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In Memoriam: Jim Jordan’s Bid to Become House Speaker

House Republicans voted to end the Ohio congressman’s tenure as speaker-designate in a Friday afternoon secret ballot.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

House Republicans won’t have Jim Jordan to kick around anymore. After three ill-fated attempts to secure the majority of votes needed to become the next speaker of the House, his GOP caucus put his ambitions on ice, removing him as speaker-designate in a secret ballot on Friday afternoon.

The Washington Post reported that while it was “unclear if Jordan would honor the decision,” it was still “likely he would have to follow the directive” if a majority of the conference came out against him continuing his increasingly fruitless bids. The Post would subsequently report that Jordan “received just 86 votes in favor of him continuing his campaign.”

Republicans who spoke to The New Republic seemed ready to put the events of the past few days swiftly behind them. “My goal has always been to just move forward, and get back to the Republican conservative agenda, and that’s what we have to do,” said Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, who voted against Jordan in all three votes. “It was pretty evident from day one that Mr. Jordan was never going to get the votes.”

“Our conference needs to unite. We need to heal, we need to reset, and we need to focus on our mission,” said Representative Jodey Arrington, one of many Republicans mulling a speaker bid.

Representative Jake Ellzey, who similarly opposed Jordan on all three ballots, said that he would take under consideration how a speaker candidate voted last month on a measure to temporarily keep the government funded. McCarthy was ousted in large part because he supported a stopgap continuing resolution, which was passed on a bipartisan basis. Ellzey also supported that measure, calling it a “hard vote.”

“I think if you want to lead me, every once in a while, you got to take a risk. And that wasn’t a popular vote for me, but it was the right thing to do,” Ellzey said. “You want to lead me? Lead. I want to be inspired in my vote.”

Not all Republicans emerged from their conference content, however. Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, whose shivving of McCarthy touched off this two-week-long hullabaloo, stuck up for Jordan, telling reporters, “The most popular Republican in the United States Congress was just knifed by a secret ballot, in a private meeting in the basement of the Capitol. It’s as swampy as swamp gets. And Jim Jordan deserves better than that.”

On Monday evening, the House Republicans will hold a speaker candidate forum to try to determine a new speaker-designate, with a new round of voting on Tuesday.

The GOP’s Last-Resort Speaker Solution Is Going Down in Flames Too

Some Republicans had thought that they could hand the gavel to temporary fill-in Patrick McHenry. Looks like they'll need to think again.

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Republican Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry

The bedlam in the House Republican caucus that has finally ended Jim Jordan’s quest to become speaker seems to have pushed their temporary speaker to the edge as well. Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, who has been presiding over the chamber in a limited capacity as his colleagues have spent the past two weeks attempting to appoint a new permanent speaker, has threatened to quit if Republicans push him to pass legislation above the authority of his position, reported NBC News. McHenry’s warning comes as some Republicans debate whether they need to take a full floor vote to expand the temporary speaker’s powers, which are currently more or less restricted to permitting him to facilitate and tally the votes to elect his permanent replacement.

“If you guys try to do that, you’ll figure out who the next person on Kevin’s list is,” McHenry told Republican members in a closed-door meeting on Thursday, referring to the secret succession list drafted by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. McHenry was temporarily handed the seat when McCarthy was ousted more than two weeks ago by a fringe group of Republicans fronted by Representative Matt Gaetz.

Expanding McHenry’s temporary speakership was seen by many Republicans as a plan of last resort to conjure some kind of alternative to Representative Jim Jordan, whose own run for the House speakership repeatedly failed to secure the majority needed to give him the gavel. But the plan to leave McHenry in the seat faces similar headwinds, as a majority has vocally opposed the resolution to promote him thus far.

Ultimately, McHenry may not even need to quit, with some Republicans apparently hoping to fire the fill-in. On Friday, Florida Representative Greg Steube was caught with a resolution to remove McHenry from the temporary position, though when confronted, the congressman claimed the motion wasn’t his and that he did not support the measure.

Jordan had planned to enter a weekend series of voting rounds, but his colleagues finally came out against his continued attempts to secure the nomination—first by threatening to boycott future votes in protest, according to Fox News. That move could have handed the speakership to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who, in the face of a large absence, might swing the majority with 212 unified Democratic votes behind him. The caucus, in the end, forced Jordan to stand down.

The Democratic party leader nevertheless teased that path to resolving the weeklong farrago. “We are saying to traditional Republican colleagues, good men and women on the other side of the aisle, end the attachment to the extremist Jordan and join with Democrats in finding a bipartisan path forward,” Jeffries told a press huddle ahead of the speaker vote.

Judge to Donald Trump: STFU or Go to Jail

The judicial system is being forced to reckon with the physiological impossibility of the former president ever not talking.

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Former President Donald Trump speaks after returning from a break during his civil fraud trial at New York state’s Supreme Court on October 18, in New York City.

Donald Trump learned a fundamental legal lesson Friday morning: Actions do have consequences. The former president is currently staring down the very real prospect of jail time after he “blatantly” violated a gag order imposed in his New York bank fraud trial, reported The Daily Beast.

“In the current overheated climate, incendiary comments can and in some cases already [have], led to serious physical harm and worse,” said Justice Arthur F. Engoron as the trial began on Friday, demanding that Trump’s legal team explain the former president’s recent actions. Engoron would go on to levy a $5,000 fine on Trump, “payable to the New York Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection,” according to the order.

At issue was a post made by Trump on Truth Social earlier this month, in which he claimed that Engoron’s principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, was dating Senator Chuck Schumer. Trump also shared Greenfield’s Instagram details, effectively ushering a scourge of far-right sympathizers onto her social media accounts. Then, hours after Engoron issued his gag order, Trump launched more vitriol at the judge.

Trump attorney Chris Kise claimed the gag order was violated in error, blaming Trump’s “campaign machinery” for forgetting to remove a web page that mirrored the Truth Social post, which Trump had deleted. That answer wasn’t enough for the “typically easygoing” judge, who noted that the 2024 Republican presidential candidate is “still responsible for the large machine.”

“Despite this clear order, last night I learned that the subject of the offending post was never removed from the website, and in fact had been on that website for the past 17 days. I understand that it was removed late last night, but only in response to email from this court,” Engoron noted.

To say that this all could have been avoided is an understatement. The threat of jail time is an interesting turn in a civil case that was never actually going to lead to Trump facing the prospect of jail time. Rather, the case challenges the validity of his real estate business, the Trump Organization, and some of its dealings.

Engoron hasn’t been the only judge to slap Trump with a court order. On Tuesday, Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed another gag order on the former president in his D.C. trial, which focuses on his effort to subvert the 2020 election. In a statement, Chutkan said that Trump’s First Amendment protections “yield to the administration of justice” and that his presidential candidacy does not give him “carte blanche” to vilify public servants “who are simply doing their job.”

Engoron went to some lengths to impress upon Trump that there would be further consequences for further violations: “Donald Trump has received ample warning from this Court as to the possible repercussions of violating the gag order,” the judge wrote. “He specifically acknowledged that he understood and would abide by it.” “This Court is way beyond the ‘warning’ stage,” he added.

* This post has been updated.

Jim Jordan Makes a Clean Break From Reality in Rambling Rant

The freshly rebuffed would-be speaker of the House gave Capitol Hill reporters several pieces of his mind on Friday morning.

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Hours ahead of a third vote for speaker of the House, Representative Jim Jordan insisted that he’s not backing down.

For about 10 minutes, the continuously imperiled House speaker nominee offered his thoughts to reporters in a bizarre speech that name-checked the Wright brothers, ironically emphasized the need for unity, and even managed to sprinkle in some conspiracy-mongering about the validity of the 2020 presidential election.

But if there was any purpose to the ultraconservative’s brief message, it was that he plans to plough ahead with yet another floor vote, despite intraparty insistence that he should back down after two rounds of voting in which he’s lost ground.

This did not seem to trouble Jordan at all. “There’s been multiple rounds of votes for speaker before,” Jordan quipped, referring to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s 15-ballot bid to land the House’s highest position, while the prospect of a series of weekend votes for the position looms over the legislature.

But momentum is not on Jordan’s side, as meetings between the Trump ally and his holdouts have gone south. Several of Jordan’s detractors have hardened in their opposition, in reaction to the nominee’s strong-arming campaign, in which Jordan allies sent anonymous threats to congressmen and their spouses. Now Jordan’s antagonists are unwilling to negotiate further, reported Punchbowl News’s Jake Sherman. Instead, they want Jordan to know that he will not be speaker.

Even among his allies, Jordan’s shtick is beginning to “wear a little thin,” and he has possibly “worn out his welcome,” one senior House GOP member told Fox News’s Chad Pergram.

Jordan’s long-shot bid to become speaker has only grown more fraught as the days have dragged on. In his first floor vote, 20 Republicans voted against him. In the second, another two joined their camp. And dozens more may be waiting in the wings to hop into this chorus of refusal: On Wednesday and Thursday, some party members warned that the tribe against Jordan is much larger than the “no” votes that have been tallied, with some alleging that more than half of the Republican members in the House are prepared to vote “no.”

Meanwhile, the House is unable to act on any policy without someone behind the gavel. On Friday, the White House asked Congress for $100 billion in an emergency national security funding package that would provide $61.4 billion to Ukraine, $14.3 billion to Israel, and another $10 billion in humanitarian aid. But if Jordan spends the next few days still fruitlessly chasing a vote he seems destined to lose, there’s no telling when, or if, these measures will get approved.

House Republicans Melt Down, Boil Over, and Spill to Reporters About It

Their plan to empower fill-in Speaker Patrick McHenry went up in flames, and Jim Jordan continues to lose supporters.

Rep. Jim Jordan after Thursday's meeting on Capitol Hill
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Representative Jim Jordan after Thursday’s meeting on Capitol Hill

It’s Day 16 without a House speaker, and congressional Republicans are no closer to electing someone to replace Kevin McCarthy than they were two weeks ago. Meanwhile, tensions appear to have reached a breaking point.

The GOP’s four-hour, closed-door meeting on Thursday began with a debate over extending Representative Patrick McHenry’s temporary speakership, but instead devolved into a full-blown meltdown, with party members pointing fingers at one another and somehow leaving the caucus even less unified than before.

McCarthy and Representative Matt Gaetz, one of the former speaker’s ousters, got especially heated. When Gaetz went to speak at the mic, McCarthy reportedly “screamed” at him to sit down. Representative Michael Bost then got “all emotional” and began cursing at Gaetz, huffing that the current predicament was “all his fault,” reported CNN’s Melanie Zanona.

“I think the whole country is screaming at Matt Gaetz,” McCarthy told Axios’s Juliegrace Brufke, denying allegations that he raised his voice.

One member of the House GOP turned to prayer. Another left for lunch. Still others took to a joint study session, scouring copies of the U.S. Constitution amid an unprecedented bid to expand McHenry’s power as speaker pro tempore so that he could run the House for weeks (or longer) while the party worked on electing a speaker.

But that plan—just like Representative Jim Jordan’s nomination for speaker, and Steve Scalise’s before him—lacks the necessary Republican votes to pass, which means only Democratic support could salvage it.

Jordan emerged from the GOP’s epic meeting to declare, “I’m still running for speaker, and I plan to go to the floor and get the votes.” But it’s not clear how he’ll get there.

The number of House Republicans on record opposing Jordan has grown from 20 to 22, and some of his detractors warn that the real number could be as high as 40. Which means there’s no end in sight to the GOP’s impasse.

GOP Representative Jim Banks said it best: “We don’t deserve the majority if we go along with a plan to give the Democrats control over the House of Representatives.”*

* This piece has been updated with the full quote from Banks.

Jim Jordan Admits Defeat, Throwing Republicans Into Even More Disarray

Having failed two votes for House speaker, the hard-right Republican is throwing his support behind a plan to give fill-in Speaker Patrick Henry more power.

Rep. Jim Jordan talks to Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Patrick McHenry
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Representative Jim Jordan (right) talks to Speaker Pro Tempore Representative Patrick McHenry in the House of Representatives on October 18.

After two failed floor votes, and his number of Republican supporters in decline, Representative Jim Jordan is backing down from his bid for House speaker.

The Ohio Republican announced Thursday morning that he would not be pursuing an additional floor vote, reported The Washington Post. Instead, Jordan is reversing course and backing a plan to expand the powers of Representative Patrick McHenry’s temporary speakership until January.

It’s currently unclear how many Republicans will get behind McHenry, though predictions haven’t been rosy. Ahead of a short recess, Texas Representative Pat Fallon estimated that two-thirds of the caucus will oppose the resolution, reported Punchbowl News’s John Bresnahan.

Other Republicans appeared frustrated and even betrayed by the turn of events, openly fuming to press about the McHenry plan.

“It’s absurd,” Indiana Representative Jim Banks told Fox News, noting that at least half of the Republican members in the House plan to vote against it. “It was the biggest ‘F.U.’ to Republican voters I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s going to take Democrats to make it happen. And that’s a historic betrayal to our Republican voters if we go along with it. It’s a big mistake,” Banks added.

Arizona Representative Debbie Lesko allegedly told Jordan that he should step down if he supports the McHenry resolution, snubbing Jordan’s behavior as “self-serving,” according to Politico’s Olivia Beavers.

Meanwhile, House Democrats have their own set of requirements for the fill-in.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said Democrats want assurances that the temporary speaker will support the previously negotiated debt limit deal and consider supplemental aid to Ukraine and Israel. They also are demanding that whoever fills the seat be someone who voted to certify the 2020 presidential election results, reported Punchbowl News’s Heather Caygle.

McHenry refused to respond to any questions regarding the impending decision, reported Fox News’s Chad Pergram.

Look Who’s Flipped on Donald Trump

Lawyer Sidney Powell pleaded guilty in the Georgia election conspiracy case and will testify against the former president.

Fulton County Sheriff's Office/Getty Images
Attorney Sidney Powell poses for her booking photo on August 23 in Atlanta.

Former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell cut a deal with Fulton County prosecutors on Wednesday, pleading guilty to six misdemeanor charges in the Georgia election interference case just one day before her criminal trial was set to begin.

Powell, a prominent election fraud conspiracy theorist, was sentenced to six years probation and slapped with a $6,000 fine. She will also be required to pay $2,700 in restitution to the state of Georgia to cover the cost of replacing the violated election equipment.

As part of the deal, Powell is required to write an apology letter to the citizens of Georgia, and eventually will testify against her 17 co-defendants, including her onetime client Donald Trump.

By taking the plea deal, Powell is admitting to her role in the election-systems breach in Republican-heavy Coffee County in January 2021, where Trump supporters accessed and copied election data in hopes of subverting the presidential election results.

Powell is the second person to plead guilty in the racketeering case. Last month, Atlanta-area bail bondsman Scott Hall admitted to a special grand jury that he gained access to the voting machines. Hall has also agreed to testify at future trials.

Another co-defendant and alleged architect of the scheme, Kenneth Chesebro, allegedly rejected his plea deal, which would have given him three years’ probation and a $10,000 fine, ABC News reported. Jury selection in Chesebro’s expedited trial begins Friday.

Trial dates have not yet been set for Trump and his 16 remaining co-defendants.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Shamelessly Calls Peaceful Protest at the Capitol an “Insurrection”

The Georgia congresswoman, who has long made excuses for the January 6 rioters, got triggered by a few hundred anti-war activists.

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Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has long downplayed the January 6 riot that claimed five lives, has denounced a peaceful protest on Capitol Hill as an “insurrection” and demanded that the police preserve surveillance footage of the protesters.

Hundreds of Jewish American activists—many of them members of Jewish Voice for Peace, an anti-Zionist group—held a sit-in at a House of Representatives building on Wednesday to demand a cease-fire in Gaza. It was too much for Greene’s delicate sensibilities, apparently.

The Georgia congresswoman says she will ask the House to censure Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib, who Greene says “organized” the protest. She also filed a request with the Capitol Police “to preserve all video surveillance footage, photographic evidence, police reports, and arrest records” from the House office buildings.

This is coming from the same person who has referred to the January 6 rioters as “political prisoners,” suggested they were following “what our Declaration of Independence says ... to overthrow tyrants,” and said that if she and former President Donald Trump had led the attack on the Capitol, they would have “won.

At yesterday’s sit-in at the Cannon House Office Building, activists carried signs demanding a cease-fire and chanted, “Not in our name.” More than 500 people, including Rabbis, were arrested by Capitol Police, organizers estimated.

Tlaib spoke to a section of the protest outside the Capitol Building, calling on President Joe Biden to rethink his unequivocal support for Israel in the war.

“President Biden, not all Americans are with you on this one and you need to understand that. We are literally watching people commit genocide and killing the vast majority just like this, and we still stand by and say nothing. We will remember this,” she told the crowd.

Rabid Jim Jordan Fans Go Nuts on Republicans Who Let Him Down

Several House Republicans claim they’re being harassed by people who support Jim Jordan for House speaker.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Representative Jim Jordan’s bid for speaker of the House was always a long shot, but his allies may have doomed him.

Along with a pressure campaign orchestrated by Sean Hannity’s production team at Fox, Jordan’s camp is allegedly (and often anonymously) attempting to strong-arm his critics in hopes of reversing some two dozen holdouts against the Ohio Republican.

Tactics, which Jordan himself has disavowed, have so far included veiled threats and leveraging outright lies about political allegiances, according to several Republicans.

Jordan has so far lost two floor votes for the gavel, bleeding more votes with each run. On Tuesday, the ultraconservative lost the ballot by 20 votes. During Wednesday’s vote, he lost two more, suggesting that something behind the scenes was going haywire.

Several of Jordan’s detractors took to the press to make their grievances with the unsavory gambit known.

Representative Don Bacon told Politico that his wife had received several anonymous emails and texts warning her husband to back Jordan, reading things like, “Why is your husband causing chaos by not supporting Jim Jordan?” and claiming that Bacon was a “failure” and not a “team player.”

“Threatening us does not work,” Bacon later told Newsmax.

Representative Carlos Giménez told NBC he has been the target of robocalls over his opposition to Jordan’s candidacy.

In an interview with CBS, Giménez added that Jordan’s camp was weaponizing misinformation and “total lies” to sway opinion, including claiming that the Florida congressman would cast his vote for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

“It doesn’t work on me. What you’ve done now is you’ve cemented my position,” Giménez said, calling the behavior “very disturbing.”

Other Republicans agreed, doubling down on their previous positions.

“The one thing that will never work with me—if you try to pressure me, if you try to threaten me, then I shut off,” Representative Mario Díaz-Balart told Politico.

“I don’t think it’s been helpful to Jim,” Representative Byron Donalds told C-SPAN, referring to Jordan’s whip operation. “Some of the stuff just is not going to move these members. As a matter of fact, it only makes them harder to convince.”

As Jordan preps for another ballot for House speaker Thursday at noon, his Republican opponents warn that he will only continue to bleed more votes, revealing to CNN’s Melanie Zanona that they have been staggering their “no” votes against Jordan to illustrate growing opposition.