Warning about a ‘Putin wing’ of the GOP

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, former GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, who was all but run out of the party for opposing Trump, said Johnson currently wields a rare power in US politics since he could singlehandedly secure funding for Ukraine by simply allowing a vote on legislation passed through the Senate, although it could cost him his position as speaker.

The Wyoming Republican argued that opposing aid to Ukraine is essentially supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I believe the issue this election cycle is making sure that the Putin wing of the Republican Party does not take over the West Wing of the White House,” Cheney told Jake Tapper.

Cheney reacts to Trump's silence about Navalny's death
01:29 - Source: CNN

Haley, in her Tuesday speech, offered a defense of the US protecting its role as a leader in world affairs that would sound natural coming out of President Joe Biden’s mouth or any of the bipartisan group of 70 US senators who voted in favor of additional Ukraine funding last week.

“Russia isn’t the only country that smells blood in the water,” she said. “When the dictators in Iran, North Korea and Communist China see America step back, they rush into the breach. They think America’s time has passed and their time has come.”

What does Johnson actually support on Ukraine?

If it is clear where Haley and Trump stand on opposing Russia and helping Ukraine, what’s in Johnson’s mind is a secret. Here are lines that leap out from a report by CNN’s Melanie Zanona, Annie Grayer and Haley Talbot:

It is unclear where Johnson — who is caught in the middle of the competing wings of his party — stands, even amid fresh warnings over the weekend about the direness of the situation.

“I think many of us understand the plans that are out there,” one GOP lawmaker, granted the condition of anonymity to speak freely, told CNN. “If there is a Mike Johnson plan, there aren’t any House Republicans that are aware of its existence.” Read their full report.

A new compromise proposal gets little attention

A bipartisan group of moderate members of Congress crafted their own, pared-down version of an aid package, which also includes measures to address the border crisis. But Johnson has remained noncommittal and dismissed lawmakers for a planned two- week, out-of-Washington recess.

One of the authors of that bipartisan proposal, Republican Rep. Mike Lawler of New York, was asked on Tuesday by CNN’s Boris Sanchez about Trump’s attempt to compare his own prosecutions in US courts to what was endured by Navalny, who was poisoned, jailed in Siberia and ultimately died under mysterious circumstances. Without criticizing Trump, Lawler made his feelings on Putin very clear.

“Vladimir Putin is a vile thug and dictator and he needs to be held accountable for his conduct, for his actions,” Lawler said after arguing the legal process should play out against Trump. “He is not our friend. He is not our ally, and his conduct in Ukraine and in his own country is indefensible.”