Democratic rep says he might vote in favor of impeaching Mayorkas over border wall construction

A House Democrat said he might vote in favor of impeaching Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over the construction of two 30-foot walls at the border with Mexico. 

Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) said at a press conference on Friday that he might vote for an impeachment resolution if Republicans bring one up against Mayorkas, though for different reasoning than his GOP colleagues. 

While Republicans have slammed Mayorkas and the Biden administration for high numbers of undocumented immigrants coming into the country, Vargas said he might vote to impeach Mayorkas over the issue of the border walls being built at Friendship Park in San Diego. 

The park is located on a cliff over the Pacific Ocean between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, according to Border Report, an outlet owned by Nexstar Media Group that focuses on coverage of the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The Hill is also owned by Nexstar. 

Vargas said he wants Mayorkas and President Biden to halt the construction of the walls at Friendship Park, which Border Report reported has served as a meeting place for families to gather with a wall between them. 

“He told us that he would help us, and he hasn’t done it,” Vargas said, referring to Mayorkas. “He betrayed us.” 

The outlet reported that U.S. Border Patrol officials have said the existing barriers are decaying and have become a danger to the public, migrants and agents in the area. They have said the barriers need to be replaced with the new walls. 

But Vargas, who represents the area in the House, and other local leaders have expressed concerns that the walls will end public access to the area. Vargas said Mayorkas promised him that the construction would be stopped. 

The construction started a few weeks ago and is expected to be completed in six months, the outlet reported. 

The Department of Homeland Security hired an outside law firm last month to help Mayorkas respond to a potential Republican-led impeachment inquiry. Mayorkas has vowed that he would not be pushed out of his position by his opponents. 

Republicans in the House have been somewhat divided about the path forward on Mayorkas, however, as some wanted to impeach Mayorkas immediately upon the GOP taking control of the House, while others wanted to take time to build a case against him. 

Two articles of impeachment have been introduced in the House against Mayorkas. 

Vargas is the first Democrat to publicly say they are open to considering an impeachment vote against Mayorkas.

Raskin mocks Jan. 6 conspiracies: ‘This is not an Agatha Christie novel, we know exactly whodunnit’

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, mocked conspiracy theories about who was responsible for the attack on the Capitol. 

“This is not an Agatha Christie novel, we know exactly whodunnit,” he told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle in an interview on Friday. 

Raskin referred to unfounded right-wing conspiracy theories that antifa was responsible for the attack, saying the proponents of such theories should “bring the evidence forward” if they have any, but the bipartisan committee found no evidence of antifa being involved. 

“It’s just impossible to think of any of this happening without Donald Trump being the central instigator of the whole thing,” he said. 

Raskin’s comments come after the committee released its final report on the attack on Thursday, concluding that Trump was the "central cause" of what happened that day. The committee made four criminal referrals for Trump to the Justice Department (DOJ), the first time a congressional committee has recommended criminal charges for a former president. 

The four charges the committee referred to the DOJ against Trump are obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make false statements and inciting or providing aid and comfort to those participating in an insurrection. 

The committee has also released dozens of transcripts from its interviews with key witnesses, including Trump campaign attorney John Eastman, former Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone. 

Raskin said the committee believes it has “comprehensive and overwhelming documentary proof” of all the charges it referred against Trump. 

“We were, if anything, very conservative and very cautious in the charges that we advanced,” he said. 

He said the committee hopes and trusts that the DOJ and special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the department’s investigation, will do their job to hold “kingpins” involved responsible. 

“There needs to be a serious reckoning of individual accountability for the people that set all of these events into motion,” Raskin said. 

He also noted that Trump was the one who got the Capitol rioters to protest on Jan. 6. He said the groups were originally going to protest on Jan. 21, one day after President Biden was inaugurated, but Trump pushed for the day that Congress was set to read the votes of the Electoral College. 

“He was the one that galvanized the extreme right in the country to focus on the peaceful transfer of power as the target of their wrath and violence,” Raskin said. 

He said he believes Republicans who voted to acquit Trump during his second impeachment trial over his involvement in the insurrection are having “quitter’s remorse” as Trump has been “exposed to the world as the person who orchestrated all of these events to try to topple our constitutional order.” 

“They’re very afraid that if they don’t nominate him, he will take 30 or 40 percent of the party with him,” Raskin said, referring to Trump’s candidacy for president in 2024. “And that could be the end of the GOP.”

House Democrats introduce legislation to bar Trump from office under 14th Amendment

A group of 40 House Democrats, led by Rep. David Cicilline (R.I.), introduced legislation on Thursday to bar former President Trump from holding future federal office under the 14th Amendment.

Section 3 of the amendment states that no one who previously took an oath to support the Constitution and engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” shall "hold any office, civil or military, under the United States."

Cicilline said in a release announcing the legislation that Trump “very clearly” engaged in an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, with the intention of overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

“You don’t get to lead a government you tried to destroy,” he said. 

The release states that the bill includes testimony and evidence demonstrating how Trump engaged in the insurrection. 

The bill also specifically describes how Trump helped encourage the violence on Jan. 6, tried to intimidate state and federal officials when they did not support his false claims of the election being stolen and refused to denounce the mob that stormed the Capitol for hours during the riot. 

“The 14th Amendment makes clear that based on his past behavior, Donald Trump is disqualified from ever holding federal office again and, under Section 5, Congress has the power to pass legislation to implement this prohibition,” Cicilline said. 

Cicilline, who served as an impeachment manager during Trump’s first impeachment, sent a letter to his Democratic colleagues last month to solicit co-sponsors for a bill to bar Trump from office. 

Trump was impeached on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” in the aftermath of Jan. 6, but he was acquitted by the Senate. This was the second time Trump was impeached, with the first coming in December 2019. 

Last month, Trump became the first major candidate to announce a run for the presidency in 2024. 

The 14th Amendment was ratified in the aftermath of the Civil War, when ex-Confederates and seceded states rejoined the Union.

GOP rep says there are 20 firm ‘no’ votes against McCarthy as Speaker

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said 20 members of the House Republican Conference are "pretty hard no” votes against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) becoming Speaker next session. 

Biggs said in an interview on the podcast "Conservative Review with Daniel Horowitz" that those who plan to not vote for McCarthy are not all from the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative group in the body. 

Biggs, a former chair of the Freedom Caucus, ran against McCarthy to be the GOP’s nominee for the Speakership earlier this month. McCarthy won the vote, 188-31, with five representatives voting for neither man. 

But McCarthy needs to win 218 votes on Jan. 3, the first day of the next session of Congress, to become Speaker, and Republicans are set to hold only a narrow majority, meaning he cannot afford to lose many votes. 

All Democrats will likely support their party’s nominee, which will likely be Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). McCarthy warned in an interview with Newsmax on Monday that Democrats could pick the next Speaker if Republicans “play games” on the House floor. 

At least five House Republicans, including Biggs, have publicly said or strongly indicated they will not vote for McCarthy on the floor. 

McCarthy has received criticism from hard-line conservatives over various issues like not pushing for a budget that cuts spending and not committing to pursuing impeachment against certain Biden administration officials like Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

McCarthy called on Mayorkas to resign in remarks last week, saying if he does not, House Republicans will determine if they can begin an impeachment inquiry. 

Biggs said the party leadership needs a change from the status quo. He said the issues with McCarthy have “galvanized” enough members to prevent him from winning the Speakership. 

“The sooner that they realize that, then the sooner that we can resolve who will be the Speaker,” he said.

Pelosi’s most memorable moments as Speaker

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) announcement Thursday that she will not seek a leadership position for the House Democratic Caucus next session will end her 20-year tenure as the top Democrat in the body. 

Pelosi has been elemental in many key moments since she took over as House Democrats’ leader in 2003 and as House Speaker in 2007, serving multiple terms as minority leader and Speaker. 

She helped orchestrate landmark legislative accomplishments during the Obama and Biden administrations while working to hold her party, composed of moderate and progressive wings, together. 

She was also a trailblazer in her own right, becoming the first woman to hold several different congressional leadership positions, including whip, minority leader and Speaker. 

Here are a few of Pelosi’s most memorable moments as Speaker: 

Becoming first female Speaker of the House 

Pelosi made history through several leadership positions she held in Congress. She was elected to her first leadership position in 2001 as House minority whip, the first woman to hold the role. She narrowly defeated Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for the job. 

Hoyer would eventually serve as House majority leader and work closely with Pelosi in Democratic leadership. 

Pelosi succeeded Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) as House minority leader in 2002 after Gephardt declined to run again to prepare for a run for the presidency in 2004. She also became the first woman in that role. 

Pelosi was an easy choice for Democrats as House Speaker after they won back a majority in the House in the 2006 midterm elections. She was chosen unanimously, becoming the first woman and the first Italian American to serve as Speaker in 2007. 

Almost exactly 16 years after the party chose her to become Speaker, she announced her decision not to run for another term in House leadership. 

Pelosi served as Speaker from 2007 to 2011 and took on the post again in 2019. She became the first person to serve nonconsecutive terms as House Speaker since Sam Rayburn (D-Texas) in the 1950s.

Calling on Bush to reject plan to escalate Iraq involvement 

Pelosi was an early opponent of the Iraq War, splitting from much of her own party in voting against the resolution that gave the Bush administration authorization to use military force in the country in 2002. 

She said in her statement announcing her decision on the vote that she was not convinced that all diplomatic remedies had been exhausted and had not seen evidence that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States. 

She continued her opposition to the war once she became Speaker in 2007. When the Bush administration announced its plan for a surge in the number of troops present in Iraq, she and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) condemned the plan. 

They said the increase would delay the ability of the Iraqi government to “take control of their own future” after the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and that adding more combat troops would not contribute to success. 

They called for a shifting in the U.S. mission from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counterterrorism efforts, which President Obama eventually oversaw after he became president in 2009. 

Still, Pelosi refused to cut off funding for the military operation in Iraq, saying that she would not end financial support while U.S. soldiers remained in harm’s way. She emphasized increased congressional oversight of how funds were being used, trying to strike a balance between more liberal and moderate members of the caucus. 

Passing the Affordable Care Act 

The Affordable Care Act was one of the most significant legislative achievements of President Obama’s administration and Pelosi was a central figure in the legislation getting passed. 

Numerous Democratic presidents going back to Franklin Roosevelt had proposed or advocated for some form of universal health care, but they either failed to get it passed or focused on other initiatives.  

Democrats made large gains in both houses of Congress, but they were one seat short of the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Obama wanted to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system, but his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, advised Obama to scale back his plans and try for a much smaller bill. 

Pelosi rejected the idea, calling the smaller-plan idea “kiddie care.” 

She became an architect of the final bill that ultimately passed, working to make the necessary changes to get the bill the support it needed. One change included the removal of federal funding for abortion, which Pelosi struggled with but deemed necessary to get Democrats who opposed abortion to support the bill. 

After various agreements were reached, Congress passed the act and Obama signed it into law. The president called Pelosi “one of the best Speakers” the House has ever had before he signed it. 

Announcing the first impeachment inquiry into President Trump 

Relations between Trump and congressional Democrats, in part led by Pelosi, reached their most contentious point at the time after the House voted to impeach him in December 2019. 

Controversy swelled after reports indicated Trump had a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July of that year in which he pressured Zelensky to launch an investigation into President Biden, then a candidate for the presidency in 2020, and his son, Hunter. 

Pelosi initiated a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump in September following a whistleblower’s complaint against Trump, leading to his impeachment. Pelosi oversaw the process, in which all but three Democrats voted to impeach him for abuse of power and all but four voted to impeach him for obstruction of Congress. 

All Republicans voted against the two articles, while former Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), who left the Republican Party and became an independent, voted for them. Trump became the third president to be impeached. 

“The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said in a statement after announcing the inquiry. 

Tearing up Trump’s State of the Union address 

Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address came at a tense moment, one day before the Senate was set to take its vote on the impeachment charges against him. 

Trump appeared to ignore Pelosi after she reached out for a handshake before he began his speech. This was the first time the two of them had been in the same room since Pelosi walked out of a meeting with him in the White House the previous October. Trump called her a “third-rate” politician after the meeting. 

Pelosi often shook her head as Trump made reference to policies like health care and Social Security, but she received the most attention for tearing up a copy of his speech in half at the conclusion of it. 

“It was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives,” Pelosi told reporters after. 

Trump did not mention impeachment during his address, instead emphasizing his administration’s policies. 

Pelosi reportedly later called the speech a “manifesto of mistruths.”

A video of Pelosi clapping at Trump during his 2019 State of the Union as he spoke about an end to "revenge politics" also went viral, giving Pelosi much attention online.

Responding to the chaos on Jan. 6 

The position of House Speaker is not constitutionally responsible for the certification of the Electoral College results — that duty falls to the vice president. But Pelosi was deeply involved in responding to the events of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, when rioters hoping to stop the certification stormed the Capitol. 

After the rioters entered the Capitol, Congress paused its session to certify the votes, and Pelosi and other congressional leaders were taken to Fort McNair for safety while law enforcement tried to take control of the situation. 

Video clips released by the House select committee investigating the attack showed Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) vigorously making urgent phone calls to multiple state and federal officials to send help. 

Pelosi, then-Vice President Mike Pence and other leaders also discussed the idea of continuing the certification process at Fort McNair. 

Pelosi repeatedly emphasized throughout the day that regardless of the rioters, the certification process must continue. 

“If they stop the proceedings, we will have totally failed,” she said. 

Announcing her plans to step down as speaker 

Speculation built up in the months leading up to the midterm elections this year as to whether Pelosi would continue to serve as Speaker, following through on her previous promise from 2018 to step down after four more years in the role. 

Pelosi largely stayed quiet about her plans and deflected questions before the election. She said the recent attack on her husband, Paul, would affect her plans but would not say how so. 

Following the party’s better-than-expected performance in the midterms, causing the GOP to likely only win a narrow majority in the body, some Democrats indicated that Pelosi was in a strong position to decide for herself what to do and that she could continue to lead the caucus if she wished. 

Pelosi ultimately announced during remarks on the House floor that she would not seek another term in leadership but would stay in her House seat representing her district, saying that “there is no greater official honor for me than to stand on this Floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco.” 

Pelosi has been one of the longest-tenured House Speakers in the body’s history and will likely take on a mentorship role for the next generation of Democratic leaders.

‘From homemaker to House Speaker’: Nancy Pelosi’s time in Congress

After almost two decades leading the House Democratic Caucus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that she will step down from her leadership role in the next congressional session. 

Pelosi became the leader of the caucus in 2003 and became the first female speaker of the House in 2007. She has had two separate stints as House speaker and minority leader but has consistently been a face of the Democratic Party for a generation. 

Pelosi has overseen the passage of many major pieces of legislation during her tenure and was often key to the legislative successes of the Obama and Biden administrations. She also made history on multiple occasions, becoming the first woman to serve in several of the positions she held. 

"When I first came to the Floor at six years old, never would I have thought that someday I would go from homemaker to House Speaker," she said during her remarks on Thursday.

Although she will no longer hold a leadership position, Pelosi will keep her seat in the House to guide the next generation of leaders. 

Here’s a timeline of Pelosi’s career in Congress, from her first election to her announcement Thursday: 


Nancy Pelosi, who served as chairwoman of the California Democratic Party from 1981 to 1983, wins a special election in June to fill the remainder of the term of Rep. Sala Burton (D), who died in office. 

She easily prevails in the heavily Democratic district, receiving more than 67 percent of the vote. She more narrowly defeated a San Francisco city supervisor in the primary in April. 

Pelosi was 47 years old at the time. 


Pelosi sponsors legislation in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing to allow Chinese students in the United States at the time to be able to seek permanent residency without returning home first. 

The House approved the bill unanimously, and the Senate approved it by voice vote, but then-President George H.W. Bush vetoed it, reasoning that he already planned to use his executive powers to give the students the protections the bill would offer. 

The Chinese government also had threatened to cut off future student exchanges if the bill became law. 

The House voted to override Bush’s veto, but the Senate fell a few votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority. 

Pelosi would be a strong advocate for human rights in China throughout her career. 


The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program goes into effect following advocacy from Pelosi. The program, which Congress approved as part of the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, to provide affordable housing for low-income people with HIV and AIDS. 

The legislation is one of Pelosi’s first legislative victories, and she becomes a proponent of providing protection and funding to help people living with the virus. 


A provision of legislation that becomes known as the Pelosi Amendment goes into effect. The amendment, which was approved in 1989, requires international financial institutions, including the World Bank, to allow the assessment of environmental impacts of proposed loans. 

It also instructs U.S. representatives on the boards of these institutions to vote against any loans not subject to this public scrutiny. 


Pelosi begins serving on the House Intelligence Committee, where she would serve for a decade, making her the longest-serving member in the committee’s history. She serves as the committee’s ranking member from 2000 to 2003 and continues to serve as an ex officio member after. 


President Clinton signs a bill into law to preserve the Presidio of San Francisco following a multi-year effort from Pelosi. The Presidio was a military post from 1776 until the Army closed it in 1994, transferring it to the jurisdiction of the National Park Service and putting its future in jeopardy. 

The legislation creates a public-private partnership to preserve the park and allow it to become financially self-sufficient. Pelosi initially sponsored the bill to provide funding for the park in 1994, and it passed the House but failed in the Senate. 

The effort to pass the bill was renewed in the next session of Congress, which was controlled by the GOP, and was successful. Pelosi helped secure more than $300 million in federal funding for the trust, which was set to be financially independent by 2013. 


Pelosi is elected as House minority whip, the highest rank a woman had ever reached in Congress at the time. She narrowly defeated Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), with whom she would work closely in Democratic leadership, to win the role, which she assumes early the next year. 


Pelosi splits with then-House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and much of her own party in voting against the resolution authorizing the Bush administration to take military action in Iraq. Pelosi said in a statement announcing her decision that she was not convinced that all diplomatic remedies had been exhausted. 

Serving as the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, she said she did not see any evidence or intelligence that Iraq posed an “imminent threat” to the U.S. She remains a strong opponent of the war as it continues. 


Pelosi is elected House minority leader, the first woman to hold the role, after Gephardt declines to run for leadership again ahead of his planned 2004 presidential run. She wins with an overwhelming number of caucus members supporting her bid. 


Pelosi successfully organizes almost unanimous Democratic opposition to block President George W. Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. Bush put forward reforming the program as his top domestic priority days after winning the 2004 presidential election. 

Bush mentioned the plan in his 2005 State of the Union address and said that he planned to use the political capital he gained from his reelection on this initiative, but Pelosi and Democrats rallied opposition from the American people to the plan. 

Polls showed widespread disapproval with Bush’s plan, and the president eventually pulled the idea. 


Pelosi is elected the first female speaker of the House after Democrats pick up more than 30 seats in the body to win a majority. Democrats unanimously chose her as their nominee almost exactly 16 years before her announcement Thursday that she would step down from party leadership. 

She also became the first Italian American to be elected speaker. 


President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, one of the most significant legislative accomplishments of his presidency, into law. Pelosi was essential in gathering enough votes for the legislation to pass, working for months to win over the necessary support from members of the liberal and more conservative Democrats. 

Obama said before signing the bill into law that Pelosi was “one of the best speakers” that the House has ever had. 


Pelosi becomes minority leader for a second time after Democrats lose control of the House. She fended off a challenge from a conservative Democrat to remain the leader of the caucus. 


Pelosi holds onto her position leading House Democrats despite some talks of replacing her after the party lost multiple House special elections in a row. She defended her record at a press conference and her abilities as a “master legislator” and “strategic, politically astute leader.” 


Pelosi becomes House speaker for a second time after Democrats regain the majority in the House following the 2018 midterms. Some Democrats expressed interest in Pelosi stepping aside and the party moving to a new generation of leaders, but she made a deal with them that she would not serve for more than four years as speaker. 


The House approves two articles of impeachment against President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress following an investigation into a phone call he made with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July of that year. 

Pelosi initiated the formal House inquiry into the matter, which concluded that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to try to pressure Zelensky into launching an investigation into President Biden, whom Trump saw as a top competitor for the 2020 election, and his son, Hunter. 

Trump was ultimately acquitted of the charges in the Senate. 


Pelosi tears up a copy of Trump’s State of the Union address after he finishes delivering it, gaining widespread attention. She told reporters after that it was “the courteous thing to do given the alternatives.” 

Trump appeared to ignore Pelosi’s offer for a handshake earlier. The speech came as the Senate was in the midst of Trump’s impeachment trial. 


Pelosi calls on Trump to resign in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, promising to begin impeachment proceedings if he did not do so or if he was not removed by the Cabinet under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. 

After Trump did not step down and his Cabinet did not remove him, the House impeached him for a second time, with all Democrats and 10 Republicans voting in favor. A majority of the Senate voted in favor of convicting him for the charge of inciting violence, but the body did not reach the required two-thirds majority needed for a conviction. 


Pelosi maintains her role as House speaker after Democrats lose seats in the body in the 2020 elections but keep a majority. She leads House Democrats in passing major legislative accomplishments from the Biden administration, including the American Rescue Plan, to fight against the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the bipartisan infrastructure investment package. 


Pelosi becomes the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan as Beijing steps up its threats toward the self-governing island. She previously visited in 1999 as a House member.

She maintained that the visit did not violate the One China policy, in which the U.S. only recognizes Beijing as the legitimate Chinese government but considers Taiwan's status to be unsettled.


Pelosi announces she will not run for another term in House Democratic leadership but will remain in Congress, representing her House district.

Klain: White House ready for possible GOP investigations

White House chief of staff Ron Klain said the Biden administration is ready for any potential investigations that Republicans launch if the GOP retakes the House majority.

Klain told CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash on Wednesday that Republicans faded at the end of the midterm election campaign cycle because they were talking more about “what they were going to do to the president’s family” than what they could do for people. 

Some Republicans have indicated that they plan to launch investigations into a variety of topics if they regain the majority, including the business dealings of President Biden’s son Hunter Biden and the situation on the southern border. 

Some far-right Republican candidates have said they support impeaching Biden or members of his administration over such issues. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has downplayed the prospect of launching impeachment proceedings. 

But with Republicans likely to win a narrower majority in the House than originally expected, far-right members of Congress who support impeachment could have more leverage over McCarthy, who would need their votes in his quest to become House Speaker.

Biden said at a press conference on Wednesday that the idea of Republicans launching their investigations and impeachment probes is “almost comedy.” 

“Look, I can’t control what they’re going to do. All I can do is continue to try to make life better for American people,” he said. 

Klain said people want to see Congress work to bring prices down, fight the COVID-19 pandemic and address economic challenges, not “political games.” 

He said Biden gave Democratic candidates accomplishments to run on, which is why Democratic incumbents largely succeeded in the midterm elections. He said they were able to run on job creation, infrastructure, semiconductor manufacturing and fighting COVID-19. 

Republicans had hoped to make strong gains in both chambers of Congress, but the GOP appears set to likely win a narrow majority in the House, while control of the Senate is uncertain.

Cruz picks up corporate partner for podcast

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is expanding his weekly podcast to three times per week after picking up iHeartRadio as a corporate partner. 

Michael Knowles, the co-host of “Verdict with Ted Cruz,” announced on an episode of the podcast that they received the offer to expand, which he said will take the show to a “huge national audience” on radio stations in addition to the podcast. 

“It will make this show sustainable, not just for the next few months going into the midterms but for the next years,” Knowles said. 

Cruz described iHeartRadio as a “monster” that has 850 stations across the country. He said they were not looking for the partnership, but iHeartRadio saw the podcast and said they want to take it to “the next level," promoting it on their radio stations and podcasts. 

Cruz began the podcast in January 2020 during former President Trump’s first impeachment trial as a forum for him to share his opinions on major political news. 

Knowles said on the show that he will not be able to continue to serve as co-host under the agreement due to his own arrangement working on a radio show for The Daily Wire. Ben Ferguson, a conservative podcaster who works for iHeartRadio, will take his place as co-host. 

IHeartRadio carries podcasts and talk shows for several other conservative hosts, including Glenn Beck and Fox News’s Sean Hannity. 

The podcast episode took place in the midst of a 17-day bus tour Cruz is conducting leading up to the midterm elections next month to campaign for candidates in a wide range of states.

McCarthy made fellow Republican cry in post-Jan. 6 meeting: book

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) engaged in an argument after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection in which he yelled at Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) about protecting Republicans from former President Trump, making her cry, The Washington Post reported

The Post reported that McCarthy and Herrera Beutler met in his office on Feb. 25 of last year, during which he said he was “taking all the heat” to protect people from Trump and that he alone was holding the Republican Party together. 

The report is based on an excerpt of a new book from Post reporter Karoun Demirjian and Politico reporter Rachel Bade, “Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump,” which is set to be released next week. 

“I have been working with Trump to keep him from going after Republicans like you and blowing up the party and destroying all our work!” McCarthy reportedly told Herrera Beutler. 

Herrera Beutler started crying and apologized for not notifying him in advance that she confirmed to media organizations that McCarthy called Trump on Jan. 6 to urge him to tell the rioters to leave the Capitol. 

McCarthy told her that she should have come to him and that “this is no way to thank me.” 

“What did you want me to do? Lie?” Herrera Beutler said. “I did what I thought was right.” 

McCarthy and Herrera Beutler denied the report in a joint statement to the Post, saying that they know it is wrong because they were the only two in the room for the conversation. 

“Beyond multiple inaccuracies — it is dramatized to fit an on-screen adaptation, not to serve as a document of record,” they said. 

Demirjian and Bade said in the book that their reporting was based on conversations with a person who was in the room during the argument and multiple lawmakers who said they heard an account of the argument from McCarthy. 

“McCarthy’s tirade against Herrera Beutler was just the start of what would become a GOP-wide campaign to whitewash the details of what happened on January 6 in the aftermath of the second impeachment,” they wrote. 

Trump staunchly opposed the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, backing primary challengers to those who ran for reelection. Most of those who voted to impeach, including Herrera Beutler, were either defeated in their primary or chose not to run for reelection.

McConnell came closer than first reported to voting to convict Trump: book

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came closer than previously reported to voting to convict former President Trump in the impeachment trial that followed the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, according to a new book set to be released next month. 

The Washington Post released an excerpt from “UNCHECKED: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump,” by the Post’s Karoun Demirjian and Politico’s Rachel Bade, that discusses how McConnell wrestled with whether to vote to convict Trump for inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

McConnell was pleased to see the wide range of Republicans who had turned against Trump following the riot and called on him to resign. But he was “stunned” by the speed at which the GOP turned back to support Trump, with only 10 House Republicans voting in favor of impeachment, the excerpt states. 

McConnell knew many Senate Republicans would look to him for guidance on how to vote on a motion from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) about whether the conviction of a president who was no longer in office was constitutionally permitted. 

The House voted to impeach Trump a week before the end of his term, but the Senate trial would not begin until after he left office. 

The authors based the information in the excerpt on interviews with people familiar with McConnell’s thinking and deliberations. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity to “speak candidly.” 

McConnell was drawn to voting to convict Trump, an outcome that would have potentially barred him from running for office again.

“We’ve all known that Trump is crazy,” he reportedly told aides following the insurrection. “I’m done with him. I will never speak to him again.” 

But McConnell did not know if he was up to leading a “rebellion” against Trump, according to the authors. 

He was not convinced by an argument from conservative attorney J. Michael Luttig that the Senate was constitutionally unable to hold a trial for a former president. But other members of the Senate Republican Conference thought differently.

McConnell discussed the argument with fellow GOP senators who were skeptical.

His legal adviser from Trump’s first impeachment trial, Andrew Ferguson, advised him that some constitutional scholars do not believe that the Constitution allows an impeached president to be barred from future office. However, these scholars are in the minority.

Ferguson told McConnell that Trump could use that view to run again in 2024 and sue states that keep him off the ballot, turning it into a legal battle that could lead to a political comeback. 

The authors reported that McConnell also feared turning Trump into a martyr if he was convicted.

The Senate Republican leader sent a letter to his fellow GOP senators the day after Luttig made his argument that he was open to voting to convict and firmly blamed Trump for causing the riot, according to the excerpt. 

McConnell ultimately voted to acquit the former president.