Johnson Protects Jack Smith After Democrats Save His Speakership

In a recent turn of events on Capitol Hill, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has announced his decision not to utilize Congress’s power over the purse strings to put a stop to special counsel Jack Smith’s biased investigations into former President Donald Trump. This announcement comes swiftly after 163 House Democrats voted to preserve Johnson’s speakership.

Johnson, in one of his initial public statements following Democrats’ decision to protect him, made it clear that he would not pursue defunding measures against Smith’s office, which continues its inquiries into Trump. Speaking to Politico, Johnson emphasized the necessity of such functions, highlighting potential conflicts of interest within the Department of Justice when investigating or prosecuting the president or their family.

Responding to inquiries regarding potential inclusion of provisions to eliminate Smith’s role in appropriations bills, Johnson straightforwardly answered with a “no.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) expressed her dissatisfaction with Johnson’s stance, highlighting his refusal to halt what she termed a “witch hunt” against Trump.

“Mike Johnson when asked if he will stop the witch hunt that aims to throw President Trump in jail FOR LIFE!” she wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Greene, along with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), had been exerting pressure on Johnson to take a more confrontational approach against Democrats in crucial legislative matters, such as the ongoing Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) reauthorization.

In an unexpected move, Johnson scheduled a vote on a one-week FAA extension, surrendering leverage to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and effectively prolonging negotiations. Following this, House votes were canceled for the remainder of the week, affording members an extended weekend while Senate preparations continued.

Later, Greene and Massie forced a motion to vacate vote, shedding light on representatives’ positions. This revealed a small yet firm opposition within Johnson’s own party, potentially jeopardizing his speakership should Democrats withdraw their support.

Trump had earlier signaled support for defunding Smith’s office, endorsing Greene’s strategy in a statement.

Trump, following the Democrats’ decision to preserve Johnson’s speakership, indicated that while the time for ousting the House Speaker may come, it was not opportune presently.

“We’re not in a position of voting on a Motion to Vacate,” Trump remarked. “At some point, we may very well be, but this is not the time.”