But let’s be real: Republicans, all by themselves, created a confrontation that they couldn’t win without sparking a government shutdown, all while forcing their speaker to operate under threat of a single-member motion to vacate. So, y’know: If you ignore all that, then Marjorie has a great point!

 
  • It’s about to get worse for Greene and the all-chaos MAGA faction. Way worse. If she thought Johnson was bowing to Dems now, just wait until after the two-week Spring recess. Recall that when MAGA came for McCarthy, Dems sat on their hands and watched, providing no votes for Kev. Today, several Democrats said they will vote to protect Johnson. Some want him to see through critical funding for Ukraine. Some represent districts Donald Trump won.  Many will recognize that a GOP speaker who’s so weak he relies on Dems to counter his own majority, all while enraging MAGA attention-seekers, is a kind of political gold. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), who just returned to Congress in the seat left by the expulsion of George Santos (another avatar of normal governance!) summed it up when he said he’d vote to back Johnson after he “did the right thing” to keep the government operating: “The idea that he would be kicked out by these jokers is absurd." Add to that the news that yet another Republican chairman—Rep. Mike Gallagher—is so fed up with his party he’s not even going to serve out his term, choosing instead to leave the GOP with a one-vote functioning majority.


If Greene goes ahead and tries to oust Johnson after Easter, she may help create a speaker who literally owes his gavel to the Dems who save him. That could be worth concessions like passing Ukraine aid, ending the Biden impeachment… and who knows!

ICYMI, Strict Scrutiny is coming to Washington DC on June 22nd! They'll be breaking down the decisions coming out of the Supreme Court, LIVE at the Howard Theatre. Tickets are available now, but they're moving fast so get yours at crooked.com/events before they sell out!

Monday is the deadline for Donald Trump to put up a bond to cover the $464 million judgment against him for fraud in New York, or face the prospect of the state Attorney General seizing his assets to cover what he could owe. Trump’s lawyers have already told the court he doesn’t have the cash and that surety companies won’t cover such a staggering amount. It’s led to all kinds of chaos and speculation—much of it, shocker, fueled by Trump—about what could happen. For starters, Trump’s been working out his stress on Truth Social, where he posted today that he actually DOES have $500 million cash. Aside from the, “I’m not poor, YOU’RE poor!” vibes, his lawyer had to walk that back fast, before a judge questions why a client with $500 million can’t cover a $464 million bill. 

 

Exactly what will happen Monday remains unclear. Trump is appealing the fraud judgment, so will the Appellate Court give him a break and reduce his bond requirement? Will he cobble together a combination of smaller bonds to come up with at least part of what he owes? More troubling: Will some billionaire come to Trump’s rescue and put up the cash? Most troubling: What if that billionaire is a foreign oligarch working on behalf of a foreign government happy to have the possible future president very much owing them a solid (or, more accurately, half-a-billion solids?) Trump appears to be on the verge of a big cash infusion thanks to a deal for Truth Social to go public. But that money won’t help him in the next few weeks, and also has “meme stock” vibes that have analysts warning Truth’s value is way over-inflated. (Come to think of it, that sounds like a great slogan for the Trump campaign.) 

 

In the medium term, Trump could still get significant cash out of the Truth Social deal, as crappy as it may be for investors. That cash appears to be as corrupt as you’d expect, put up by the same billionaire who convinced Trump to completely reverse his position on TikTok a few weeks ago. He will definitely get loads of money out of the Republican Party, which today confirmed that House, Senate, and local candidates will only get their money once Trump’s Save America PAC, where his legal bills get paid, gets theirs. The GOP is now officially in place to bail out the personal legal bills of Donald Trump. Enjoy, Republicans!

Russia said 40 people were killed and over 100 wounded in a terrorist attack on a concert hall in Moscow. A branch of the Islamic State group took responsibility, and U.S. officials who spoke to the New York Times backed up the group’s claim.

Israel announced the seizure of 10 square kilometers of land in the West Bank, in what the Washington Post reported amounts to the single largest seizure of land by the Israeli government since the 1993 Oslo accords, citing settlement watchdog group Peace Now. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Israel’s cabinet that it’s risking its own security over its failed Gaza strategy and that “you might not realize it until it’s too late.” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told Blinken that Israel plans to move on Rafah with or without U.S. or international approval.

China and Russia vetoed a U.S.-sponsored UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The resolution also condemned Hamas and called for the release of Israeli hostages. 

Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, announced he has cancer and will be undergoing chemotherapy, ending weeks of speculation over her condition and whereabouts.  

The judge in Trump’s Manhattan election interference and hush money trial will hold a hearing that could set a new trial date for next month. Stay tuned! 

Uh, did Rep. James Comer (R-KY) just very quietly fold up the push to impeach Joe Biden without a vote? It sure looks like it! Comer said an impeachment vote is not, in fact, the “best path” forward for his otherwise never-ending Biden probe. 

Former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel is getting rewarded for years of lying about the 2020 election and undermining Jan 6. accountability with…a lucrative analyst contract for NBC News.

Disgraced former GOP Congressman George Santos is mounting a third party bid to return to Congress. Is shame dead? It sure is! 

The Human Rights Foundation invites you to join us in Oslo, Norway, for the 16th annual Oslo Freedom Forum from June 3 to 5, 2024. 

 

Human rights advocates from around the globe will take the stage to share their efforts to defy repression, speak out against injustice, and promote liberal democracy.


You can now hear Trump’s indictments delivered by the likes of Glenn Close, Peter Coyote, Liam Neeson and more. Call it a way to make the reality of Trump’s (alleged) crimes accessible to everyday folks

. . . . . .


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