As McCarthy moves to boot Cheney, a favorite successor emerges

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and some of his allies are moving quickly to nudge GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney from her leadership post, publicly criticizing her and privately lining up a potential successor.

During a Tuesday interview on Fox News, McCarthy gave his strongest signal yet that he would support a new attempt to oust Cheney from the No. 3 spot in leadership, saying his members have voiced concerns about her “ability to carry out” her job duties.

Meanwhile, some of McCarthy’s allies have started pitching other Republicans on Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) for the post, according to multiple GOP sources familiar with the conversations. Stefanik herself has begun building support for a potential bid if Cheney is booted.

McCarthy’s moves are a stark shift from his public silence earlier this year when House conservatives mounted a failed bid to dislodge Cheney from her role after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

This time, McCarthy denied that intra-party frustrations with Cheney were rooted in the Wyoming Republican’s impeachment vote. Cheney's GOP critics say they're frustrated that she hasn’t acted like a team player, doesn’t stay on-message and has created an unwelcome distraction with recent headline-making comments about Trump.

“There’s no concern about how she voted on impeachment. That decision has been made,” McCarthy told “Fox & Friends” in an interview.

“I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” he said. “We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority. Remember, majorities are not given, they are earned. And that’s about the message about going forward.”

Responding to McCarthy’s remarks, Cheney spokesperson Jeremy Adler released a statement later Tuesday morning framing the fight this way: “This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6. Liz will not do that. That is the issue.”

McCarthy was also caught trashing Cheney on a hot mic Tuesday, saying he’s “lost confidence” in his top deputy and that she has “real problems,” according to Axios.

While tension between the top House Republican leaders has been steadily escalating, the relationship between the conference's No. 1 and No. 3 hit rock bottom after its annual policy retreat in Florida last week, an event designed to project a united front as Republicans look to take back the House. The conversation among senior Republicans now isn’t whether Cheney survives another vote on her future, but who will inevitably replace her.

Members of McCarthy's leadership team have begun whipping people against Cheney, according to one House Republican.

A handful of names have been floated to succeed Cheney, but Stefanik — who propelled herself to GOP stardom during Trump’s first impeachment trial — has emerged as a clear frontrunner, according to multiple senior Republicans and sources close to leadership. Leadership allies are essentially trying to sell Republicans on a replacement plan: swap Cheney for Stefanik.

Stefanik, 36, is said to be interested in the job if Cheney gets the boot and has been calling her colleagues to talk about her interest in the job and garner support, though her supporters believe she’s wary of looking eager to knife Cheney.

Stefanik, who mulled a bid for New York governor this year, has a number of things going for her: She's become a prolific and high-profile fundraiser, is considered an effective party messenger and launched a PAC dedicated to electing more Republican women. She's also liked by the MAGA crowd, including Trump and McCarthy. But Stefanik's PAC has required her to play in GOP primaries, which could be problematic if she winds up in leadership.

Some have also questioned her conservative credentials, noting that Stefanik was a former co-chair of the moderate Tuesday Group who boasts only a 48 percent lifetime score from the conservative group Heritage Action. By comparison, Cheney’s is 80 percent. Stefanik’s upstate New York district, however, has grown redder in recent years.

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) said Stefanik has his support following Cheney's repeated criticisms of the party over Jan. 6. He lauded Stefanik’s fundraising prowess, her efforts to recruit women and her political instincts.

"I whipped votes actively for Liz Cheney the last time she was in a situation. I'm not doing it this time because I feel that there was an opportunity to pivot and move past the differences that we had as a conference, but every single interview, every single tweet just rehashes past issues,” Reschenthaler told POLITICO.

“That's why I'm actively behind Elise and pushing for a change in that position. We just simply are not going to move forward as a conference if we have somebody that is constantly looking in the rear view mirror,” he added.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a McCarthy ally and co-founder of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, also lent his voice to Stefanik's growing chorus of support during an interview on Fox News.

Republicans are well aware of the optics of booting the sole woman to serve in GOP leadership, with some stressing the importance of finding another woman to take Cheney’s place. Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana is another Republican whose name has been floated, but she is generally not viewed as strong of a contender as Stefanik.

Before the growing support for Stefanik became clear, other male GOP members were seen as possible contenders for the Conference chair. Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, chair of the Republican Study Committee, signaled an interest in the role, but as momentum began to build for Stefanik on Tuesday, Banks told The Hill he will not run to replace Cheney. Some have also pointed to Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, who occupies the No. 4 slot as vice conference chair.

The discussions about who will replace her indicate that a vote on Cheney’s future is unavoidable, barely three months after she cruised to victory after the first attempt to oust her from leadership by House conservatives.

House Republicans will huddle next Wednesday for their weekly conference meeting, where McCarthy can call for a vote on Cheney's future. If the GOP conference does purge Cheney from their ranks, they’d have to hold another vote on her replacement.

While the timing of those votes is up in the air, Republicans are predicting that the process will move quickly, with many eager to rip the Band-Aid off. Others, however, are warning against a snap decision.

McCarthy defended Cheney privately during February’s vote over whether to keep her in leadership. But their relationship has since soured as McCarthy has sought to walk back his criticisms of Trump and tether himself more closely to the former president — all while Cheney has continued to insist Trump should play no role in the future of the Republican Party.

House Democrats quickly mocked the GOP for its apparent uneasiness with Cheney’s anti-Trump apostasy. Responding to Republicans’ interest in replacing Cheney with a female conference chair, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office released a statementon Tuesday headlined: “GOP Leadership: Help Wanted — Non-Threatening Female.”

Conservatives including Donald Trump Jr. attacked Cheney last week for fist-bumping President Joe Biden ahead of his first address to a joint session of Congress, and the Republican infighting ramped up further on Monday after former President Trump released a statement attempting to rebrand the 2020 election as the real “BIG LIE.”

Cheney responded on Twitter roughly an hour later, writing: “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

The back-and-forth between the former president and the GOP conference chair provoked another round of backlash from conservatives and fueled already rampant speculation that Cheney could soon be booted from House leadership.

"Liz Cheney was put on notice when our conference held a vote to remove her in February. Her role is to lead House Republican messaging, but she is totally unaligned with the majority of our party," Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) said in a statement Tuesday. "We cannot fight for the America First agenda with her in a leadership position."

Later Monday afternoon, Trump released a statement touting “heartwarming” public polling in Cheney’s home state purportedly showing her with low approval numbers and predicted that “she’ll never run in a Wyoming election again!”

Cheney, for her part, rebuked Trump again on Monday night at a closed-door conference in Georgia, where CNN reported she called Trump’s false election fraud claims “a poison in the bloodstream of our democracy” and said that “we can’t whitewash what happened” on Jan. 6.

"Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go: Liz Cheney refuses to lie," tweeted Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who has voted twice to remove Trump from office. "As one of my Republican Senate colleagues said to me following my impeachment vote: 'I wouldn’t want to be a member of a group that punished someone for following their conscience.'"

Posted in Uncategorized

Tester: Senators have a ‘solemn oath’ to take impeachment trial seriously

Sen. Jon Tester said Thursday that his colleagues should take seriously the case presented by House impeachment managers in former President Donald Trump's second Senate trial, after reports circulated that some Republicans were being inattentive during the proceedings.

In an interview on CNN, Tester (D-Mont.) was asked about the reported behavior by those GOP lawmakers, which included Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) doodling and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) rifling through papers with his feet up in the Senate gallery.

"I think we've got a solemn obligation to do what the Constitution says. And I think paying attention is a big part of it, whether it's an impeachment trial or otherwise," Tester said. "I will make no judgments on those folks. But the truth is, this is a very somber and important event, and we need to treat it as such."

Tester's remarks on Thursday morning came after House managers on Wednesday presented previously unseen footage of last month's Capitol insurrection, which showed just how close the pro-Trump rioters came to congressional lawmakers and staff.

Commenting on the video evidence, Tester specifically mentioned clips of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) being forced to double-back as the mob spread throughout the building.

"It was scary. It was eye-opening. It was incredibly informing," Tester said. "And it is something that, you know, I knew that we were in harm's way, but nothing to the extent that I saw yesterday. So we've gotten new information from the prosecution as to what happened on Jan. 6. And it was far worse than I thought, for sure."

Posted in Uncategorized

‘Trump War Room’ Twitter account goes on the attack as impeachment trial kicks off

As President Donald Trump's second Senate impeachment trail commenced on Tuesday, the Twitter account that formerly belonged to his reelection campaign's rapid response team posted commentary on the proceedings and criticism of congressional Democrats.

One tweet from the "Trump War Room" account issued on Tuesday afternoon targeted Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is presiding over Trump's trial in his capacity as president pro tempore of the Senate.

"Imagine having a 'trial' where the 'judge' had already voted to convict the defendant?" the tweet read. "That's what happens in banana republics, third world dictatorships and now the United States Senate. SAD!"

The "Trump War Room" account is one of the last remaining Twitter accounts affiliated with Trump and his aides that is accessible on the platform.

Twitter permanently suspended the former president's personal account last month, as well as the @TeamTrump account used by his campaign.

Posted in Uncategorized

Rep. Greene revels in committee removal but says she’s ‘sorry’ for conspiratorial rhetoric

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said Friday she was glad to be booted from her House committee assignments — slinging a series of sharply partisan attacks while also conceding that she was “sorry” for her past conspiratorial statements.

In remarks to reporters outside the Capitol, the Georgia Republican claimed she had “been freed” by the bipartisan vote on Thursday that stripped her of her seats on the House Budget and the House Education and Labor panels.

“If I was on a committee, I’d be wasting my time, because my conservative values wouldn’t be heard and neither would my district’s,” Greene said.

“Now, I have a lot of free time on my hands,” she added, “which means I can talk to a whole lot more people all over this country, and I can talk to more people and make connections and build a huge amount of support.”

Greene’s news conference is the latest flare-up in the weeklong controversy over the congresswoman, which erupted last Tuesday after CNN’s KFile and Media Matters for America reported on some of her past social media activity indicating support for executing prominent Democrats and QAnon conspiracy theories.

But Greene’s embrace of those dangerous claims had been public knowledge well before her election to Congress last November, and POLITICO reported as early as last June on a series of Facebook videos in which she espoused racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views.

Although House GOP leadership condemned Greene’s statements at the time, national Republicans did little in the following months to halt her ascent to the House. And after Greene’s congressional primary victory last August, then-President Donald Trump even praised her on Twitter as a “future Republican Star.”

Greene mentioned her revoked committee assignments only sparingly in her news conference, mostly swinging between commentary on her Christian faith and conservative broadsides against the media and Democrats.

"I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to say the things that I don't believe and I shouldn't have said in the first place," Greene said. "And I'm really grateful to my God, because he forgives me. And that's what being a Christian is all about."

But despite her talk of repentance, Greene remained largely defiant on Friday as she accused journalists of "addicting our nation to hate" and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) of faking her personal account of last month's Capitol siege.

Among her other more controversial remarks on Friday, Greene also said that the 11 House Republicans who voted to revoke her committee posts had committed a "big betrayal," that the United States was being "flooded with illegals," and that women who have abortions are left with a "hole in their soul that never heals."

The most recent reporting on Greene’s incendiary rhetoric and bizarre beliefs, however, triggered a new wave of outrage from Democratic lawmakers and Republicans as high-ranking as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who described her “loony lies and conspiracy theories” as a “cancer” for the party.

But within the House GOP caucus, the controversy exacerbated existing disputes over the party’s direction in the post-Trump era, and emerged as many conservative members called for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) — the No. 3 House Republican who voted for Trump’s impeachment — to be removed from her leadership role.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) came under particular pressure to resolve the intra-party conflict, while top House Democrats warned they would move to strip Greene of her committee assignments if he did not do so himself. Green, who had been seated on the House Education and Labor panel, had suggested prior to her election that the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings were hoaxes.

McCarthy appeared to achieve a tenuous ceasefire among House Republicans on Wednesday, when he decided against booting Greene from her committees and defended Cheney ahead of a secret-ballot caucus vote that resulted in the defeat of efforts to oust her from GOP leadership.

House Democrats then proceeded to follow through on their threat to revoke Greene’s committee posts on Thursday, with 11 Republicans also supporting the resolution to strip the congresswoman’s assignments.

In a brief floor speech before the vote, Greene acknowledged that “school shootings are absolutely real” and that “9/11 absolutely happened,” but she stopped short of an apology for her past statements. She also compared the American media to QAnon and attacked Big Tech, “cancel culture” and the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Friday, in a question-and-answer session following her news conference, a reporter pressed the congresswoman on whether there was anything specific she was sorry for saying.

“Oh, of course,” Greene said. “I’m sorry for saying all those things that are wrong and offensive, and I sincerely mean that. And I’m happy to say that. I think it's good to say when we’ve done something wrong.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Hawley files ethics counter-complaint against seven Dem senators

Sen. Josh Hawley on Monday filed a counter-complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee against the seven Senate Democrats who had previously filed a complaint against him and Sen. Ted Cruz over the two Republicans’ objections to the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“The idea that one Senator who disagrees with another Senator can therefore have that Senator punished, sanctioned, censured, or removed is utterly antithetical to our democracy and the very idea of open, lawful debate,” Hawley (R-Mo.) wrote in a letter to the seven Democrats.

Hawley’s counter-complaint comes after Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) — joined by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — wrote to the Ethics committee last Thursday requesting an investigation of Hawley and Cruz (R-Texas), who led Republican efforts in the Senate to challenge President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

It was during Congress’ certification of Biden’s win that a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, breaching the building’s walls and temporarily halting the proceedings. Lawmakers were forced to shelter-in-place as both chambers went into lockdown, and at least five people died as a result of the violence — including a Capitol police officer.

Immediately prior to the attack, former President Donald Trump ginned up his supporters at a rally on the White House Ellipse, encouraging them to march on the Capitol with hot-blooded rhetoric. Trump was impeached by the House two weeks ago for “incitement of insurrection” — becoming the only president in American history to twice face the historic rebuke — and he is now set to stand trial in the Senate early next month.

But Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans have also directed their fury at colleagues who sought to overturn the election results in Congress, arguing that their actions and refusal to acknowledge the reality of Biden’s win played a role in provoking the deadly Capitol siege. Hawley and Cruz, in particular, have received calls to resign or be expelled from the Senate — potential punishments which Hawley alluded to in his letter on Monday.

“In light of the shameful abuse of the ethics process you have deliberately engaged in, I have considered whether I should call for you to resign or be expelled from the Senate,” Hawley wrote to the seven Democrats. “But I continue to believe in the First Amendment, which the US Supreme Court has repeatedly said protects even ‘offensive’ and malicious speech, such as yours.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Val Demings ‘encouraged’ by McConnell’s break from Trump

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) appeared more optimistic on Wednesday about the possibility of President Donald Trump being removed from office, saying she was “pleased and encouraged” by recent reports of remarks attributed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“I believe that the Senate, while we’ve heard a lot of rhetoric, I believe they can do anything that they have the will to do,” Demings told MSNBC in an interview.

“I was pleased and encouraged, let me put it that way, to hear the remarks from Sen. McConnell yesterday,” she said. “I believe the time is right. I believe the time is now. And I believe we have more bipartisan support, certainly more than we had the last time.”

Demings’ interview on Wednesday morning came as the House prepared to impeach Trump for a second time, setting him up to be the first president in American history to receive such a historic rebuke.

But unlike his first impeachment in 2019, when no House Republicans voted to remove the president, at least a handful of the chamber’s GOP lawmakers have turned against him in the aftermath of last week’s deadly siege of the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican, and at least four other members of her caucus have said they will support the single impeachment article charging the president with “willful incitement of insurrection.” As many as a dozen Republicans are expected to vote to impeach Trump.

Making matters worse for the White House, both McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have privately signaled that they are open to punishing Trump in some way for his role in inciting last week’s riot.

McConnell has indicated Trump’s actions qualify him for removal, POLITICO reported Tuesday, and McCarthy — while still publicly opposed to impeachment — has asked GOP lawmakers whether he should pressure the president to resign.

Demings, a House impeachment manager during Trump’s first Senate trial, was heartened by the developments on Wednesday.

“We’ll see what happens,” she said. “We can get this done if we have the political will to do it.”

Posted in Uncategorized

‘Depraved’: Rep. Jason Crow condemns Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s rhetoric ahead of impeachment vote

Rep. Jason Crow on Wednesday described Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her ideological colleagues as “depraved” and “dangerous” after Greene authored an incendiary tweet ahead of impeachment proceedings for President Donald Trump.

“There are, unfortunately, a handful of members of Congress — and Mrs. Taylor Green is just one of them — who are morally bankrupt,” Crow (D-Colo.) told CNN in an interview. “They are depraved, and they’re frankly dangerous individuals.”

Greene’s (R-Ga.) office did not immediately respond to a request for a response to Crow’s remarks, which came in response to a question about Twitter post Greene authored Tuesday night.

“President Trump will remain in office. This Hail Mary attempt to remove him from the White House is an attack on every American who voted for him,” Taylor Greene wrote in her post, which has since been flagged by Twitter. “Democrats must be held accountable for the political violence inspired by their rhetoric.”

Her tweet comes one week after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol amid Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, resulting in the deaths of at least five people — including a U.S. Capitol Police officer. The president, at a rally earlier that day, had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol and "show strength."

After Congress resumed its certification proceedings following the attack, Greene was one of the 147 congressional Republicans who still objected to the election results. She also drew criticism last week after video footage showed her, along with a handful of other House Republicans, refusing to wear a mask while sheltering with other lawmakers amid the violence. At least three House Democrats have since tested positive for Covid-19.

Greene, a freshman congresswoman elected last November, has previously endorsed elements of the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory and made Islamophobic comments. She has won praise from Trump, who has called her a “future Republican star.”

Posted in Uncategorized

‘They are running away’: Clyburn blasts DeVos, Chao for resigning without invoking 25th Amendment

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn on Friday accused former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao of “running away from their responsibility” by resigning from President Donald Trump’s Cabinet before invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

In an interview Friday morning on CNN, Clyburn (D-S.C.) repeated his call for Cabinet members to join together to remove Trump from the presidency, arguing that particular constitutional remedy was preferable to launching a second round of impeachment proceedings in the final 12 days of Trump’s term.

“It’s the quickest way to do it, and it’s there. It is the proper way to do it,” Clyburn said. “But this president always liked being distinctive, for whatever reason. And he can be by being the first president in this country to be impeached twice. So if they don’t do it, I do believe that the votes are in the House of Representatives to put forth articles of impeachment.”

The third-ranking House Democrat also suggested the president is unlikely to be removed from office by impeachment with less than two weeks before his term expires.

“No, I do not believe 13 or 14 days are enough to run that. But it's sure enough for the vice president and the Cabinet members,” Clyburn said, before invoking DeVos and Chao.

“For two Cabinet members to resign, that says to me they are running away from their responsibility. If they feel that strongly, they would stay there and wait on this meeting so they can cast two of the votes that are necessary to invoke the 25th Amendment,” he said. “They are running away.”

Spokespeople for the two resigning secretaries did not immediately return requests for comment on Clyburn’s criticism. But DeVos did weigh in with a cryptic reply to a tweet from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Warren had written that she was not surprised DeVos would “rather quit than do her job to help invoke the 25th Amendment.” In response, DeVos tweeted: “You know not of what you speak.”

Shortly after Devos' post, the Wall Street Journal and POLITICO reported Friday that the Education secretary resigned after determining that Trump's removal through the 25th Amendment was not a viable option.

DeVos and Chao on Thursday became the two most high-profile administration officials to resign in protest following the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the building amid congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. DeVos’ resignation is effective Friday while Chao’s resignation is effective as of Jan. 11.

Prior to the riot — which resulted in the deaths of five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer — Trump ginned up his supporters at a rally outside the White House and encouraged them to march on the Capitol. “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong,” he said.

Scores of Democratic lawmakers, numerous former federal officials, some governors and at least one Republican House member have all demanded Trump’s immediate removal from office. On Thursday, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, as did Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).

And Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), the assistant House speaker, predicted Friday morning that the full chamber could vote to again impeach Trump as early as the middle of next week. Asked whether that potential timeline was accurate, Clyburn told CNN: “Oh, I think so.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Doug Collins says he won’t be intel chief after Trump floats him for DNI job

Rep. Doug Collins quickly shot down speculation that he would be nominated as the next director of national intelligence after President Donald Trump floated the Georgia Republican for the role of America’s spy chief, insisting Friday that he would instead continue his campaign for Senate.

“Wow, you know, it is humbling. I mean, it’s amazing for a trooper’s kid from north Georgia to have the president think that much of you — to mention my name among others to be this position,” Collins told Fox Business, hours after Trump revealed Thursday night to reporters on Air Force One that he was considering the congressman for the post.

“But let me just tell you right now that I know the problems in our intelligence community, but this is not a job that interests me at this time,” Collins added. “It’s not one that I would accept because I’m running a Senate race down here in Georgia.”

Collins’ dismissal of the president’s suggestion comes after the White House on Wednesday tapped Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany and a staunch Trump loyalist, to take over for outgoing acting national intelligence director Joseph Maguire.

Trump’s decision to elevate Grenell, who has not served in any U.S. intelligence agency, has alarmed critics who fear the president is seeking to politicize one of the most sensitive offices in the federal government and bend the intelligence community to his will.

The president’s proposal to install Collins as national intelligence director on a permanent basis was also likely to have elicited significant criticism — especially given that it is not the first time Trump has explored choosing a fierce congressional ally for the job.

Trump previously nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to become national intelligence director in July, but Ratcliffe withdrew himself from consideration just five days later in the face of heavy scrutiny.

Ratcliffe previously served as the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, but had minimal experience in the intelligence community beyond his six-month tenure on the House Intelligence Committee. Both Ratcliffe and Collins were vocal defenders of the president amid former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and the House impeachment proceedings.

Collins is now waging a campaign against appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler to complete the term of former Sen. Johnny Isakson, who resigned last year — bucking the wishes of Georgia’s Republican governor and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, but invigorating supporters of the president who view him as a more sincere Trump devotee.

“I’m very humbled by the president. I’m a supporter of this president. I’m going to continue to fight for this president in the House this year,” Collins said Friday. “And we’ll be in the Senate next year because this intelligence community has to get right. And I’m sure the president will pick somebody appropriate for that job.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Utah newspaper praises Romney’s vote to convict Trump

A top Salt Lake City newspaper on Wednesday evening lauded Utah Sen. Mitt Romney for “doing the right thing” by voting to remove President Donald Trump from office.

“Mitt Romney could have ducked this one,” wrote the editorial board of The Salt Lake Tribune, but the 2012 GOP presidential nominee “couldn’t explain it to his conscience” and “could not avert his eyes from the fact that this president had, without a shadow of a doubt, abused his power as commander and chief.”

The editorial board argued that all Utahns and Americans, “regardless of politics, ideology or religion should be duly impressed with Romney’s decision to follow his heart and his conscience — and his God — in doing the right thing when doing the right thing was difficult.”

Romney, a devout Mormon, frequently invoked his faith in a brief speech from the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon, when he announced his intention to vote in favor of the first impeachment article charging Trump with abuse of power.

Already a strong Republican critic of the administration, Romney acknowledged the fierce onslaught he expected to receive from his own party as the only GOP lawmaker to break ranks and vote to convict the president.

“I’m aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters I will be vehemently denounced,” he said in his prepared remarks. “I’m sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”

The editorial board noted that Romney knew his decision would not change the outcome of the ultimate vote by the Senate — which acquitted Trump of both impeachment articles Wednesday afternoon — and acknowledged that the president “is in a position … to make life very difficult for Romney going forward.”

Romney has been subjected to numerous attacks by the White House and its conservative allies in the hours since casting his vote in the Senate impeachment trial, with the president weighing in Thursday morning.

“Had failed presidential candidate @MittRomney devoted the same energy and anger to defeating a faltering Barack Obama as he sanctimoniously does to me, he could have won the election,” Trump tweeted. “Read the Transcripts!”

Posted in Uncategorized