Mike Johnson on Hannity: 12 key lines from the new House speaker’s interview

House Speaker Mike Johnson, the previously little-known Louisiana Republican who claimed the chamber’s gavel this week after 22 days of chaos, gave a wide-ranging interview to Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday night. Here are Johnson's top 12 lines from that interview.

1.     President Joe Biden

“If you look at a tape of Joe Biden making an argument in the Senate Judiciary Committee a few years ago and you see a speech that he delivers now, there's a difference. Again, it's not a personal insult to him. It's just reality.”

2.    The Biden administration

“I think it's been a failed presidency.”

3.    Foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel

“I told the staff at the White House today that our consensus among House Republicans is that we need to bifurcate those issues."

4.     Foreign policy

“We can't allow Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don't believe it would stop there. It would probably encourage and empower China to perhaps make a move on Taiwan. We have these concerns."

5.   U.S. boots on the ground in Israel

“It's a very delicate situation; it changes by the hour. We're watching it very closely. We certainly hope that it doesn't come to boots on the ground.”

6.   Palestinian aid

“They use the Palestinians as shields. They don't even provide the people with clean drinking water. We're supposed to believe they're going to use U.S. aid for humanitarian purposes? Count me as a skeptic, OK.”

7.   Biden impeachment

“If, in fact, all the evidence leads to where we believe it will, that's very likely impeachable offenses.”

8.   China

“China is a near peer-to-peer adversary to us right now, and their goal is to rebuild the empire. So we're doing everything we can to ensure we maintain our military superiority.”

9.     Motion to vacate

“I think we’re going to change it.”

10.  Stopgap budget measure

“We're working through this with the ideas and trying to ensure that if another stopgap measure is required, that we do it with certain conditions."

11.  Gay marriage

"This has been settled by the Supreme Court in the Obergefell opinion in 2015. So, that’s the decision. ... I’m a constitutional law attorney, I respect that and we move forward."

12. Abortion

“There's no national consensus for the people on what to do with that issue on a federal issue for certain."

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Ken Paxton suggests he could primary Sen. John Cornyn in 2026

Fresh off a high-profile impeachment acquittal, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton suggested in his clearest terms yet that he could launch a primary challenge against Sen. John Cornyn, who is up for reelection in 2026.

"To me, he's been in Washington too long. He's been there, what, for 14 years or so? And I can't think of a single thing he's accomplished for our state or even for the country," Paxton told Tucker Carlson in an interview that debuted Wednesday. (Cornyn was elected to the Senate in 2002.)

"Everything's on the table for me," Paxton said in response to Carlson asking if he would run. "I think it's time somebody needs to step up and run against this guy that will do the job and do it the right way and represent us and worry about what's going on."

A potential battle between the two Texans would highlight the deep divide in the biggest state Republican Party in the country. And the animosity between the pair is well-documented: When Paxton battled through Republican primary challengers during his 2022 reelection campaign, Cornyn — a former Texas attorney general himself — called his legal battles an "embarrassment" and further reiterated those comments during Paxton's impeachment trial this month. Paxton, in turn, has called the senator a relic of former President George W. Bush, who helped turn the state's Republican Party into a machine.

Both have large political profiles in Texas. Paxton, who has the fierce backing of Donald Trump and many of the former president's conservative allies, has prominently attacked many of the Biden administration's policies in court, ranging from immigration to federal spending. Cornyn, who has held a number of leadership positions in the upper chamber, is often cited as a potential successor to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

This year, Paxton faced the biggest threat to his political career so far after the Texas House overwhelmingly voted to remove him from office in May over allegations that he misused his office and accepted bribes. But the Texas Senate acquitted him this month, allowing him to return to his perch as the state's top legal official. He still faces a felony fraud case and a federal investigation.

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Pelosi mocks McCarthy’s ‘ever incredibly shrinking speakership’

House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's concessions to conservatives on his right flank to win his leadership position have diminished the worth of the position.

"I think it’s an ever incredibly shrinking speakership," Pelosi told CNN's Anderson Cooper, pointing to the concessions McCarthy made to become speaker. "It became that the first night when he had to make all these pledges, promises to become speaker. Really, it isn’t worth it to be speaker to abdicate that much jurisdiction over the House."

That same conservative part of the Republican House caucus that McCarthy "abdicated" power to en route to his speakership pushed the California Republican to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, which he announced on Tuesday.

The comments from Pelosi, a California Democrat who twice served as House speaker, highlight the political confines that McCarthy finds himself within. The House now has to navigate a possible presidential impeachment on top of legislating numerous must-pass bills, including a government budget with no resolution currently in sight.

"I think that is really more of a matter of politics of the Republican caucus," Pelosi said about the possible impeachment. "This is not responsible governance. But it’s the chaos on the Republican side."

The 83-year-old San Francisco Democrat, who announced last Friday that she would run for another House term, also staunchly defended Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, in their pursuit of a 2024 election win.

Harris, whose approval ratings generally lag behind the already low numbers of Biden, has taken heat from various commentators and observers for weakness — a characterization that Pelosi rejects, calling the vice president "politically astute." She also argued that vice presidents — really — don't do that much anyway.

"She’s the vice president of the United States," Pelosi said in defense of Harris. "People say to me, well, why isn’t she doing this or that? I say, because she’s the vice president. That’s the job description. You don’t do that much. You know, you’re a source of strength, inspiration, intellectual resource, and the rest."

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