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How will the hard-right Republicans in Congress wield their newfound energy? : International


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That is FRESH AIR. I am Terry Gross. Now that Kevin McCarthy has assumed his new function as speaker of the Home, a place he received after making concessions to the far proper of his get together, what can we count on? Jim Jordan, a Trump ally who performed a task in attempting to overturn the election, is now chair of the Judiciary Committee, in addition to chair of a brand new subcommittee to research the weaponization of presidency. That subcommittee is more likely to examine the Biden administration and members of Congress who’ve been investigating the try and overthrow the election and the assault on the Capitol. The January 6 committee subpoenaed Jordan. Jordan refused to conform. Now he is the one with the subpoena energy.

Republican-led committees will likely be investigating President Biden and his son Hunter, together with Hunter’s enterprise practices and the labeled paperwork present in President Biden’s dwelling and workplace. Republicans could block efforts to lift the debt ceiling, which might result in America defaulting on its debt and throw our financial system and elements of the worldwide financial system into chaos. And there is George Santos, who lied his method into Congress, fabricating his biography and resume. Who is aware of how that may play out? Right here to speak about these points and extra is Catie Edmondson, who covers Congress for The New York Instances. We recorded our interview yesterday morning.

Catie Edmondson, welcome to FRESH AIR. What do Republicans most wish to do with their new energy?

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CATIE EDMONDSON: Thanks for having me, Terry. I believe it actually is dependent upon which Republicans you communicate to, and that’s going to be the dynamic that basically drives this fractious Home majority. You’ve, after all, the hard-right flank of the get together who’ve a few completely different aspirations in thoughts. One is that they do wish to leverage their newfound subpoena energy and their energy within the majority to enact vengeance, basically, on the Biden administration, to research them in the best way they felt the Democrats used their energy within the majority to research former President Donald Trump. And also you even have Republicans in that hard-right flank who actually wish to use their energy within the new majority to enact deep spending cuts to basically change the best way the Home features and to essentially enact sweeping adjustments to the best way the Home does enterprise on the subject of the federal government’s funds.

Then you’ve reasonable Republicans who need to attain throughout the aisle and attempt to get some bipartisan governing achieved to maintain the federal government open, to verify the federal government doesn’t default on our debt. And so you’ve a whole lot of completely different motivations, a few of that are working at cross functions. And that’s going to ensure that it’s going to be a reasonably fractious two years.

GROSS: Is likely one of the targets of the far proper of the Republican Occasion to question President Biden?

EDMONDSON: It is dependent upon who you communicate to, however that’s definitely a purpose of most of the hard-right lawmakers, notably those that appear to be choosing up affect inside the get together. I am pondering particularly of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who launched articles of impeachment towards President Biden in, I consider, her second or third week in workplace. That’s definitely one thing that some members of the far-right flank wish to see. That could be a idea that has gotten some pushback from Republican leaders. So I believe that’s going to be a dance that Republican management and the correct flank do for the subsequent couple of years. And positively a few of these members and much more reasonable members of the Republican Occasion, or mainstream members, I ought to say, wish to see the Homeland Safety Secretary Mayorkas impeached as nicely.

GROSS: Now Republicans have subpoena energy and so they’re creating new committees to research Democrats. So let’s begin with the brand new subcommittee on investigating the weaponization of presidency. It is a subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. Judiciary is now led by Jim Jordan, who’s a Trump ally and an election denier, and performed a task in attempting to overturn the election. So what was his function in attempting to overturn the election?

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EDMONDSON: Nicely, it is fascinating as a result of Congressman Jordan went on TV after the election in 2020 and he parroted a few of the claims that former President Trump was making on the time, elevating questions on widespread election fraud that might have considerably impacted the outcomes of the election. He had a few conferences with far-right congressmen within the Freedom Caucus who had been attempting to determine what the perfect mechanism can be to attempt to problem the election outcomes. These conferences clearly led to the trouble in Congress on January 6 to overturn the election outcomes. Mr. Jordan, in addition to now all three members of Home Republican management, all voted to overturn the election even after the Capitol was breached on January 6.

GROSS: So Jim Jordan, who performed a task in attempting to overturn the election, now heads the Judiciary Committee and this new subcommittee to research the weaponization of presidency. So he has a whole lot of energy. So what is going to this new committee on the weaponization of presidency have the facility to do?

EDMONDSON: So the Home voted final week to authorize the creation of this particular subcommittee to research, quote-unquote, “the weaponization of presidency.” And since it is nonetheless in early phases, we’re nonetheless ready to see precisely how Mr. Jordan and lawmakers on this subcommittee plan to make use of this energy. However we do have a basic roadmap primarily based off of even the final couple of years, issues that Mr. Jordan has mentioned, issues that members of the far proper have mentioned. And animating this subcommittee is the idea that inside the nation’s intelligence providers, there are partisans. That is the concept of the deep state. There are partisans who’re towards Republicans and towards former President Trump particularly. And I believe one factor that we are going to see this subcommittee attempt to obtain is hauling in former federal brokers, maybe present federal brokers, and grilling them about whether or not there may be partisan leaning inside these departments which have affected the best way authorities runs.

GROSS: Jim Jordan was one of many folks subpoenaed by the January 6 committee and did not comply. Others embrace Kevin McCarthy, the brand new speaker of the Home, Scott Perry, the pinnacle of the far-right Freedom Caucus. So the subcommittee may have subpoena energy, and it is headed by any person who declined to reply to his subpoena from the January 6 committee. So – I do not know – nicely, what does that imply?

EDMONDSON: Nicely, Speaker McCarthy was truly requested about this at a information convention in Washington late final week that I attended. He was requested, given the truth that you declined to take part with the January 6 committee after you had been subpoenaed, have not you your self simply set the precedent for witnesses who’re subpoenaed by this new subcommittee to say no to take part? And his reply was that whereas the January 6 committee was a totally partisan affair, and clearly our new subcommittee is just not going to be partisan in any respect, so, after all, any witnesses who’re subpoenaed cannot use the identical excuse that I simply did. However after all, I believe the truth is that that has created a roadmap for witnesses who’re subpoenaed to refuse to take part.

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GROSS: OK. Let’s take a brief break right here. My visitor is Catie Edmondson, who covers Congress for The New York Instances. We’ll discuss extra after a brief break. That is FRESH AIR.


GROSS: That is FRESH AIR. Let’s get again to my interview with Catie Edmondson. She covers Congress for The New York Instances. We’re speaking concerning the new Republican-controlled Home of Representatives led by the brand new speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who made many concessions to the far proper of his get together in an effort to get elected speaker.

Let’s take a look at the Oversight and Authorities Reform Committee, which is headed now by James Comer of Kentucky. Initially, inform us slightly bit about James Comer.

EDMONDSON: Yeah. Congressman Comer has been a type of loyal soldier of the Home Republican Convention for fairly a while now. He is from Kentucky. And really, certainly one of his pet points for fairly a very long time was one thing that achieved bipartisan buy-in, which was utilizing hemp as a crop, basically, and attempting to get extra folks to purchase in to – permitting the acquisition and sale of hemp.

However he has discovered himself now within the place of changing into the chairman of the oversight committee, which clearly is likely one of the key committees within the Home for pursuing investigations. This was a committee that Democrats, after they had been within the majority through the Trump administration, used to bedevil the Trump administration – to haul in Trump administration officers and grill them about numerous points. And Chairman Comer has promised to do a lot the identical together with his gavel.

GROSS: So he is anticipated to steer an investigation into President Biden and his son Hunter Biden. What does he plan to research?

EDMONDSON: That is proper. He has mentioned that his investigation is absolutely going to give attention to two issues. It will focus first on the enterprise dealings of Hunter Biden overseas in China and Ukraine. After which, he mentioned that basically the necessary second piece of his investigation goes to be seeking to see whether or not there are ties between President Biden and Hunter’s enterprise dealing. And the best way he has framed his investigation is that this isn’t simply an investigation of Hunter, however it’s, by proxy, an investigation basically of President Biden himself.

GROSS: Is that this committee additionally anticipated to research the labeled paperwork that had been present in President Biden’s dwelling and workplace?

EDMONDSON: Sure, it’s. Congressman Comer mentioned over the weekend that he plans to open an investigation into President Biden’s dealing with of the labeled paperwork. That investigation clearly goes to open up a whole lot of questions on the best way that Republicans have responded to former President Trump’s mishandling of labeled paperwork. It already has prompted a number of reporters to ask Republicans about whether or not they see any hypocrisy in the best way they’ve responded to President Biden’s dealing with of those paperwork versus their extraordinarily muted response to former President Trump’s dealing with. And Congressman Comer mentioned over the weekend that it wasn’t actually the mishandling of labeled paperwork by President Biden that he was involved about, however that he was extra involved concerning the disparity and the best way he believes each president and former president had been handled.

GROSS: He is an instance of the disparity within the sense that he completely downplayed the Trump labeled paperwork, however he appears fairly upset by the Biden labeled paperwork.

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EDMONDSON: That is proper. And I believe that’s going to be a basic theme that we see right here within the subsequent two years, is that you’re going to have Republican members of Congress who seemed the opposite method when former President Trump was engaged in some type of misconduct or questionable conduct, then go on to grab on smaller offenses by President Biden and his administration.

GROSS: There is a new Home guidelines package deal with compromises and concessions that McCarthy made to get elected speaker. Of all these adjustments, which do you assume are probably the most consequential?

EDMONDSON: Nicely, there are a couple of large ones. And I must also say that the checklist of concessions that McCarthy made to the hard-right rebels is just not absolutely enumerated within the guidelines package deal. A number of of these concessions, you possibly can see them whenever you pull up the principles package deal to learn it. However a number of of them have but to be formally codified. They exist mainly as a handshake settlement between Speaker McCarthy and these hard-right rebels. And as a reporter, I will say that’s considerably regarding to me merely since you’d wish to see what was agreed to. You’d wish to see it on paper. You’d wish to know that you’ve a full understanding of precisely what concessions had been made. And to at the present time, we nonetheless actually do not.

That being mentioned, there are a few actually necessary adjustments that had been made. And this truly doesn’t exist within the guidelines package deal. However one is that Speaker McCarthy agreed to offer the hard-right rebels a vital block on a committee known as the Guidelines Committee. That is considerably of an arcane committee, nevertheless it’s a extremely necessary one as a result of it successfully acts as type of the gatekeepers of what laws may be voted on on the Home flooring and the way it may be voted on. And so that is going to offer the hard-right flank of his get together monumental energy on the subject of deciding what even can get a vote within the Home of Representatives.

These are lawmakers who’ve mentioned that they don’t wish to vote to lift the debt ceiling, for instance, until it comes with deep, deep cuts to the US finances. These are lawmakers who’re usually anathema to most bipartisan laws. And so placing them on this committee might have actually vital affect on how the Home features for the subsequent couple of years.

And I might say the second change that can also be price noting is that Speaker McCarthy, in reality, promised the hard-right rebels that he wouldn’t enable a vote to lift the debt ceiling until the Biden administration relented and agreed to, once more, these deep cuts within the federal finances. And so I believe these two adjustments units us up for a extremely harmful path on the subject of guaranteeing that the US doesn’t default on its debt.

GROSS: Yeah, ‘trigger that is cash that the US has already – already owes. And so if it defaults on its debt, then the complete religion and credit score of the U.S. is sort of destroyed. And with that comes, like, chaos.


GROSS: Like, the final understanding is that you do not negotiate concerning the debt ceiling. Like, you pay your money owed.

EDMONDSON: That is proper. And I imply, going again to 2011, when there was, once more, this hard-right flank of Republicans that was ascendant within the Home majority on the time, when President Obama was president, that was type of the final time that we noticed this kind of collision. However finally, the Home was capable of negotiate with the Senate and with President Obama’s administration, and so they had been capable of determine one thing out.

Now, President Biden and his administration have mentioned that they’ve truly no urge for food to barter with Home Republicans on the debt ceiling, that that is one thing that Congress merely should maintain and that it’s their responsibility to maintain. However on the identical time, you’ve this actually unyielding proper flank within the Home Republican Occasion that has simply proven that it has a substantial amount of affect on the subject of what can or can not transfer on the Home flooring. And that has made lots of people, each in Congress and on Wall Avenue, extraordinarily nervous about how this skirmish goes to play out later within the yr.

GROSS: I believe it is honest to say that no laws goes to get handed for the subsequent two years. As a result of if the Republican-led Home passes a invoice, the Senate will not cross it ‘trigger that is managed by Democrats. And Biden most likely would not signal it. If Democrats deliver laws to the ground, if it will get to the ground, that’ll be voted down by the Republican Home majority. However what Republicans do have the facility to do is, you understand, to hinder, to forestall issues from going to the ground, and in addition to conduct the investigations that we have been speaking about.

EDMONDSON: That is proper. You already know, I’m a pessimist by nature. And so I usually am inclined to agree with you that we’re going to see little or no in the best way of precise legislating. I believe possibly, possibly, there may very well be some settlement discovered on overseas coverage points, whether or not that is Ukraine or attempting to fight the rise of the Chinese language authorities, and even maybe one thing to do with reining in large tech. These can be type of the three areas I might foresee probably Republicans and Democrats discovering some settlement on. However I believe you are completely proper in that the subsequent two years is just not going to be outlined by governing and legislating. It will be outlined by obstruction and clashes of personalities and investigation.

GROSS: The Republican majority within the Home is a really slim one. So that they’re sort of in a bind now about George Santos, the congressman from New York who was caught in lie after lie after lie on his resume. He mainly simply, like, created an entire new biography even with completely different names, a false resume. And it retains being new issues coming ahead together with that he has ties to a businessman who’s a cousin of a Russian oligarch, and he received cash from this cousin. What – clarify the bind that the Republican Occasion is in about coping with Santos.

EDMONDSON: This turned a obtrusive downside instantly for Home Republicans. And I believe it additionally illustrated very clearly simply how in dire want of each single vote Kevin McCarthy was in an effort to win the speaker’s gavel, is that Home Republican management basically was silent for a few weeks after they returned to Washington firstly of the yr about this member of their convention who appears to have fabricated, out of skinny air, virtually each single element about his life. And George Santos had indicated fairly early on that he deliberate to vote for McCarthy for speaker. The pure political actuality of that ensured, basically, that Santos wouldn’t obtain any punishment from Home Republican leaders at the least earlier than McCarthy was elected speaker.

Now, we’ve seen Speaker McCarthy make some feedback about Congressman Santos ever since. They have been pretty muted. He mentioned that he did have some questions when he first noticed Santos’ resume. He mentioned that he doesn’t plan to place Congressman Santos on any committees the place Congressman Santos may obtain labeled data, top-secret data, which clearly precludes him from sitting on any of the nationwide safety committees.

However on the finish of the day, a query we get quite a bit is, why do not they drive him to resign? And the reply is that Congressman Santos hails from a district that, in reality, was held by a Democrat. He received that district by 8 factors in November. However there’s a very actual worry amongst Republicans that if Santos had been to resign, it might drive a particular election. And the worry is that Republicans would lose that particular election as a result of voters within the district can be so indignant on the deception that Congressman Santos engaged them in.

GROSS: My visitor is Catie Edmondson. She covers Congress for The New York Instances. We recorded our interview yesterday morning. Later within the day, it was reported that the Home Republican Steering Committee really useful that George Santos be seated on the Home Small Enterprise Committee and the Science, House and Expertise Committee. Your complete Home Republican Convention nonetheless has to ratify the appointments. We’ll hear extra from Catie Edmondson after a break. I am Terry Gross, and that is FRESH AIR.


GROSS: That is FRESH AIR. I am Terry Gross. Let’s get again to my interview with Catie Edmondson. She covers Congress for The New York Instances. We’re speaking concerning the new Republican-controlled Home of Representatives led by the brand new speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who made many concessions with the far-right members of his get together in an effort to get elected speaker.

You described Matt Gaetz, consultant from Florida, as Kevin McCarthy’s chief antagonist. Now, Gaetz voted towards McCarthy changing into speaker till the very finish, when he solely voted current. So he by no means voted for McCarthy. However with that vote of current, he additionally did not stand in the best way of McCarthy getting elected. So what are their conflicts more likely to be about now that McCarthy is speaker?

EDMONDSON: Nicely, it is fascinating as a result of we had about two weeks of Matt Gaetz simply completely antagonizing now Speaker McCarthy. Matt Gaetz has had a protracted working type of feud with Speaker McCarthy. He views Speaker McCarthy as somebody who does not likely have political rules. He views him as somebody who will basically do something for energy. And we noticed repeatedly Congressman Gaetz assault Speaker McCarthy in actually private phrases, phrases that you do not usually hear on the Home flooring within the run as much as the vote that allowed McCarthy to grow to be speaker. Since then, although, Congressman Gaetz has modified his tone fully. He has mentioned that he needs McCarthy to do nicely as speaker. He has declined to return and enumerate a few of his grievances towards McCarthy, saying it is time for us to maneuver on. It is time for us to behave as a unified convention. Now, I believe the query is, how lengthy will this final?

However basically, what Matt Gaetz has working in his favor – and that is true of the entire 20 hard-right Republicans who initially opposed McCarthy – is that one of many concessions they received that allowed McCarthy to grow to be speaker was they secured this procedural movement known as the movement to vacate, which is actually the rule that anybody lawmaker can at any time name a snap vote to oust the speaker. And so what Matt Gaetz and, actually, any member of the Republican convention has working of their favor proper now could be this sword of Damocles, basically, hanging over Speaker McCarthy’s head, with McCarthy realizing that if he takes some type of motion that Congressman Gaetz or one other member of Congress does not like, they will name a vote to oust him.

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GROSS: So with Matt Gaetz, since he now appears to be accepting and supporting McCarthy as speaker, contemplating a whole lot of politics is transactional in nature, what do you assume Gaetz is getting in return for that assist?

EDMONDSON: It is a fantastic query. And it is one which we nonetheless do not absolutely know the reply to. One of many issues that Congressman Gaetz has publicly mentioned is that in an effort to get his type of caucus of defectors to vote for McCarthy is that they obtained the peace of mind that none of them can be the goal of retribution for inflicting this embarrassing spectacle on the ground for McCarthy. However I believe it is actually a query that has but to be answered. Now, there are a few type of pet problems with Matt Gaetz’s that we’ve seen come to fruition or that, I believe, very doubtless will come to fruition. Speaker McCarthy, final week at his information convention in Washington, mentioned that he agreed to launch footage of the Capitol grounds within the run-up to the assault on the Capitol on January 6. And Matt Gaetz in a short time claimed credit score for that.

He mentioned, this is likely one of the concessions that we secured from Speaker McCarthy to make him speaker. And I am very proud to say that this was one thing that we pushed on him. Presumably, hard-right Republicans like Mr. Gaetz assume that, one way or the other, the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol goes to be exonerated. Or one thing will likely be proven from that footage. It isn’t precisely clear to me why this was certainly one of their calls for. However that was a requirement that Matt Gaetz mentioned that he secured from Speaker McCarthy.

And the opposite factor that’s going to be actually fascinating to observe is that Matt Gaetz has for years now been a Republican who needs to cut back the scope of U.S. overseas funding in different nations, and notably within the Ukrainian battle effort. He and Marjorie Taylor Greene have been two extraordinarily vocal Republicans saying that the US shouldn’t be sending over billions and billions of {dollars} to help the Ukrainians, push back the Russian assaults. And so I believe it will likely be very fascinating to see how Speaker McCarthy handles Ukrainian help supplementals that come throughout his desk, realizing, once more, that a few of these hard-right Republicans who allowed him to grow to be speaker are extraordinarily against them.

GROSS: Let’s discuss concerning the no confidence vote some extra. That is that anybody member of the Republican caucus within the Home can name a vote of no confidence after which vote out McCarthy as speaker of the Home. I might like to listen to extra concerning the course of. Like, if any person does that vote of no confidence, placing this entire course of into place, what occurs subsequent?

EDMONDSON: Nicely, even the specter of this vote being known as was sufficient to oust John Boehner when he was speaker. Mark Meadows on the time had filed paperwork, basically, that might transfer this vote alongside. And that was sufficient for Boehner to resolve to retire although the vote was truly by no means held. And so a whole lot of the facility of this mechanism is not essentially even in having the vote on the Home flooring. It is the concept that this risk goes to be looming over whoever the speaker is. It is basically paperwork that it’s important to file. You go to the Home clerk. And also you say, I might wish to deliver up this movement to vacate the speaker’s workplace. And ultimately, it should come to the ground for a vote. And all members must vote on whether or not or to not oust the speaker.

Now, I believe it is necessary to notice that every one of those hard-right Republicans who oppose McCarthy have mentioned, this isn’t a mechanism that we wish to use. However they thought it was one thing that they wanted to make sure they’d at their disposal, of their phrases, to maintain McCarthy sincere, to make sure that the entire concessions that he made to them in an effort to safe the speaker’s gavel had an enforcement mechanism, basically.

GROSS: So the idea is that now McCarthy is beholden to the far proper of his get together as a result of he made this concession that anybody member of the Republican caucus can step ahead with a vote of no confidence. But it surely additionally opens the door to, you understand, extra or barely extra reasonable Republicans to come back ahead and do the identical factor. What are the percentages of that taking place?

EDMONDSON: Nicely, that is proper. And I believe it creates a extremely fascinating dynamic as a result of, after all, having this razor-thin majority within the Home – 4 or 5 seats, give or take – it actually emboldens everybody or it offers everybody the chance to throw their weight round, not simply the hard-right flank, however, as you identified, the moderates. However I believe the important thing distinction right here is that usually the reasonable flank of the Home Republican caucus – these are people who find themselves excited by governing. These are individuals who possibly are seen as keen to compromise extra, who’re slightly bit extra go-along-to-get-along, simply to be sure that, once more, the fundamentals of governing get achieved.

And so in the event that they begin to see or really feel that Speaker McCarthy is making too many concessions to that proper flank of the get together, they definitely have the instruments at their disposal to make their displeasure very regarding for Speaker McCarthy, to make it an issue for him. However I believe the final mind-set about this group is that they’re far much less inclined to drag a stunt like threatening a snap vote to oust McCarthy. They’re far much less more likely to attempt to pull some procedural techniques to make McCarthy’s life a nightmare than the hard-right flank is, as a result of on the finish of the day, the exhausting proper’s MO for a very long time has been obstruction and wreaking chaos, whereas the centrists actually wish to present up and simply get issues achieved for his or her constituents and wish to be certain the Home can govern.

GROSS: Nicely, let me reintroduce you right here, after which we’ll discuss some extra. For those who’re simply becoming a member of us, my visitor is Catie Edmondson, who covers Congress for The New York Instances. We’ll be proper again. That is FRESH AIR.


GROSS: That is FRESH AIR. Let’s get again to my interview with Catie Edmondson. She covers Congress for The New York Instances. We’re speaking concerning the new Republican-controlled Home of Representatives led by the brand new speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who made many concessions with the far-right members of his get together in an effort to get elected speaker. It looks as if one of many Republicans to observe within the Home now could be Chip Roy of Texas. Who’s he, and why is he more likely to be necessary on this time period?

EDMONDSON: Yeah, I believe that is completely proper. Chip Roy is a – I consider – sophomore, now, congressman from Texas. He truly was Ted Cruz’s former chief of workers over within the Senate. And Congressman Roy actually emerged because the lead negotiator between the McCarthy camp and the far-right rebels when it got here to ironing out these concessions that McCarthy finally agreed to. Congressman Roy is somebody who is sort of partisan, who’s deeply conservative, however he additionally is absolutely deeply steeped in Home guidelines, within the process of how the Home features. And it’s his perception that basically the best way the Home has functioned has been such that Home management has had method an excessive amount of energy, that that energy must be decentralized and given to the rank-and-file members.

And so he actually was the one that was the brainchild of many of those concessions to, once more, emboldened the correct flank of his get together. So I believe you are proper that he’s somebody to observe on the subject of ensuring these concessions are enforced and simply generally, attempting to determine what route the Home goes to go on the subject of key questions like elevating the debt ceiling.

GROSS: And he needs to take energy away from the management and provides extra particular person congressmen energy. What’s his rationale for doing that?

EDMONDSON: Nicely, he’s somebody who refers to D.C. and Congress because the swamp. He has a perception basically that each single rank-and-file member of Congress, whether or not you are a Republican or a Democrat, needs to be empowered. And he’s somebody who has been actually pissed off with the best way that Congress and particularly the Home has functioned for years now, which is actually that members of management for necessary payments, such because the spending payments that fund the federal government, will get behind closed doorways. They are going to hammer out some type of compromise. There will likely be an enormous thousand-plus web page spending invoice that goes out to the rank and file. They’ve, say, 24, 48 hours to learn it, after which they should vote on it, and so they should vote both on all the invoice or they reject all the invoice.

And so his argument, which has some legitimacy to it, is this isn’t the best way we needs to be governing. We should always every be empowered to recommend concepts, to debate concepts. And we should not have these giant payments shoved down our throat basically by management.

GROSS: Let’s speak about Marjorie Taylor Greene. She is a Trump supporter. She voted for McCarthy. She’s been a QAnon supporter, though she’s stepped again from that, she says. She made a take care of McCarthy to place her again on committees. She was taken off committees by Democrats due to her antisemitic and racist statements, together with on social media. For instance, she mentioned in 2018 on social media that the California fires had been a results of house lasers managed by a conspiracy, a cabal that included the Rothschild banking agency. In fact, whenever you say conspiracy and Rothschild, that could be a very antisemitic trope, as a result of the Rothschilds had been a Jewish banking household and, you understand, for many years or centuries, they have been, you understand, the – on the middle of antisemitic conspiracy theories. So given all that, like, the place is she now by way of the facility construction of the Republican Occasion, and what sort of committees is she more likely to be on? As a result of McCarthy mentioned as a part of the deal that he’d put her on committees.

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EDMONDSON: Proper. Nicely, I additionally wish to return to the rationale why Congresswoman Greene was kicked off her committees. It was as a result of so many of those posts trafficked in anti-Muslim, antisemitic conspiracy theories. However she additionally endorsed a variety of posts suggesting that it might be affordable for violence to be enacted towards Democrats. She had commenters suggesting that Pelosi – then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs to be executed, for instance, and she or he favored that remark. And these posts actually got here out a pair months after the January 6 assault on the Capitol.

So one of many key causes she was booted off of her committees to start with was that she was expressing not solely conspiratorial beliefs – and this was all previous to her run for Congress – however that these posts not solely expressed conspiratorial beliefs, however truly endorsed bodily violence. And this was clearly in a local weather the place Democrats had been extraordinarily involved about the specter of violence towards them. So whenever you take a look at type of the place she began in Congress – she was kicked off of her committees solely a few months after she arrived in Congress – to now, she has a really outstanding function inside the Home Republican Convention.

She is now a key ally of Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a twist that, I believe, not lots of people noticed coming. However she turned a chief cheerleader for him through the speaker struggle. She has mentioned that she wish to be on the oversight committee and that she wish to see investigations right into a slew of matters which can be – type of enrapture the far proper together with the therapy of January 6 rioters on the jail right here in Washington, D.C. And so she has very a lot, previously two to a few years, grow to be somebody who was seen as being on the fringes of the Republican Occasion, somebody who mainstream Republicans privately mentioned they had been considerably embarrassed and appalled by.

And but that is somebody who has been given an especially outstanding place within the Home Republican Convention, somebody who was chosen to take a seat type of entrance and middle at a giant occasion Home Republicans had within the fall unveiling their coverage agenda for the brand new Congress. And so it has been a extremely fascinating journey to observe her, once more, go from somebody who was fully marginalized simply two years in the past to now somebody who is absolutely in a central place inside the convention.

GROSS: Are there Republican plans to punish Democrats, particularly Democrats who participated actively within the impeachment of Trump or within the January 6 committee, to – you understand, to punish them in any method? I imply, like, for instance, Adam Schiff is taken off the intelligence committee, proper?

EDMONDSON: Nobody has been taken off of their committees but. They’re nonetheless within the means of naming everybody to their new committees. However Speaker McCarthy has promised – and he is promised for at the least a yr now – to kick off some Democratic members of Congress from their committees. This was his vow when Democrats determined as well Congresswoman Greene after which Congressman Paul Gosar from their committees, was for those who do that to my members now, I’ll do that to your members when our time within the majority comes. And that is one thing that he has given completely no indication that he plans to shrink back from.

We count on that Adam Schiff goes to be a goal, that Republicans will wish to kick him off of the intelligence committee, which he’s presupposed to be the highest Democrat on due to the function he performed within the first impeachment of former President Trump. And we additionally count on a few different Democrats to be kicked off of their committees as nicely – Eric Swalwell of California, who, once more, was a central participant within the first impeachment of former President Trump, in addition to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from Minnesota.

GROSS: Catie Edmondson covers Congress for The New York Instances. We recorded our interview yesterday morning. Later within the day, it was reported that the Home Republican Steering Committee really useful that Marjorie Taylor Greene be appointed to the Home Homeland Safety Committee and the Home Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Your complete Home Republican Convention is anticipated to ratify the appointments. We’ll hear extra from Catie Edmondson after a break. That is FRESH AIR.


GROSS: That is FRESH AIR. Let’s get again to my interview with Catie Edmondson. She covers Congress for The New York Instances. We’re speaking concerning the new Republican-controlled Home of Representatives led by the brand new speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who made many concessions with the far-right members of his get together in an effort to get elected speaker.

Let’s speak about Kevin McCarthy. You – oh, you wrote in such element (laughter) all through that entire means of him getting elected speaker. So let’s speak about who he’s and the place he is from. Actually, he is from Bakersfield, one of many remaining conservative areas in California. And he was within the state Home earlier than getting elected to Congress. What had been his politics within the state Home?

EDMONDSON: That is proper. Nicely, he was minority chief within the state Home. He was the chief of the Republicans there. And, after all, being a Republican in California, he was all the time within the minority. And so his repute when he was within the state Home was actually of – it was one thing of a dealmaker, truthfully. It was somebody who would strive to determine the place he and his get together might compromise with Democrats to safe some legislative wins. And he additionally, I believe, virtually extra importantly by way of foreshadowing what kind of chief he was to grow to be in Washington, he was recognized in California as a again slapper, somebody who was tremendous affable, somebody who actually wished to get to know his colleagues and made a degree of remembering type of small, considerate little particulars about them, like when their wedding ceremony anniversaries had been. And he retained these latter traits when he got here to D.C. However, after all, when he got here to Washington as a freshman congressman, he rapidly realized that the deal-making compromiser was a model of politician that was going out of favor inside the Home Republican Convention.

GROSS: When he did come to Congress, he was one of many so-called younger weapons, together with Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor. What did they stand for?

EDMONDSON: Yeah, that is proper. The younger weapons created this blueprint, actually, to attempt to recruit recent new faces to run, to take again the Home majority. And the entire thought was that they had been going to attempt to capitalize on the populist fervor that was then sweeping the nation, and notably in Republican circles. This was proper on the cusp of the Tea Occasion actually coming into energy. So it was anti-tax. It was anti-government spending. And finally, the three younger weapons, together with McCarthy, who was often known as the strategist – somebody who knew congressional districts rather well, who was type of an ingenue when it got here to discovering good candidates to recruit – they finally had been profitable. They usually recruited a whole lot of populist-style Tea Occasion candidates. They usually swept in to take again the Home majority.

GROSS: However then the extra far-right members who McCarthy helped deliver into Congress ended up turning towards him.

EDMONDSON: Nicely, that is proper. And I believe this goes again to a theme that we beforehand talked about, was the concept that a few of these true believers, a few of these far-right ideologues, have seen McCarthy as somebody who’s keen to undertake their beliefs for the sake of political expediency and isn’t a real believer himself. So McCarthy at that time had recruited these candidates who had been, once more, anti-tax, anti-spending as a result of he thought that they might win and do nicely. They usually did.

However then they got here to the Home and – shock, shock – they didn’t wish to cross any budgets that didn’t include monumental cuts. They didn’t wish to basically take the votes that members of Congress usually should in an effort to make sure that the federal government stays open, that the federal government can perform. And McCarthy ended up changing into the Home whip. It was his job to be sure that lawmakers voted for some of these payments. And that put him in a extremely precarious place the place a whole lot of these members ended up not absolutely trusting him.

GROSS: What are you retaining your eye on? Is there anybody factor that you just’re most excited by seeing? What will occur?

EDMONDSON: I am actually excited by watching the dynamic play out between a few of these hard-right lawmakers and McCarthy, to see how lengthy this detente lasts. And I believe, total, one other dynamic that is going to be actually necessary to observe is, with a few of these investigations, do Home Republicans overstep? There are some investigations which can be legit. For instance, the pull out of Afghanistan goes to be a extremely fascinating investigation. And it might unearth fascinating new materials. However Republicans might additionally overstep and attempt to run some blindly partisan investigations on points the place there may be legit grounds to probe. And so how they deal with that’s going to be fascinating.

GROSS: Catie Edmondson, thanks a lot for speaking with us. And I stay up for studying extra of your reporting and seeing what is going on on.

EDMONDSON: Thanks a lot for having me.

GROSS: Catie Edmondson covers Congress for The New York Instances. We recorded our interview yesterday morning. Tomorrow on FRESH AIR, because the mishandling of labeled paperwork makes headlines, we’ll discuss with Matthew Connelly. In a brand new e-book, he argues the federal government at this time designates far too many information as labeled, making it exhausting to ever declassify them. The rising degree of presidency secrecy, he says, is dangerous for public accountability. I hope you may be a part of us.


GROSS: Our interviews and critiques are produced and edited by Amy Salit, Phyllis Myers, Sam Briger, Lauren Krenzel, Therese Madden, Ann Marie Baldonado, Thea Chaloner, Seth Kelley, Susan Nyakundi and Joel Wolfram. Our digital media producer is Molly Seavy-Nesper. Roberta Shorrock directs the present. I am Terry Gross.


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International transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an International contractor. This textual content will not be in its last type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability could range. The authoritative file of International’s programming is the audio file.


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