Biden’s ‘privilege’ claims sound like arguments Trump officials made before getting thrown in jail: attorney

President Biden's assertion of executive privilege to prevent recordings of his interviews with special counsel Robert Hur from being released shares some similarities with former President Trump's attempts to use privilege while in the White House, according to one legal expert.

Though transcripts of Biden's interview with Hur have already been released to a committee, the White House asserted executive privilege to block the audio recordings from becoming public while arguing in lockstep with Attorney General Merrick Garland that "law enforcement files like these need to be protected."

"The same arguments were made during the Trump years as are being made now. It's just that the roles are reversed," former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy told Fox News Digital

"For example, during the Mueller investigation, Trump made available Don McGahn, who was the White House counsel. They not only let Mueller interview McGahn at length, but McGahn took voluminous notes of his conversations with Trump, which they also turned over. And then Democrats wanted to subpoena McGahn to come to the House Judiciary Committee, and the Republicans fought it.

BIDEN'S PRIVILEGE CLAIM TO KEEP SPECIAL COUNSEL INTERVIEW UNDER WRAPS A 'CRUDE POLITICS' MOVE: EXPERTS

"What they said was giving information to an executive branch prosecutor doesn't waive the privilege as to Congress," he added. "The Democrats all said that this was an obstruction of justice, that it was outrageous, that he'd already waived the privilege by allowing McGhan to speak to the prosecutor."

Executive privilege has been around since the earliest days of the country and gives the executive branch the ability to withhold certain internal discussions and documents from scrutiny by the courts and the legislative branch. It allows the president some breathing room for his own deliberations with staff.

"The fact is that since the Republic started, presidents have been withholding information from Congress," McCarthy said.

Congress has a variety of tools it can use to pry information out of the executive branch, including by holding people in contempt. 

"Congress has a whole arsenal of stuff from the Constitution, powers that it can use to fight back and pry information out of the executive branch," McCarthy said. "You know, you can slash budgets or hold up appointments, and if it gets bad enough, you can start holding people in contempt. … The final option, obviously, is impeachment."

McCarthy warned, however, that if the president's party has enough influence in Congress, those efforts can be more challenging.

"If the president's party has enough sway in Congress that you can stop that arsenal from being used, then the whole thing is just a political calculation," he said. "Like for Biden here, it's how much worse would I be hurt by letting the tape come out or the recording come out than by stonewalling. It looks like the tape is so bad, he's decided that even though he's going to be damaged by stonewalling, that's better than letting the tape out."

McCarthy also highlighted how the media has reacted to Biden's assertion of executive privilege, saying they'll report on the matter in an attempt to preserve their integrity and then move on from it to "help Biden bury it."

"The usual problem that you always have here is that when Republican administrations stonewall, the media gets all whipped up about it, and when Democratic administrations stonewall, they feel like they have to cover it for a day or two so that they can say they covered it but then move on to another subject and help Biden bury it, or at least they'll try," he said.

Garland on Thursday defended Biden's decision to assert executive privilege, saying the subpoena for audio recordings "is one that would harm our ability in the future to successfully pursue sensitive investigations."

"There have been a series of unprecedented, frankly, unfounded attacks on the Justice Department. This request, this effort to use contempt as a method of obtaining our sensitive law enforcement files is just the most recent effort to threaten, defund our investigations, and the way in which there are contributions to an atmosphere that puts our agents and our prosecutors at risk," he added.

"It is the longstanding position of the executive branch held by administrations of both parties that an official who asserts the President’s claim of executive privilege cannot be prosecuted for criminal contempt of Congress," Associate Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote in a letter Thursday to GOP Reps. Jim Jordan and James Comer, chairmen of the Committee on the Judiciary and Committee on Oversight and Accountability, respectively.

That "longstanding position," however, was challenged following Trump's term in the White House and the Capitol protests Jan. 6, 2021. 

Two individuals who served in the Trump administration and raised executive privilege claims — former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former Trump adviser Peter Navarro – have been convicted of contempt of Congress and sentenced to serve jail time for their refusal to comply with subpoenas issued by the now-defunct House select committee investigating the Capitol protests.

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Bannon, 70, was sentenced to four months in prison in October 2022 and a $6,500 fine for ignoring a congressional subpoena.

Bannon's appeal was denied last week after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit released a 20-page opinion that said granting Bannon's appeal would "hamstring Congress’s investigatory authority."

Bannon claimed he acted on the advice of his legal team and did not intend to break the law. Judge Bradley Garcia wrote the acting on "advice of counsel" defense is "no defense at all."

The ruling will be appealed, Bannon's attorney, David Schoen, told Fox News Digital last week.

Schoen noted that Bannon's attorney at the time he received the subpoena, Robert Costello, advised his client that he was not permitted, as a matter of law, in any way to respond to the notice, saying executive privilege had been raised and that it was not his privilege to waive it. Costello wrote the committee to inform it that Bannon would comply if the panel worked out any privilege issues with former President Trump or if a court ordered him to comply, Schoen said.

Similarly, Navarro, who reported to prison in Miami in March following an order from the U.S. Supreme Court, was charged and convicted with contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a congressional subpoena demanding his testimony and documents relating to the events of Jan. 6.

Though Navarro is attempting to appeal his contempt of Congress conviction, the court refused to postpone his imprisonment until after the appeal is concluded.

Navarro claimed he could not cooperate with the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack because Trump had invoked executive privilege, an argument that lower courts have rejected.

The lower courts found that Navarro could not actually prove Trump had invoked executive privilege.

Biden's decision to assert the privilege, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, came at the request of Garland. Jean-Pierre said it was Garland's suggestion that "law enforcement files like these need to be protected."

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced a resolution to hold Garland in contempt of Congress over the Justice Department’s failure to produce the subpoenaed audio recording of Biden’s interview with Hur. The vote advances the measure for a full floor vote.

Hur led the investigation into Biden's handling of classified documents after his departure as vice president under the Obama administration. Hur announced in February that he would not recommend criminal charges against Biden for possessing classified materials after his vice presidency, saying Biden is "a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory."

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Hur wrote in the report that "it would be difficult" to convince a jury to convict Biden of any willful crime, citing his advanced age. 

The findings sparked widespread outrage that Biden was effectively deemed too cognitively impaired to be charged with a crime but could serve as president. Trump has meanwhile slammed the disparity in charges as a reflection of a "sick and corrupt, two-tiered system of justice in our country."

Fox News' Chris Pandolfo, Elizabeth Elkind, Louis Casiano and Emma Colton contributed to this report.

Inside Donald Trump and Speaker Johnson’s mutually beneficial relationship

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., was in New York for various events when he reached out to former President Trump to inform him he would be at the Manhattan courthouse, where Trump's criminal trial was taking place the very next morning.

Johnson made the decision himself and contacted Trump directly, a source close to the speaker told Fox News Digital. Multiple people said he rode with Trump in his motorcade on Tuesday morning.

"I came here… today on my own to support President Trump because I am one of hundreds of millions of people and one citizen who is deeply concerned about this, so I’m glad to be here," he told reporters afterward.

Johnson was the highest-ranking federal lawmaker to show up at Trump’s criminal proceedings so far – a public symbol of the staunch alliance the two have built since Johnson became speaker after a tumultuous series of events in October.

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Multiple people close to Trump and Johnson told Fox News Digital that they speak frequently, with one GOP lawmaker estimating they talk "at least weekly" but added "it depends on the issue."

The source close to Johnson told Fox News Digital that the speaker keeps Trump in the loop on the major moves being made in the House of Representatives.

Those same allies stressed that the relationship, a close one for an elected congressional leader and their party’s presumptive presidential nominee, is positive for both the House and the GOP as a whole.

"It helps both sides. It helps the House, but it also helps the party, because you're coming in from two different directions at the same general goal," Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., who previously served in Trump’s Cabinet, told Fox News Digital.

Zinke said Trump and Johnson have a very good working relationship, arguing their "uniquely different" personalities make for a good match.

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"I think they both understand that unity of effort is required, and it has to be a cordial relationship… I think there's a realization that if we hold the House, that would be an imperative for the America First agenda," Zinke said. "You have a 100% New Yorker with high elbows and a lot of bravado. And then you have a Louisiana son of a firefighter that is kind and low-key. So maybe it's a good match."

Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Pa., told Fox News Digital, "President Trump, behind the scenes and in public, speaks well of [Johnson]. I think, like a lot of people, he trusts him."

Meuser added, "[Trump] thinks he could probably improve in certain areas. As I’ve said, some of those bills, I just think we should have fought harder for. But I think they really have a special relationship."

Indeed, Trump has exercised his powerful influence to help Johnson out of legislative jams before – like expressing public support against GOP rebels’ threats to oust the speaker from leadership, and showing tacit support for Johnson’s plan on foreign aid.

Johnson, for his part, has vehemently defended Trump amid his criminal trials and even recently floated defunding Special Counsel Jack Smith. 

TRUMP REBUKES MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE'S FAILED ATTEMPT TO OUST SPEAKER: 'NOT THE TIME'

That support extends behind closed doors as well – Johnson touted Trump’s poll numbers in critical swing states during a members-only House GOP Conference meeting on Wednesday morning, multiple people said.

And while he was not the first House GOP leader to endorse Trump’s re-election, his decision to do so was swift and, like much of Johnson’s political calculus surrounding the ex-president, appears to have been a unilateral decision.

Ahead of his November CNBC interview when Johnson made news by endorsing Trump, the source close to him recalled it was suggested that the speaker wait until his political team could put together a formal rollout. 

But Johnson argued that it made no sense to wait because he already supported the ex-president’s re-election, the source said, and then caught staff off guard when he told "Squawk Box," "I'm all in for President Trump."

Multiple lawmakers categorized Trump and Johnson's relationship as a productive but working one – the GOP lawmaker who spoke with Fox News Digital said they started out at "nearly zero" – but the source pushed back, citing a recent interview in The Atlantic where Johnson said Trump called him the day after Johnson had to abruptly leave a meeting because his sons had almost drowned.

JOHNSON WARNED AGAINST MAKING 'SIDE DEALS' WITH GOP REBELS: DON'T 'GREASE A SQUEAKY WHEEL'

"President Trump heard about it somehow – miraculously, this never made the news," Johnson had said. "He was just so moved by the idea that we almost lost them… and we talked about the faith aspect of that, because he knows that I believe that, you know – that God spared the lives of my sons. That’s how I understand those events, and we talked about that."

Trump also had a good relationship with Johnson when the latter was part of Trump’s impeachment defense team in 2020, the source said.

Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, another staunch Trump ally, told Fox News Digital, "I think it's a healthy relationship. I think they both respect each other. And they don't always agree, but who does? But you know, I think that they’ve got a relationship where they can get together in person or get on the phone and talk about stuff and come up with a common plan, a common strategy."

Rep. Andy Barr, of Kentucky, another Republican close to both, said their relationship was "very beneficial" to both sides.

"A lot of credit [goes] to both gentlemen for recognizing that they need each other. We need to collaborate and not just politically, but we want to have an effective first 100 days. We want to grow our majority, take back the White House and flip the Senate, and we want to be ready day one," Barr said.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

GOP turns up heat on House Dems with high-pressure Israel vote Thursday

The House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill to stop President Biden from blocking offensive weapons aid to Israel on Thursday.

Biden has faced bipartisan backlash for withholding a bomb shipment from Israel over fears it could be used in Rafah, as well as for warning Israel that the U.S. would not send offensive weapons if they were used on population centers in the southern Gaza Strip. 

The Israel Security Assistance Support Act would condemn the president’s posture on Israel’s Gaza invasion while compelling the Biden administration to expeditiously send any weapons shipments already approved by Congress.

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It would also withhold funding from the secretary of defense, secretary of state and the National Security Council if there was any delay in weapons aid. 

Democrat leaders in the House and White House are actively opposing the bill, but it’s expected to have at least a few supporters on the left.

One House Democrat aide told Fox News Digital they anticipate roughly 10 left-wing lawmakers to join Republicans in supporting the bill.

 BLINKEN DELIVERS STRONGEST REBUKE OF ISRAEL YET: ‘GET OUT OF GAZA’

A second House Democrat aide put the number at under 20, noting that the White House was "pushing hard" against the bill.

At least two Democrat lawmakers – Reps. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., and Greg Landsman, D-Ohio – have told Axios that they are voting for the bill.

The issue of Israel has proven to be a potent political cudgel for the GOP as Democrats wrestle with a growing chorus of voices who are increasingly critical of the U.S.’s traditionally unconditional support for Israel.

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House Minority Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass., said Wednesday morning, "We know this is a political sham bill. And really, when you look at this bill, they are looking to [the Pentagon], State Department, the NSC, in this time of global conflict. It's shameful."

The White House called the bill a "misguided reaction to a deliberate distortion of the administration’s approach to Israel" in its veto threat.

The vote comes days after Biden announced he was moving forward with a $1 billion weapons shipment to Israel, according to reports.

GOP rep files impeachment articles using Dem precedent set during Trump administration

FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla., formally filed articles of impeachment against President Biden on Friday over his recent comments about withholding offensive weapons aid to Israel, drawing parallels to House Democrats' first impeachment of former President Trump.

The first-term House Republican told Fox News Digital it was his "constitutional duty" to do so.

His legislative text, first obtained by Fox News Digital, accuses Biden of "abuse of power" and charges that he tried to force Israel into changing its own defense policies by leveraging lethal aid.

"In violation of his oath to faithfully execute the office of President and to uphold the Constitution, President Biden abused the powers of his office by soliciting a 'quid pro quo' with Israel while leveraging vital military aid for policy changes. This egregious action not only compromised the credibility of the United States but also undermined the interests of our longstanding ally, Israel. Therefore, President Biden's conduct warrants impeachment, trial, removal from office, and disqualification from holding any future office under the United States," Mills said in a statement.

ANTI-ISRAEL OCCUPIERS COULD LOSE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS UNDER NEW GOP SENATE BILL

Fox News Digital was first to report Mills' intent to file the impeachment articles on Thursday. He and other GOP lawmakers have drawn comparisons between Biden's comments on Israel and Trump's leveraging of lethal aid to Ukraine unless Kyiv announced an investigation into the Bidens.

"Joe Biden is pressuring Israel, our biggest ally in the Middle East, by pausing their funding that has already been approved in the House, if they don't stop all operations with Hamas. It’s a very clear message, ‘this for that,'" Mills said Thursday. "These are the same accusations made against President Trump, which resulted in his impeachment by Democrats. The same must happen for Joe Biden, which is why we’re drawing up articles of impeachment now."

Biden made the high-stakes ultimatum to Israel's government in a CNN interview that aired Wednesday night as it prepares for a ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The city is currently home to more than a million Palestinians who left other parts of the Gaza Strip, where Israel has conducted its mission to eradicate the terrorist group Hamas.

Biden said Israel would continue to see U.S. support for its defensive systems, like the Iron Dome, in the CNN interview. He added, however, that "if they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities, that deal with that problem."

'NO CHOICE' BUT TO IMPEACH BIDEN OVER DELAYED ISRAEL AID, GOP SENATOR SAYS

Mills' legislative text argues that in making those comments, Biden "used the powers of the presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and its ally Israel."

It's highly unlikely for the push to reach the level of a Senate trial, with the House's current ongoing impeachment inquiry into Biden still searching for smoking gun evidence amid accusations of improper behavior and bribery, all of which the White House has denied.

But it shows the sky-high tensions that have taken over Washington amid Israel's war on Hamas after the terrorist group's Oct. 7 attack.

A White House official told Fox News Digital that Mills' push was "ridiculous" on Thursday.

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"Senior administration officials had already made multiple public statements about Rafah similar to the President’s, including that we are also ensuring Israel gets every dollar appropriated in the supplemental. Trump failed to spend dollars appropriated by Congress that he was legally required to spend. This is about a purchase made by a foreign government and our decision whether to deliver that purchase right now, which could enable an operation we’ve publicly and privately objected to," the official said.

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Meanwhile, White House national security communications adviser John Kirby told reporters on Thursday, "As the President said, Israel has not yet launched such an operation, so he was talking about what would happen in the future if they did.  That is a choice Israel will have to make.  We hope they don't. We will keep working with them to develop alternative approaches that we think have a better chance of strategic success and a better chance of eliminating the threat that Israeli people still face from Hamas."

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House for further comment on Friday.

House GOP drafting Biden impeachment articles over Israel aid cutoff threat

FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla., is preparing impeachment articles against President Biden over his threat to halt U.S. offensive aid to Israel, the first-term lawmaker told Fox News Digital on Thursday.

Mills accused Biden of forcing Israel into a "quid pro quo" situation by leveraging U.S. dollars against the Israeli government's actions in Gaza, drawing parallels to Democrats' first impeachment of former President Trump over his handling of Ukraine aid.

"The House has no choice but to impeach President ‘Quid pro Joe’ Biden. As Vice President, Biden was caught threatening to withhold funding and aid to Ukraine unless they fired the attorney general investigating Burisma, a company financially benefiting his son Hunter, not to mention the 10% share for 'the big guy' himself," Mills said in a statement.

"Now, Joe Biden is pressuring Israel, our biggest ally in the Middle East, by pausing their funding that has already been approved in the House, if they don't stop all operations with Hamas. It’s a very clear message, ‘this for that.’

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"These are the same accusations made against President Trump, which resulted in his impeachment by Democrats. The same must happen for Joe Biden, which is why we’re drawing up articles of impeachment now," Mills finished.

Biden made the high-stakes ultimatum to Israel's government in a CNN interview that aired Wednesday night as it prepares for a ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The city is currently home to more than a million Palestinians who left other parts of the Gaza Strip, where Israel has conducted its mission to eradicate the terrorist group Hamas.

Biden said Israel would continue to see U.S. support for its defensive systems, like the Iron Dome, in the CNN interview. He added, however, "if they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities, that deal with that problem."

BIDEN'S DECISION TO PULL ISRAEL WEAPONS SHIPMENT KEPT QUIET UNTIL AFTER HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE ADDRESS: REPORT

The remarks prompted a flurry of backlash from Republicans and some moderate Democrats. Several more GOP lawmakers voiced support for impeaching Biden over the decision, arguing there are parallels to Trump's withholding of weapons aid to Ukraine in exchange for announcing an investigation into the Biden family.

Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., called on the House to open an immediate impeachment inquiry, arguing that Biden was motivated by political reasons.

"Given Democrats’ Trump-Ukraine precedent, President Biden’s decision to withhold lethal aid to our ally, Israel, for political gain is undoubtedly an impeachable offense. Clearly, the nefarious motive behind our commander in chief’s move to condition U.S. aid to Israel is to appease radical leftists and Hamas sympathizers ahead of the 2024 election," Clyde said. "The House must immediately open an impeachment inquiry due to the president’s disastrous decision to play politics with national security."

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., told Fox News Digital, "The Democrats made their bed, and now they're [lying] in it. This is just the latest on a long list of reasons to impeach Biden, including the deadline withdrawal in Afghanistan and allowing more than 9 million illegal immigrants to invade our southern border."

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It's highly unlikely for the push to reach the level of a Senate trial, with the House's current ongoing impeachment inquiry into Biden still searching for smoking gun evidence amid a mountain of accusations of improper behavior and bribery. 

But it shows the sky-high tensions that have taken over Washington amid Israel's war on Hamas after the terrorist group's Oct. 7 attack.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., stopped short of calling for impeachment, but said, "The president is essentially threatening an arms embargo on our closest ally in the Middle East that is fighting a terror army holding American citizens hostage. Withholding critical munitions that Congress appropriated and Biden himself signed into law is wrong."

The first member of Congress to make the call was Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., posting on X early on Thursday morning, "The House has no choice but to impeach Biden based on the Trump-Ukraine precedent of withholding foreign aid to help with reelection. Only with Biden, it’s true."

Fox News Digital has reached out to the White House for comment.

‘No choice’ but to impeach Biden over delayed Israel aid, GOP senator says

A Republican senator is renewing the call to impeach President Biden following reports of aid to Israel being delayed during its war with the terrorist organization Hamas. 

"The House has no choice but to impeach Biden based on the Trump-Ukraine precedent of withholding foreign aid to help with reelection. Only with Biden, it’s true," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., wrote on X on Thursday. 

A recently passed $95 billion supplemental foreign aid package included roughly $26 billion for both Israel and humanitarian aid for areas including Gaza. The aid was encouraged by the Biden administration, which had proposed it nearly six months prior. 

Cotton suggested that Biden should be impeached for delaying an aid shipment to Israel, which he claimed had to do with the president's re-election bid as he balances a divided Democratic Party on the Israel war. 

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The White House Counsel's office did not immediately provide comment to Fox News Digital. 

Earlier this week, Israeli officials claimed the U.S. had paused a shipment of ammunition from the U.S., as Axios reported. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre maintained that the U.S.'s commitment to Israel is "ironclad," despite the report. 

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The report was ultimately confirmed by a U.S. official, who said the administration paused shipments of two types of precision bombs to Israel. One shipment would provide 2,000-pound bombs, with 1,800 to be delivered. The second held 500-pound bombs, with 1,700 to be delivered. 

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"The U.S. position has been that Israel should not launch a major ground operation in Rafah, where more than a million people are sheltering with nowhere else to go," a U.S. official said. 

"We are especially focused on the end-use of the 2,000-lb bombs and the impact they could have in dense urban settings as we have seen in other parts of Gaza. We have not made a final determination on how to proceed with this shipment," they added. 

Per the official, "None of these shipments have anything to do with the Israel supplemental appropriations passed last month. All are drawn from previously appropriated funds, some many years ago."

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Biden drew a red line for ally Israel. "I made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they haven’t gone in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem," he said. 

The White House did not immediately confirm the delayed shipment when prompted by Fox News Digital. 

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The Democratic-led House's impeachment of then-President Trump in 2019 indicted him on a charge of abuse of power, arguing he withheld aid to Ukraine while asking the country's leader to investigate his political rivals, including Biden. The Senate acquitted Trump on the House's charges. 

Cotton argued the same precedent should apply to Biden.

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Trump's campaign did not immediately provide comment to Fox News Digital. 

Republicans in the House have appeared eager to impeach the president, heavily investigating Biden's family's business ties, particularly his son Hunter Biden. 

House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., did not immediately provide comment to Fox News Digital. 

Fox News' Liz Friden and Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report. 

Shelter dogs would provide therapy for distressed border agents under new bipartisan push

Stray dogs living in shelters could be given a shot at a new life providing comfort to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers under a new bipartisan proposal.

Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, introduced a bill this week to establish a pilot program allowing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to adopt the animals from local shelters and train them to be therapy dogs for Border Patrol personnel. 

It would build on the existing Canine Support Program established by CBP early last year in the face of mounting concerns about agents' mental health as they deal with the ongoing border crisis.

"These men and women work long hours year-round and face enormous challenges head-on," Gonzales said in a press release. "By improving access to canine therapy support, this legislation will give our law enforcement one more tool to improve mental health outcomes at CBP."

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Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., one of the bill's original co-sponsors, said the existing program "has shown promise to increase staff morale and allow them to better deliver on their promise to keep our homeland safe."

"This is a strong step in the right direction – not just for those serving, but the communities they serve, too," he said.

In addition to aiding border agents, the proposal could also potentially have a positive effect on the country's animal shelters, which have struggled with overcrowding in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a growing number of Americans struggle to make ends meet for themselves, let alone their pets.

"By facilitating the adoption of therapy dogs from local shelters, we're not only providing essential emotional support for our CBP workforce but also offering a loving home to shelter dogs," said Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., another of the bill's co-sponsors.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE BORDER SECURITY CRISIS

Concerns about the mental health of Border Patrol officers reached the national stage amid an alarming spike in the number of suicides the department has seen in recent years.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, another of the bill's co-sponsors, spoke with Fox News Digital about the issue during a congressional delegation trip to the McAllen, Texas, sector of the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year.

"Every time I come down here, it gets worse; the lack of detention space, the human tragedy you see here; what the Border Patrol has to deal with every day, day in and day out, looking at these migrants that are pouring in; this sense of hopelessness, that it won't stop," the Texas Republican said in January.

"Profoundly, I worry about the mental health of our Border Patrol. The suicide rate is going up. They don't have the proper resources."

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Seventeen CBP agents died by suicide in 2022 alone, Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, told Congress in March 2023. That’s the highest number since CBP began tracking it in 2007. There were 19,357 CPB agents on the job in 2022.

Since then, the number of illegal border crossings has continued to climb to new highs, while CBP agents are struggling with replenishing a dwindling workforce. 

Johnson faces uphill climb to win back GOP rebels before November; here’s what they want

Conservative critics of Speaker Mike Johnson’s leadership are warning that he has an uphill climb to winning back their support in time for House Republicans’ leadership elections at the end of this year.

"He's gonna have a tough time based on past history, because I would submit he's failed on just about everything other than initiating [the Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas] impeachment effort," House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, R-Va., told Fox News Digital.

Johnson was elected speaker in October in a strongly unanimous House GOP vote, with Republicans hungry for unity after three weeks of turmoil following ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ouster.

The Louisiana Republican now finds himself in a similar situation to his predecessor, with a small but vocal group of lawmakers on his right flank calling for his immediate removal, through a process known as motion to vacate, for working along bipartisan lines on critical legislation. The push is being made by Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.; Thomas Massie, R-Ky.; and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.

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The vast majority of House Republicans have refused to take up that fight again, but Republicans angry over what they see as Johnson’s failure to deliver on conservative priorities like border security and cutting federal spending signal he has miles of ground to recover before they back him a second time.

"Whoever wants to be in any leadership position for the Republican House of Representatives should we be blessed to be given the majority again, which is going to take a c--- ton of hard work between now and November, is going to have to demonstrate not only the policy direction they want to, but the track record and willingness to stand up and fight for it. And, so far, we have not delivered what we need to deliver," said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas.

'DEFINITION OF INSANITY': FRUSTRATED HOUSE REPUBLICANS BLAST GOP REBELS' THREAT TO OUST JOHNSON

Good was one of eight House Republicans who voted with Democrats to oust McCarthy last year. He distanced himself from calls to immediately remove Johnson last week, citing the much slimmer House majority Johnson is operating with. But Good suggested he wanted to see new leadership races in November after the election.

He told Fox News Digital Monday his support for Johnson would hinge on his handling of fiscal year 2025 appropriations, the deadline for which is Sept. 30.

"He could truly fight for Republican policy initiatives. He could truly fight to cut our spending. He could fight to ensure that we do not fund the government unless it reflects Republican priorities," Good said. "He has sort of one more big crack at the bat. I hope he'll take that opportunity."

Johnson and Congressional appropriators are headed into that fight with their hands relatively tied by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the deal to raise the debt limit struck by McCarthy and President Biden last year, which also set certain terms on shaping fiscal year 2025 funding priorities.

A spokesperson for Johnson told Fox News Digital, "Speaker Johnson is committed to governing – not his political ambitions. He will continue to advance conservative priorities and demonstrate how we’ll grow our majority in November."

Party leadership races are normally held behind closed doors in the weeks after an election. If Republicans keep the House, Johnson would traditionally only need a majority vote there to then prevail as speaker on the House floor, with fellow Republicans expected to get in line even if they didn’t support him initially.

But the 15 rounds McCarthy went through last year, repeatedly blocked by GOP dissent, show that Johnson may need to guarantee unanimous support behind closed doors even if he manages to keep Republicans in power.

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"Moving forward, I would ask Mike Johnson if being speaker is something he wants to continue. If he is, I would have an all inclusive list of issues where he would agree/not agree to actually make happen as speaker BEFORE I would commit," Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., said via text message.

Norman and Good were two of the original McCarthy holdouts

"Based on his past performance, I doubt he would agree to take the hard negotiation stance that I would need to see. However, due to my respect that I have for Mike as a person, I would start with the questions as listed," Norman said.

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., who voted to oust McCarthy in October, said he was "open to discussion" about supporting Johnson, but he needed to see "a clear plan for fiscal responsibility" and border security.

Roy, however, was less optimistic House Republicans would see wins in the end-of-year spending fight. 

"There will not be, in my opinion, under this leadership, and in this environment, at this time, the ability to move or ration bills before Election Day that are going to drive the policy that needs to be driven," the Texas Republican said.

Johnson's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Congress won’t pass border security legislation this year, Johnson’s office suggests

The House GOP’s push to pass border security reform in the 118th Congress could end up an unrealized dream.

A spokesperson for Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., pointed out to Fox News Digital that House Republicans have passed multiple border security and immigration enforcement bills – none of which have been taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The Johnson spokesperson indicated that with Republicans and Democrats still far apart on the issue, House GOP leaders are relying on former President Trump to take back the White House next year for any meaningful border policy changes to take place.

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"House Republicans have passed multiple border security bills – including our signature Secure the Border Act, Laken Riley Act, and Consequences for Social Security Fraud Act – which have been ignored by the Democrat Senate and proves their unseriousness when it comes to dealing with the border catastrophe," Johnson’s office said. "Democrats have only proposed measures for political cover that won’t fix the problem, and Republicans are not going to let the White House accept anything less than transformative change."

"House Republicans understand that the only way to truly solve the problem is to elect President Trump in November."

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Fox News Digital had reached out to Johnson’s office two days after the speaker convened a rare Saturday session to pass his $95 billion foreign aid proposal. 

While the wide bipartisan margin demonstrated a victory for Johnson in his still relatively new leadership role, GOP rebels who have been increasingly critical of Johnson for crossing the aisle on key legislation were furious that he passed roughly $61 billion in Ukraine aid without trying to force through border security measures.

"The only path forward for substantive border legislation was to leverage the Biden regime's push for more Ukraine aid," Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., wrote on X last week.

Johnson has also maintained for months that President Biden himself has the unilateral ability to stop the border crisis through executive action – something the White House has pushed back on, arguing a permanent fix has to come from Congress.

The statement from Johnson's office Tuesday came after Fox News Digital asked if he had spoken with Biden recently about the possibility of executive action on the border, or whether House Republicans could be looking at using the next big legislative fight – fiscal year 2025 government funding – as an area to jam the Senate on border security.

An earlier attempt to pass foreign aid alongside a bipartisan border security deal failed when Republicans in both the Senate and House argued the border measures included would have only codified the Biden administration’s existing bad policies.

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Democrats, however, refused Republicans’ urging to take up their Secure the Border Act, calling its Trump administration-era immigration provisions a non-starter.

Meanwhile, a House GOP aide familiar with the House Homeland Security Committee’s work said the panel was conducting multiple investigations into the Biden administration’s handling of the border, but would not discuss any pending legislation that House GOP leaders could have potentially held up as a new push for reform.

The House GOP aide said Republicans were committed "to respond[ing] to this crisis and [making] sure people know [they] take this issue very seriously."

Senate won’t pass border security legislation this year, Johnson’s office suggests

The House GOP’s push to pass border security reform through the divided 118th Congress could end up an unrealized dream.

A spokesperson for Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., pointed out to Fox News Digital that House Republicans have passed multiple border security and immigration enforcement bills – none of which have been taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The Johnson spokesperson indicated that with Republicans and Democrats still far apart on the issue, House GOP leaders are relying on former President Trump to take back the White House next year for any meaningful border policy changes to take place.

GOP PREPS ATTACKS ON VULNERABLE DEM SENATORS OVER MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL DISMISSAL

"House Republicans have passed multiple border security bills – including our signature Secure the Border Act, Laken Riley Act, and Consequences for Social Security Fraud Act – which have been ignored by the Democrat Senate and proves their unseriousness when it comes to dealing with the border catastrophe," Johnson’s office said. "Democrats have only proposed measures for political cover that won’t fix the problem, and Republicans are not going to let the White House accept anything less than transformative change."

"House Republicans understand that the only way to truly solve the problem is to elect President Trump in November."

REPUBLICANS PREDICT DEMS TO PAY 'HEAVY PRICE' IN ELECTION AFTER MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT BID FAILS

Fox News Digital had reached out to Johnson’s office two days after the speaker convened a rare Saturday session to pass his $95 billion foreign aid proposal. 

While the wide bipartisan margin demonstrated a victory for Johnson in his still relatively new leadership role, GOP rebels who have been increasingly critical of Johnson for crossing the aisle on key legislation were furious that he passed roughly $61 billion in Ukraine aid without trying to force through border security measures.

"The only path forward for substantive border legislation was to leverage the Biden regime's push for more Ukraine aid," Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., wrote on X last week.

Johnson has also maintained for months that President Biden himself has the unilateral ability to stop the border crisis through executive action – something the White House has pushed back on, arguing a permanent fix has to come from Congress.

The statement from Johnson's office Tuesday came after Fox News Digital asked if he had spoken with Biden recently about the possibility of executive action on the border, or whether House Republicans could be looking at using the next big legislative fight – fiscal year 2025 government funding – as an area to jam the Senate on border security.

An earlier attempt to pass foreign aid alongside a bipartisan border security deal failed when Republicans in both the Senate and House argued the border measures included would have only codified the Biden administration’s existing bad policies.

‘CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY’ OF SENATE DEMS QUASHING MAYORKAS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL QUESTIONED BY EXPERTS

Democrats, however, refused Republicans’ urging to take up their Secure the Border Act, calling its Trump administration-era immigration provisions a non-starter.

Meanwhile, a House GOP aide familiar with the House Homeland Security Committee’s work said the panel was conducting multiple investigations into the Biden administration’s handling of the border, but would not discuss any pending legislation that House GOP leaders could have potentially held up as a new push for reform.

The House GOP aide said Republicans were committed "to respond[ing] to this crisis and [making] sure people know [they] take this issue very seriously."

Fox News Digital reached out to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's office for comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article’s headline has been updated to more clearly reflect that Johnson’s office was referring to the Senate.