The Washington Post:
Senate votes to advance Ukraine-Israel package after border deal fails
GOP senators have been deeply divided on how to proceed on the foreign aid package, with some critics arguing that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) led them into a political box canyon where Democrats have claimed the political edge on border security after they voted down the border deal they initially demanded. A vocal faction of McConnell critics have grown louder over the past week, with a handful even calling for his ouster, as Senate Republicans have gathered in meeting after meeting and argued about the uncomfortable political situation they find themselves in.
“The Republicans wanted something and then decided that they didn’t want that thing," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), referring to border security provisions. “Now, some of them want it again, and I think the adults are just moving on.”
But ultimately McConnell was joined by 17 fellow Republicans to advance the deal...
So what did all the drama over the border bill get the GOP? Bipartisan reprobation from their colleagues, international scorn, bad press, and in the end? The bill Democrats wanted.
Abandoned by his colleagues after negotiating a border compromise, GOP senator faces backlash alone
As the Republican quietly watched from a floor above, briefly the outsider after defending his legislation in a last Senate floor speech, fellow negotiator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona was down on the floor excoriating the Republicans who had abandoned Lankford, one by one, after insisting on a border deal and asking him to negotiate a compromise on one of the country’s most intractable issues.
“Less than 24 hours after we released the bill, my Republican colleagues changed their minds,” said Sinema, a former Democrat turned Independent. “Turns out they want all talk and no action. It turns out border security is not a risk to our national security. It’s just a talking point for the election.”
Lankford voted “no” on the Ukraine-Israel bill that advanced.
Poland’s prime minister:
A Grand Bargain Is Emerging in the Supreme Court’s Trump Cases, But Chaos May Be Ahead
After oral arguments at the Supreme Court in Trump v. Anderson, a grand bargain that appears to make practical sense as a compromise is beginning to come into view: The Supreme Court unanimously, or nearly so, holds that Colorado does not have the power to remove Donald Trump from the ballot, but in a separate case it rejects his immunity argument and makes Trump go on trial this spring or summer on federal election subversion charges. Depending upon how the court writes its opinion, however, it could leave the door open for chaos in January, if Donald Trump appears to win the 2024 election and a Democratic Congress rejects Electoral College votes for him on grounds he’s disqualified. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, however, may have seen this danger and found a way around it. If the court’s going to side with Trump in the disqualification case, it should embrace Justice Jackson’s rationale, even if it is not the most legally sound one.
I’ll take that bargain.
Kevin Lind/Columbia Journalism Review:
Q&A: Dahlia Lithwick on the Colorado case, the election, and the press
I don’t think this is the vehicle that the Supreme Court will use to decide the outcome of the 2024 election. My sense is that this is both an intensely political case about the branches checking each other, and there are legitimate claims that the underlying process in the Colorado courts didn’t afford due process to Trump. In other words, if you’re going to do something that is the death penalty for a presidential election, you can’t do it with this little process. My instinct is that there are five votes on the current Supreme Court, at least, who do not want to see Donald Trump as the president in 2024—if he legitimately hasn’t won—and I don’t think this is the vehicle that they would choose to do it. It is the biggest, most dramatic intervention, and it would have the biggest fallout.
The New York Times:
Johnson Stumbles, Deepening Republican Disarray and His Own Challenges
Little more than 100 days into his tenure, the speaker who was handed an impossible job has only made it more difficult for himself, baffling his colleagues.
The back-to-back defeats highlighted the litany of problems Mr. Johnson inherited the day he was elected speaker and his inexperience in the position, roughly 100 days after being catapulted from the rank and file to the top job in the House. Saddled with a razor-thin margin of control, and a deeply divided conference that has proved repeatedly to be a majority in name only, he has struggled to corral his unruly colleagues and made a series of decisions that only added to his own challenges.
Nancy Pelosi thought bubble: Count the votes, and then bring it to the floor for a vote—not the other way around.
The Washington Post:
GOP leaders face unrest amid chaotic, bungled votes
Former president Donald Trump has used his perch as the GOP front-runner to bend Congress to his political whims
Moments before pandemonium broke out on the House floor on Tuesday evening, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer approached Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who had assumed a leisurely slouch in a rickety wooden chair in the back of the House chamber, for what appeared to be a quick chat.
“Speaker Johnson never called me,” Buck said. “[Former speaker Kevin McCarthy] would have yelled — Mike knows me well enough not to yell. And [former speaker John A.] Boehner would have broken my arm. It’s gotten easier as I’ve been here.”
This goes along with President Joe Biden’s remarks at his brief press conference last evening about Israel going “over the top.”
David Bier/The UnPopulist:
Secretary Mayorkas Is Being Impeached for Following the Law on Border Enforcement
Republicans are the ones making unconstitutional demands
Mayorkas would have been the first government official to be impeached for actually staying within the bounds of the Constitution. In fact, it is the Republicans who are making unconstitutional demands.
In the impeachment articles they drafted, they alleged that Mayorkas failed to block immigrants entering not just illegally but also legally and detain them—in inhumane and unconstitutional conditions—rather than release them. Even more absurd than the allegations is the fact that in the process of making them, Republicans repeatedly misstated the law, quoted overturned court decisions, and, hilariously, confused DHS Secretary Mayorkas’ actions with those of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others.
All of this proves just how Orwellian our political discourse on immigration has become.
Let’s go through their allegations.
And just for fun, this piece from Walter Shapiro/Roll Call is from late January:
Will voters punish total incompetence? House Republicans are about to find out Evidence is scant that voters would punish blundering ineptitude
So what if Johnson is poised to reject the first serious effort in years to control the chaos on our southern border? So what if Johnson is willing to let aid to Ukraine go down the tubes as part of a package deal on immigration?
The House Republicans are living in a fairy tale world. Alas, the fairy tale is taken from the Grimm Brothers and the Republicans are emulating Rumpelstiltskin, stomping their feet through the ground when they don’t get their way.
Reality check: There is no coherent strategy for House Republicans to prevail, with their fragile three-vote majority, when the Democrats control the Senate and the White House. That may explain why they are banking on divine intervention in the form of a second Trump presidency.
Cliff Schecter with a musical-political interlude: