New House Speaker Mike Johnson has his hands full

October 30 – After being voted in by the full House, Representative Mike Johnson is the new Speaker of the House after Kevin McCarthy was voted out at the beginning of the month. 

Apparently the Israeli aid package is Johnson’s number one goal – and he doesn’t want it combined with Ukraine or Taiwan. He wants it as a standalone package.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “Reporting is that Johnson has been talking to President Biden. It sounds like those two have had fruitful, healthy conversations.”

It’s still not totally clear where the votes would fall on the aid packages. 

Barkdoll said, “Certainly the majority of Congress, the Senate, they’re on board with Israeli aid. Ukraine aid is a bit more controversial, although it seems like the majority is on board with that as well. But you’re going to see all of that unfold this week. The other news about Mike Johnson over the weekend, this was his first full weekend as fundraiser in chief for the Republican Party in the House and by all accounts it was very successful. The Republicans had a big money haul for three days last week. Johnson signed his name to fundraising letters and the reporting is that the Republican base, the activists that donate money, they’re enthusiastic about him and they’re showing that by making donations to the party.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “I got a couple of texts over the weekend and I thought to myself good grief. Already? Can we do some work first? Let’s move the chains a little bit before we start shaking people down here.” 

With Johnson in as speaker, could maybe all the tapes from January 6 be released finally? 

Barkdoll suggested, “They should be released. Remember Kevin McCarthy released them in their entirety to Tucker Carlson. He’s the only one that ever got them and that was controversial at the time. Why not release them just to the public, any media outlet that wants them, just put them out there. There are some calls for Johnson to do that. The speaker shouldn’t pick and choose who gets them, just here’s the date and time, release them to everyone at the same time to look at and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see Johnson do that. I think it would be a real sign of transparency, good government. Let’s get all of that stuff out into the public domain.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “There’s been some reporting now, some investigation looking at things that are available, it’d be nice to have it all, maybe indicating that the police there did not give true testimony at some of these trial hearings. That they were not, when people looked at some of the video that’s available used AI to put it on a timeline, they were not at the locations they said they were when they said they witnessed certain behavior. I’m thinking not of the Proud Boys but of the other group, the Oath Keepers. I know there will be lawyers that will be very interested in looking at some of this stuff. We could see some of these cases coming back, maybe even changing the outcome of some of these trials.”

Barkdoll said, “Well, it’s curious to me that the tapes haven’t been released and that is within the realm of the speaker’s authority. There are tens of thousands of hours in the aggregate of these tapes and one of the criticisms when they were released to Tucker Carlson was, it would be impossible for one person to really review these. You truly would need a team and to Carlson’s credit, maybe he did use a team at Fox News, but you would need a large team of people around the clock slicing and dicing the volume of these tapes. But it is odd to me that in today’s world, why not just release them? It doesn’t matter who gets them, just say here they are. Any media outlet, any public interest group, any citizen that wants to come get them, here’s the website to go to to access them. But there’s been real reluctance for some reason to do that.”