Inside Mike Johnson’s Policy Shift: Lobbyist Influence and Controversial Staffing Raise Questions on Ukraine Aid

House Speaker Mike Johnson’s stance on Ukraine aid has come under scrutiny with revelations about his top policy adviser, Dan Ziegler, and the interests of his former lobbying clients. Ziegler, who transitioned from lobbying to serving as Johnson’s policy director, previously worked with the firm Williams & Jensen, where his client roster included companies with significant stakes in issues related to the Ukraine conflict, Breitbart News has revealed.

Among Ziegler’s former clients are major corporations that have publicly addressed the implications of the war in Ukraine on their business operations. This connection raises questions about the influence of corporate interests on Johnson’s policy decisions, particularly regarding foreign aid packages related to Ukraine.

One notable client of Ziegler’s former firm is the News Media Alliance, which advocated for legislative proposals that some critics argue could harm conservative media outlets. This association underscores concerns about the potential influence of special interest groups on Johnson’s agenda.

The composition of Johnson’s inner circle has raised additional concerns, with reports indicating troubling backgrounds among several of his staffers.

The timing of Johnson’s pivot on Ukraine aid further highlights the significance of his staffing decisions. Despite previous opposition to substantial funding for Ukraine, Johnson’s support for a multi-billion-dollar aid package aligns with the recommendations of his top advisers, including Ziegler and National Security Adviser Josh Hodges.

Johnson’s shift in position reflects a departure from his previous commitments to conservative principles, particularly regarding fiscal responsibility and national security. Johnson is prioritizing foreign interests over domestic concerns, pointing to his advocacy for aid packages that they argue neglect crucial issues such as border security.

Johnson’s approach to Ukraine aid has sparked backlash from within his own party, with prominent Republicans condemning his alignment with President Joe Biden’s agenda. Calls for Johnson’s resignation underscore broader divisions within the GOP, as conservatives express frustration with what they perceive as a departure from core conservative values.

‘Lied With Impunity’: National Guard Whistleblowers Accuse Army Leaders of Covering up Jan. 6 Deployment Delay

Four D.C. National Guard officials involved in responding to the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021, alleged on Wednesday that top Army leaders lied to Congress about why they did not order the guard to deploy for hours after the need became clear.

Several high-ranking Pentagon leaders at the time, including former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller and former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley have claimed the National Guard was sent to the Capitol as soon as they were needed, according to Politico. But National Guard “whistleblowers” accused the officials of seeking to cover up the Army’s reputation and shift the blame elsewhere in testimony before a panel of the House Administration Committee at a hearing Wednesday.

“I have no idea why we never received that order,” retired D.C. National Guard Command Sergeant Major Michael Brooks, told lawmakers. “All I know is that they were more concerned with what it would look like with soldiers with the Capitol in the background than protecting the Capitol of the United States.”

He attributed the roughly three-hour span between when the D.C. police chief pleaded for National Guard assistance and when troops received the order to deploy to “misunderstandings of the capabilities of the D.C. National Guard and the seriousness of the situation.”

McCarthy and senior leaders of the Army staff delayed dispatching the National Guard, Brooks added. (Read more from “‘Lied With Impunity’: National Guard Whistleblowers Accuse Army Leaders of Covering up Jan. 6 Deployment Delay” HERE)

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White House Staffers Refer to Trump as ‘Hitler Pig’: Report

Former President Donald Trump’s penchant for derisive nicknames has apparently rubbed off on current White House staffers, who refer to the presumptive Republican nominee as “Hitler Pig.”

The “Hitler Pig” sobriquet is used frequently to describe Trump and generally by younger, tech-savvy, aides to President Biden, according to Politico.

White House staffers and campaign aides first started using the term after Trump dined with rapper Kanye West and notorious Holocaust skeptic and white nationalist Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago estate two days before Thanksgiving in 2022, according to the outlet.

The moniker is usually deployed when the 77-year-old former president makes outrageous comments, such as when he appears to praise the murderous Nazi dictator.

“Hey, did you see what Hitler Pig said?” Biden aides will say in those situations. (Read more from “White House Staffers Refer to Trump as ‘Hitler Pig’: Report” HERE)

Anti-Trump Groups Are Quietly Planning for a Deepfake Election Crisis

Dozens of prominent U.S. and state government officials, advocacy groups, and executives from big tech companies gathered in New York last month to participate in an important simulated election exercise.

The war game exercise imagined a fictional crisis in which AI-generated photos and videos are released on social media immediately before the 2024 election. The images appear to show election officials in Florida dumping ballots, in an apparent attempt to manipulate the election’s outcome.

The simulation also included phone calls to elderly voters in Arizona that featured AI-generated voices. The calls asked elderly voters to stay away from polling centers due to threats from radical militia groups.

Participants role-played how the Biden administration should respond to the simulated deepfake event. They gathered in a mock “White House Situation Room,” with each player taking on the role of a prominent figure in government, civil society, or corporate America, including the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, big tech companies, and even the CIA.

Participants engaged in lengthy debates about how government should address the problem, including whether Joe Biden should personally get involved, one of the “big debates in the room,” according to a report by NBC News. Participants were apparently concerned that if Biden made any statements, it would be used as proof that he was attempting to rig the election in his favor. (Read more from “Anti-Trump Groups Are Quietly Planning for a Deepfake Election Crisis” HERE)

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Google Fires 28 Employees Involved in Sit-in Protest Over $1.2B Israel Contract

Google has fired 28 employees over their participation in a 10-hour sit-in at the search giant’s offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, to protest the company’s business ties with the Israel government, The Post has learned.

The pro-Palestinian staffers — who had donned traditional Arab headscarves as they stormed and occupied the office of a top executive in California on Tuesday — were terminated late Wednesday after an internal investigation, Google vice president of global security Chris Rackow said in a companywide memo.

“They took over office spaces, defaced our property, and physically impeded the work of other Googlers,” Rackow wrote in the memo obtained by The Post. “Their behavior was unacceptable, extremely disruptive, and made co-workers feel threatened.”

In New York, protesters had occupied the 10th floor of Google’s offices in the Chelsea section of Manhattan as part of a protest that also extended to the company’s offices in Seattle for what it called “No Tech for Genocide Day of Action.”

“Behavior like this has no place in our workplace and we will not tolerate it,” Rackow wrote. “It clearly violates multiple policies that all employees must adhere to – including our code of conduct and policy on harassment, discrimination, retaliation, standards of conduct, and workplace concerns.” (Read more from “Google Fires 28 Employees Involved in Sit-in Protest Over $1.2B Israel Contract” HERE)

Chinese Embassy Reportedly Lobbied Directly Against TikTok Bill On Capitol Hill

The Chinese Embassy has held closed-door meetings with congressional staff to lobby against a bill that would force a sale or ban of TikTok, according to Politico.

Chinese Embassy officials reportedly reached out to set up the meetings shortly after the House voted decisively in favor of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, but did not specifically mention TikTok when they initially made contact, according to Politico, which granted several congressional staffers anonymity to speak freely. In one phone call placed to Capitol Hill staffers, an embassy official reportedly stated that the Chinese ambassador wanted to discuss the legislation.

The legislation, which would force TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the platform or otherwise see the popular social media app banned in the U.S. ,is stalling in the Senate after passing the House by a decisive margin in March.

TikTok has repeatedly denied that it is linked with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but a former senior ByteDance employee has alleged that CCP members inside the company have “superuser” credentials and a “backdoor channel” to access American users’ data, while the app often promotes content for users that is aligned with the CCP’s agenda, according to a recent study by Network Contagion Research Institute and Rutgers University.

“For once, Chinese diplomats have done America a favor,” Michael Sobolik, a senior fellow for the American Foreign Policy Council who specializes in Indo-Pacific studies, told Politico. “By lobbying congressional staff to protect TikTok’s relationship with ByteDance, [People’s Republic of China] officials are revealing how valuable TikTok is to the Chinese Communist Party. Losing control of the app would neuter Beijing’s most potent weapon against Americans.” (Read more from “Chinese Embassy Reportedly Lobbied Directly Against TikTok Bill On Capitol Hill” HERE)

Marjorie Taylor Greene Introduces Amendment to Ukraine Bill: Members Who Vote ‘In Favor’ Required to Join Ukrainian Military

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced an amendment to a supplemental funding bill for Ukraine that would require members of Congress who vote “in favor” to enlist in the Ukrainian military.

Greene’s amendment comes as House Republicans released the legislative text regarding four bills wrapped into one, according to CBS News.

Under the three bills, $26.4 billion would be sent to Israel, $60.8 billion would go to Ukraine, and $8.1 billion would go to countering the threat of China in the Indo-Pacific and providing foreign aid to Taiwan.

A fourth bill focuses on providing other defense measures to “strengthen” the “national security” of the United States.

“Any Member of Congress who votes in favor of this Act shall be required to conscript in the Ukrainian military,” the amendment to the Ukraine Security Supplemental Appropriations Act 2024 reads.

(Read more from “Marjorie Taylor Greene Introduces Amendment to Ukraine Bill: Members Who Vote ‘In Favor’ Required to Join Ukrainian Military” HERE)

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Poll: Just 35% Believe Donald Trump Did Something ‘Illegal’ in Alvin Bragg’s Criminal Trial

Just over one-third, 35 percent, of individuals believe former President Donald Trump did something overtly “illegal” regarding his current criminal case in New York, according to an AP/NORC survey released Tuesday.

Responding to allegations that Trump “covered up hush money payments to a woman who said he had an affair with her,” 35 percent, overall, said they believe Trump did something illegal. Another 31 percent across the board think he did something “unethical but not illegal,” and 14 percent said he did “nothing wrong,” Another 19 percent said they “don’t know enough to say.”

Predictably, most Democrats, 62 percent, believe Trump did something illegal in this case, compared to just two percent who believe he did nothing wrong and 27 percent who said he acted unethically but not illegally.

Only six percent of Republicans said they believe Trump did something illegal, while 40 percent said he acted unethically but not illegally. Another 28 percent said they believe Trump did nothing wrong, and 26 percent said they do not know enough to say.

Further, 32 percent of independents believe Trump acted illegally in this case, followed by 25 percent who believe he acted unethically but not illegally, 15 percent who said he did nothing wrong, and 27 percent who do not know enough to say. (Read more from “Poll: Just 35% Believe Donald Trump Did Something ‘Illegal’ in Alvin Bragg’s Criminal Trial” HERE)

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First 6 Jurors Chosen in Trump Hush Money Trial Following Questioning About Anti-Trump Social Media Posts

The process of selecting jurors for former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial commenced on Tuesday afternoon, resulting in the selection of the initial six jurors from a pool of 96 potential candidates.

Monday saw over 50 potential jurors disqualified after expressing an inability to remain impartial. However, some remaining candidates faced scrutiny due to their past social media activity, which included negative remarks about Trump.

For instance, one prospective juror had shared a post on social media predicting “Republicans projected to pick up 70 seats in prison,” alongside expressing concerns about her ability to be fair. Despite being retained until Tuesday, she was not among the six selected jurors.

Similarly, another candidate had recently shared a parody video featuring Trump, titled “I’m dumb as f-ck,” generated by artificial intelligence, leading to their dismissal from consideration. Another individual disclosed involvement in a political action committee supporting grassroots organizations but admitted to holding critical views of Trump.

Another potential juror’s social media activity included posts celebrating legal setbacks for Trump and advocating for his imprisonment. Despite retracting his stance during questioning, his past statements drew attention, with Trump reportedly reacting with a smirk.

Further proceedings will involve the selection of an additional six jurors and six alternates in the coming days.

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Trump Hush Money Trial Enters Day Two as Jury Selection Continues

By Fox News. . .The jurors include two lawyers, an IT worker, an English teacher, an oncology nurse, a sales professional, and a software engineer.

The jurors are picked by process of elimination in a system that will repeat until a full jury is selected: Eighteen prospective jurors are brought to the jury box and then lawyers move to have certain prospective jurors eliminated “for cause.”

They then eliminate some with peremptory challenges, which don’t require a reason. . .

Former President Trump said the criminal trial is having a “reverse effect,” during a campaign visit Tuesday evening to an Upper Manhattan bodega, while vowing to “straighten out New York” by working with the Democrat mayor and governor if elected to another term in the White House.

Trump visited an Upper Manhattan bodega Tuesday evening after spending hours in downtown New York City courtroom for the second day of his criminal trial stemming from charges brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. (Read more from “Trump Hush Money Trial Enters Day Two as Jury Selection Continues” HERE)

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North Carolina Parents Appeal Student’s Forced COVID Vax Case Ruling

In a recent legal case concerning a North Carolina high school student’s forced COVID vaccination, the courts have upheld the application of federal law granting immunity to those administering the vaccine, despite objections and lack of parental consent.

The incident in question occurred in 2021 when 14-year-old Tanner Smith, a football player at Western Guilford High School, was directed to undergo COVID testing due to a reported “cluster” involving the team. Unbeknownst to Smith and his family, the testing site also offered COVID-19 vaccine shots.

Despite Smith’s explicit objection and the absence of parental consent, a clinic worker proceeded to administer a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to him, contrary to his expectations of receiving only a test. This action led to a lawsuit filed by Smith and his mother, Emily Happel, against the Guilford County school board and the Old North State Medical Society.

However, the lawsuit faced a setback when appellate judges ruled against Happel and Smith, citing the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act of 2005. This legislation provides broad immunity to individuals administering COVID vaccines, shielding them from legal action except in cases of death or serious bodily injury due to willful misconduct.

Despite labeling the forced vaccination as “egregious,” the court upheld the immunity granted by the PREP Act, emphasizing the sweeping breadth of its liability protections.

Attorneys representing Happel and Smith have filed a petition urging the state Supreme Court to reconsider the ruling, arguing that the broad interpretation of the PREP Act undermines state laws requiring parental consent for administering vaccines to minors. They contend that the court’s decision renders such state laws ineffective.