Pressure Builds on Johnson to Actually Do Something About Jack Smith

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WEST VIRGINIA - MARCH 13: U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johns
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Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has talked tough about defending Donald Trump from politically motivated “lawfare,” but pressure is growing from Trump’s allies, who are ready to see action.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who has emerged as Johnson’s most ardent critic on either side of the aisle, needled Johnson for his performative actions in defense of Trump while taking a pass on opportunities to use the power of his office to meaningfully support the former president.

Johnson traveled to New York Tuesday to appear with Trump and give a speech to reporters outside the Manhattan courtroom, where District Attorney Alvin Bragg seeks to imprison Trump for allegedly falsifying business records.

“I’m working with Chairman [Jim] Jordan of the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman [James] Comer of our Oversight Committee on measures to rein in the abuses of Special Counsel Jack Smith,” Johnson said. “The latest revelation is that they’ve manipulated documents, they might have tampered with the evidence in the case, it seems, and that doesn’t surprise any of us. In Congress we have oversight responsibility and it is our objective and our responsibility to hold them accountable.”

Greene sees Johnson’s words as empty.

“He controls the power of the purse for the federal government,” she said Wednesday of Johnson. “Rather than focusing on defunding Jack Smith and the weaponization of government, Mike Johnson flew to NYC to focus on a state-level case against President Trump he has no power over to pretend he cares.”

She continued, “I have legislation that would end Jack Smith’s witch hunt. Mike Johnson needs to wield the power of the Speaker’s gavel and pass it!”

Last month, Trump signaled his support for Congress using its constitutional power of the purse to defund Smith’s office. He signed a printout of a statement from Greene advocating for defunding Smith, writing “Great!” with his iconic black marker.

But Johnson, in an interview just hours after 163 Democrats voted to save his speakership, announced he would not use his power to defund Smith.

“That’s not something you wave a wand and just eliminate the special counsel as a provision,” Johnson told Politico, responding “no” when asked if he would write language eliminating Smith’s job into appropriations bills.

Greene has cited respected lawyers who disagree with Johnson’s legal assessments.

Greene and others conservatives consistently have attacked Johnson for caving to the Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and President Joe Biden. During his brief speakership, Johnson has delivered Biden three of his top priorities — possible lifelines for an unpopular president desperate for accomplishments to tout as he struggles in the polls against Trump.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who partnered with Greene to force a vote on a motion to vacate the chair earlier this month, has often described Johnson’s “three betrayals,” specifically Johnson funding Biden’s spending policies — at even higher spending levels than the omnibus bill last passed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Schumer – forcing through a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) extension without a requirement to require warrants before spying on Americans, and sending tens of billions of American taxpayer dollars in foreign aid despite securing no progress on border security.

Government funding and FISA reauthorization were considered “must pass” bills. Those pieces of legislation provide a rare opportunity in a divided government for one house of Congress to include provisions the other chamber would not consider through standalone legislation.

Yet Johnson ushered through Biden-approved government funding bills – which fully funded Biden’s Department of Justice – with more Democrat support than Republican. And he reversed his longstanding position on warrantless surveillance to pass a bill Biden and high-ranking officials in his administration personally lobbied for.

Wednesday the House passed another “must pass” bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Authority for five years. Johnson again surrendered any leverage to force consideration of Republican priorities, including defunding Smith’s office, letting Schumer take the lead on crafting the bill.

Johnson has stood up to Schumer at least once, although not to any consequence. In another performative exercise this week, Johnson staged a press conference urging Schumer to take up the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, a bill to force Biden to expedite delivery of aid to Israel.

Biden has promised to veto the legislation, and Schumer will not take up the bill, saying, “It’s not going anywhere.”

There are few opportunities remaining this year for Johnson to do anything meaningful to rein in Smith. Government funding and the farm bill must be addressed by the end of September. Yet Congress is likely to punt on each, extending current spending levels through a continuing resolution and, many Capitol Hill sources believe, extending farm programs for a year.

Meanwhile, House investigations into Biden’s business dealings are faltering, with Johnson directing his committee chairs to pivot towards combatting antisemitism.

Trump – whose very freedom could hinge on Johnson – remains a wildcard, although it seems he does not want to be seen as stoking inter-party warfare during an election year.

Moments after Democrats saved Johnson’s speakership, Trump weighed in, suggesting the time was not right for ousting Johnson — although the time may come.

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

Until that point, Greene and other Trump allies are expected to continue beating the drum and calling for a little less talk and a lot more action from Johnson.

“I could care less what words he speaks out of his mouth,” she said. “Where everyone is on Mike Johnson is it’s all about his actions, because he’s really good at talking – he’s great at talking.

“He’s not good at acting.”

Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.


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