Apr 18, 2024

Mike Johnson on Dismissal of Impeachment Against Mayorkas

Mike Johnson Speaking to media
RevBlogTranscriptsDHS Secretary Alejandro MayorkasMike Johnson on Dismissal of Impeachment Against Mayorkas

House Speaker Mike Johnson talks to media as Senate dismisses impeachment against Mayorkas. Read the transcript here.


Mike Johnson (00:00):

He’s probably the least effective and I think most dangerous in terms of his policy implementations of any cabinet secretary in the history of the United States. And if there’s ever been a cabinet secretary that deserved to be impeached, he is that. And the idea that the Senate and under Chuck Schumer’s leadership voted on party lines to not even allow the American people to evaluate the evidence is shameful. I think it’s a violation of their constitutional responsibility. And I think there’ll be a reckoning for all this in the election cycle in the fall. I really do.

The American people know and all the polling confirms what we know that the American people understand the open border is by design. It was designed by this administration. They did this intentionally. These are policy choices. It began on the first day that Joe Biden took office, and we documented in the House 64 specific executive actions, from executive orders that he took to actions that Secretary Mayorkas implemented that opened that border wide. And that is what’s led to this catastrophe and that is why we’re in such dire straits.

We have, by our estimates, probably 16 million illegals that have come across that border since Joe Biden took office. 16 million people. The official number is a little over nine million encounters at the border. We know that that includes at least 340 suspects on the terrorism watch list that were encountered at the border. But the dangerous thing, the scary thing to a lot of American people is we don’t know how many terrorists came in totally undetected. We know we’ve got over two million, probably close to three million got-aways that have been documented, but we don’t know who’s come in over those open completely unpatrolled sectors of the border.

On January 3rd, we took 64 House Republicans down to the border and it was the largest congressional trip ever. And what we saw at Eagle Pass, the Del Rio sector, which was ground zero at the time, was just maddening. It was infuriating, it was heartbreaking all at the same time because of the humanitarian catastrophe that has been created there.

And they estimated down there and they told us the Border Patrol agents and the officials who were in charge said, by their estimation, 60% to 70% of the people that cross that border at the Del Rio sector are single adult males between the ages of 18 and 45 of military capability. We have no idea what they’re planning, but we assume that their terrorism cells set up around the country, maybe in a community nearby. And every American is concerned about this and every state is a border state.

And here’s the important point. The American people by the polling confirmed also know that Joe Biden has the executive authority right now and he has since day one to solve that catastrophe to end it, because it’s policy choices that got us into that and it’s policy choices that can get us out. He could use Section 212-F of the Immigration Nationality Act, issue an executive order and close the border. He has unilateral authority. The President can determine if it’s in the country’s best interest to do that. He can shut it down and he won’t.

I’ve asked him myself repeatedly, I’ve shown him the law, I’ve read him the provision of the law and he won’t use it. He’s got an array, he’s got a menu of options. I sent him that in paperwork as well. “Mr. President, here’s eight or nine things you can do right now to solve this problem.” He won’t do it. I can’t answer for that. He’ll have to, I think he’ll answer to the American people in November and I think that’s one of the big reasons that the Republicans are going to have a very, very good election cycle. I believe we’re going to grow the House majority, I believe we’re going to win the White House and the Senate as well.

The other big thing going on, of course is the supplemental. And so what we’ve done here in the House is we’ve taken the House supplemental, or the Senate supplemental and we’ve made it into our own. It’s an improvement in the process, an improvement in the policy. What we’re going to allow is an amendment process. If four separate bills that will be in one rule to be put on the floor, and everybody will be able to vote their own conscience in their own district. They can vote up or down on the Israel aid, the Ukraine aid, the Indo-Pacific, and then this separate package that we have with other national security measures.

We’ve included a lot of innovations here. It is different than the Senate’s bill. For the Ukraine piece, for example, we’ve introduced the loan concept, the Repo Act, so any funding that goes to support the government of Ukraine is converted to a loan. We introduced the Repo Act, which is the seizure, as you know, of corrupt Russian oligarchs assets and that could be used to fund the resistance in Ukraine as well.

We have sanctions for Iran and Russia and China, the aggressors who are causing all this problem, the new axis of evil. We have a lot of new changes in here. We have accountability and a strategy shift as well, because what we’ve said is that the White House has to provide to Congress within 45 days of this bill being signed into law, an actual strategy, a plan to show what is the objective in Ukraine? What is the end game? How are we going to get to that? And how are we going to show absolute accountability for the weapons systems and all that.

Importantly, people need to understand on the Ukraine piece, for example, 80% of the money that would be allocated in this legislation is for replenishment of our own weapons and stocks. This is something that makes sense. What we’re doing is funding America’s industrial defense base. These are jobs in America building weapons that we use and that other countries buy from us and that’s what that will go to fund.

So there’s a lot of other innovations in the bill. We’re very anxious to get the assistance to Israel, our dear friend and close ally over there in the Middle East, in the middle of a war to just justify their very existence. They need the assistance now and we should be providing it to them and that’s our intention to do it as quickly as possible.

The Indo-Pacific is to face down China and all these pieces are very, very important. I think it’s important to the American people. I think all of the members of Congress will have the opportunity in single subjects to vote their will and their way on that and then we’ll put that together, send it to the Senate and go through those obligations met.

I’m going to say this and then I’ll open to questions. This is an important time on the world stage. We live in unprecedented, very challenging times. The world is on fire and one of the reasons it’s on fire is because we’re projecting weakness from this White House on the world stage. And I’m a Reagan Republican, I believe in the concept of peace through strength, and I think America is an exceptional nation. I think we’re the greatest nation in the history of the world and I hope you agree. I believe because of that we have a very special responsibility. The responsibility of the free world was placed upon the shoulders of America after World War Two.

It doesn’t mean we’re the world’s policemen. It doesn’t mean we should be intervening in conflicts around the world, but it does mean that we have to stand for freedom and we have to be the beacon of light and we have to show strength. Because the perception of a strong America is good for the entire world. It’s good not just for the security and safety of Americans, but for the security and safety of free people all around the globe. The only thing that has kept terrorist and tyrants at bay is the perception of a strong America, that we would stand strong and we will. And I think the Congress is going to show that. This is a very important message that we’re going to send to the world this week and I’m anxious to get it done and I’m glad to get there. A few questions.

Speaker 2 (06:47):

Mr. Speaker, Why are you willing to risk losing your job over this Ukraine funding?

Mike Johnson (06:53):

Listen, my philosophy is you do the right thing and you let the chips fall where they may. If I operated out of fear over a motion to vacate, I would never be able to do my job. Look, history judges us for what we do. This is a critical time right now, a critical time in the world stage. I could make a selfish decision and do something that’s different, but I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing.

I think providing lethal aid to Ukraine right now is critically important. I really do. I really do believe the intel and the briefings that we’ve gotten. I believe Xi and Vladimir Putin and Iran really are an axis of evil. I think they’re in coordination on this. I think that Vladimir Putin would continue to march through Europe if he were allowed. I think he might go to the Balkans next. I think he might have a showdown with Poland or one of our NATO allies.

To put it bluntly, I would rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys. My son is going to begin in the Naval Academy this fall. This is a live fire exercise for me as it is so many American families. This is not a game. It’s not a joke. We can’t play politics of this. We have to do the right thing and I’m going to allow an opportunity for every single member of the House to vote their conscience and their will on this. And I think that’s the way this institution is supposed to work, and I’m willing to take personal risk for that because we have to do the right thing and history will judge us.

Speaker 3 (08:15):

[inaudible 00:08:14] you had said LNG was one of your priorities. Is that going to be included in any of these bills? And if not, why did it drop out?

Mike Johnson (08:21):

We’ve been working on the LNG component because it’s so critical to national defense. I’m from an oil and gas state, Louisiana. I mean, energy is a big thing to us, but this is not a parochial issue, it’s an important issue for the whole country. When the President issued his executive order to effectively close down our natural gas exports, liquified natural gas, that did terrible harm to our security. It makes no sense. I’ve spoken to him about this personally.

I asked him personally when I was at The Oval Office, “Mr. President, why in the world would you issue an executive order to stop LNG exports? Sir, you don’t to fuel Vladimir Putin’s war machine, do you?” He said, “Well, no, of course not.” “Well, but Mr. President, that’s exactly what your executive order did.” “What do you mean?” “Well, sir, if they can’t buy their liquefied natural gas and get it off the coast of Louisiana or Texas for example, they’re going to go to Vladimir Putin for that supply, and that’s going to fuel his war machine and that’s going to give him more of what he needs for his aggression in Ukraine. Is this completely counterproductive public policy national security foreign policy? I don’t understand it. Sir, rescind the executive order.”

I’m not even sure currently that he even understands the full implications of that, but that’s what it means. So we’ve been pushing the LNG is part of the national security concept and philosophy here because energy security is national security and we cannot allow Vladimir Putin and Iran to be supplying oil and gas to Europe. That is not good for the stability of the region and all of us. We try to put it in this package in every package we’ll continue to fight for that and continue to make the case because it’s critical for our stability.

Speaker 4 (09:54):

Byron Donald has a wildly popular resolution to rename the Press Room after Frederick Douglas. Do you think that this resolution will [inaudible 00:10:04] something you could do as Speaker?

Mike Johnson (10:03):

I love the idea and Byron’s a good friend and that’s a great concept. Frederick Douglass was a great American. We will look into that, yeah.

Speaker 5 (10:12):

What is in this fourth bill that we haven’t seen yet? If you can walk us through what provisions are?

Mike Johnson (10:16):

Yeah, so the fourth bill in the package, it’s Israel, Indo-Pacific, Ukraine and the fourth bill, which is our national security additional foreign policy measures. And that’s where you’ll find the provisions of the repo act, for example, which is the use of the Russian sovereign assets that are in the US that will be transferred for use in Ukraine. I think that’s a just and right use. Using corrupt Russian oligarchs assets to fund the resistance of the Ukrainians is pure poetry, in my view.

We also have in that package sanctions on Iran and Russia and China to try to tamp down on their aggression. We’ve not done enough of that. The White House and the executive branch has not used its sanctions authority and its discretion I think in any way close to what it should be.

I want you to think about this. Remember, in the last administration when President Trump was president, we didn’t have hot wars like this around the globe. We didn’t have our adversaries acting so aggressively and marching into territory that is not there’s. Why? You know why? Because they perceived that the President was strong, that some of them feared him. Most of them respected him. They thought, “We’re not really sure what this president may do to us if we act like that.” That’s the Reagan doctrine. That is peace through strength. That’s a core foundational principle of America. And when we do not advance and sustain that, it’s trouble for everybody around the globe. And that’s what you’re seeing right now. It’s a stark contrast between the last administration and this one. And that’s why, frankly, I think President Trump is going to be reelected and he’s going to restore order to this mess.

Speaker 6 (11:48):

Will a majority of Republicans support the aid package for Ukraine?

Mike Johnson (11:53):

Oh, I believe they will. I believe they will. I mean we’ve not whipped that yet in a formal whip count, but anecdotally I can tell you that most of my colleagues I think understand the necessity of that. Now, some of them quibble about the humanitarian component and I understand that. I firmly believe they need the lethal aid. I too have concerns about that. But the beauty of this process that we’ve set up, I said it’s better policy and better processes. We’re going to put this bill on the floor and it’ll have an amendment process that’s allowed. And so I suspect, and I believe there will be an amendment to strike that component out of the Ukraine bill and we’ll see if that gets the majority number of votes.

But what we want and what we demand, what the American people want is they want to know if this is an investment we’re going to make, why is this in America’s interest? Why is this in our nation’s interest for security and safety and stability? And we need to make that case and explain to them that if we invest in this way, this is a really important thing to prevent a further cost to us down the road. Not only is it important to defend freedom and the innocent people in Ukraine, the innocent families and the 20,000 children that have been kidnapped and all these other things, this is an evil regime.

I believe Vladimir Putin is an evil regime. I believe he is making this aggression on Ukraine because he saw an opportunity and I think it needs to stop. Because if it doesn’t, and he continues, he disrupts the world order that we’ve maintained since World War Two and it’s, many of us believe, that it is likely that he might try to invade a NATO country or go to the border for example of Poland and set up a standoff that gets NATO allies involved. I don’t want American boots on the ground over there. I don’t want us to be involved in this any further. I think this needs to be brought to an end. But I’m afraid that we’ll need a stronger president to help broker that peace deal. I expect Donald Trump will do that. And that’s what we’re trying to get to that point.

Speaker 7 (13:44):

On Ukraine, you have highlighted this is a loan, but there’s language in that Ukraine bill that says they can be canceled by 2026. Members of your party have criticized that as too lenient. Why did you add that language in there around a loan being forgiven so soon?

Mike Johnson (13:59):

Well, the loan concept is, speaking of Donald Trump, is something that he endorses an idea and that makes sense I think to a lot, most House Republicans and Democrats. And the reason it has that provision and that allows a president in a few years to forgive the loan if they deem it in our nation’s interest, is because that might be a very important chip in a game when you’re looking at strategy down the road and maybe you’re trying to broker a peace deal. That might be an important thing to have, an important option for the President to have. And I think that makes sense to Republicans and Democrats. We would want the Commander in Chief to be able to make those decisions. And then Congress, of course, has oversight, all of it. So I think it’s a good policy. Let me go over here. Yes.

Speaker 8 (14:44):

You mentioned in your text earlier today about a border bill possibly, and so I just was wondering, A, if that’s going to be a separate thing than these four other bills? And has the decision been made to bundle these four bills together before they go to the Senate?

Mike Johnson (14:57):

The Senate? Yeah. Two good questions. Border is our number one priority. Number one priority. The house Republicans have been hammering the border. I started with it here. I do it at every interview. Y’all probably been bored of me talking about it at our press conferences, because it is the number one issue for America and is the most inexcusable. The idea that this president and his administration have allowed this is unconscionable to us. We don’t understand it. The American people don’t understand it.

I’ve been in 23 states in the last several weeks traveling around campaigning for our incumbents and candidates, and I’m telling you, it’s the number one question everywhere. It doesn’t matter where I’m out west in the Midwest, I mean, Long Island, Deep South, it’s the same. Everybody’s concerned about it and they cannot understand why this would be allowed.

So yes, we’re going to push a very aggressive border security measure on the floor. It’s part of this whole process. All these things are intertwined. If you’re going to talk about national security, and this is a national security supplemental package, you have to begin at our own border. And that’s what we’ve been saying over and over and over.

So, we’re going to put the key elements of HR2, which was our legislation the House Republicans passed over a year ago. It’s been sitting on Chuck Schumer’s desk collecting dust as they mock it. We’re going to reintroduce that. And catch and release, reinstate Remain in Mexico, fix the broken asylum process, fix the broken parole process that’s been abused, rebuild portions of the wall. We have some very important innovations in there and we’re adding to it this time a provision, there’ll be an amendment brought that would add a provision that would allow a state like Texas to be reimbursed for all the money that their taxpayers have had to spend to do the federal government’s job. I think that’s just and right.

I think it’s going to be a popular measure and I expect we’re going to vote that through with a big, sadly, I think it’ll be a partisan vote, but I believe every Republican will support it. And then we will go out and tell the American people, “We’re still fighting for you,” at the same time that we’re demanding that the President uses his executive authority to actually fix this. He’s unwilling to do it, and everybody knows that. And we’ll keep highlighting it. Last one. Hey Libby.

Libby (16:55):

Hey. If Marjorie Taylor Green does make the motion to vacate privileged, would you seek help from Democrats? Would you accept that help if that vote came to the floor?

Mike Johnson (17:02):

I have not asked a single Democrat to get involved in that at all. I do not spend time walking around thinking about the motion to vacate. I have a job to do here and I’m going to do the job. And regardless of personal consequences, that’s what we’re supposed to do. If Marjorie brings the motion, she brings the motion and we’ll let the chips fall where they may. I have to do what I have to do and then the members will vote their conscience as well.

I’m often reminded, people say, “There’s a whirlwind right now. I mean, there’s a lot going on. You seem to be pretty calm all the time. How do you maintain that composure?” I remind myself of what John Quincy Adams said. He used to sit right over there. And he was the hellhound of slavery and he used to bring the same resolution over and over and over to end slavery in America. And he kept failing over and over and over.

And as the story goes, a young member of Congress came up to him one day and said, “Mr. President,” he was president and then a member of Congress and said, “Mr. President, why do you keep doing it? Why do you keep bringing the resolution?” And he said, “Young man, it’s very simple.” He said, “Duty is ours. Results are God’s.” And to me, that’s a very liberating thought. I’m going to do my duty and the results are not ultimately up to me. So I’m comfortable with that and we’ll see what happens, and we’ll lay the chips down on the table then.

Thank you all for being here. Appreciate it.

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