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Trump says he thinks Speaker Mike Johnson is ‘doing a very good job’ amid threat of impeachment from Marjorie Taylor Greene

Former President Donald Trump expressed support for House Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday when asked about GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene‘s motion to remove the Louisiana Republican from his chairmanship.

Standing next to Johnson at a press conference at Mar-a-Lago, Trump said: “We get along really well with the speaker, and I get along really well with Marjorie. We have a speaker who was chosen, and it was a complicated process. And I don’t think it’s an easy situation for any speaker.”

Friday’s event at Mar-a-Lago, which sources say was the speaker’s idea, comes as Johnson faces the most serious challenge to his speakership yet in Washington, while Greene dangles the possibility of a to force a vote to oust him from the top leadership post. .

Johnson’s decision to host an event with the former president gives the speaker an opportunity to seek political cover as he faces intense pressure from his right flank on a variety of policy issues, including aid to Ukraine, and faces with important decisions about the road ahead.

On Friday, Trump said Johnson was “doing a very good job.”

‘And I’m sure Marjorie understands that, she’s a very good friend of mine. And I know she has a lot of respect for the speaker,” Trump said.

Sources familiar with the matter said Johnson will have a different mission in mind during his meeting with Trump: briefing the former president on a possible Ukraine aid package — a politically dangerous policy issue that could draw the ire of Trump, the Republican Party could divide the House of Representatives and put an end to Johnson’s new speakership. Some of the speaker’s allies have counseled Johnson to keep Trump informed of his plans regarding Ukraine, recognizing that Trump’s support — or opposition — could make or break the legislation, as could Johnson’s speakership .

Johnson and Trump used the joint news conference Friday afternoon to partly “draw attention to” what they say are state proposals and lawsuits that would allow noncitizens to vote, a senior Trump adviser said. Currently, federal law prohibits noncitizens from voting in federal elections, and noncitizens who cast ballots illegally face fines of up to a year in prison and deportation. However, Trump has routinely made false claims that Democrats want undocumented immigrants to enter the country to influence the election.

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In his comments, Johnson promised a vote on a bill that would require proof of citizenship to vote even though it is already illegal, creating a cynical mood over political messaging.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure that we have free and fair elections in this country…we are introducing legislation that would require anyone registering to vote in federal elections to first prove that he or she is a U.S. is a citizen,” Johnson said. , standing next to the former president.

The issue has become somewhat of a rallying cry for Republicans, who are trying to stoke fears around immigration and election security ahead of the November election as voters continue to see the border issue as a top priority.

Trump spent Friday evening on the patio at Mar-a-Lago with Johnson and Richard Hudson, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, where a source close to the speaker said the three were coordinating congressional races and possible Trump endorsements.

Trump’s influence — and the extent to which he wades into Republicans’ power struggles in the House of Representatives — has the potential to be a powerful force in the battle for speakership.

Johnson’s allies have asked Trump to publicly support the speaker or at least avoid his back-and-forth with Republicans in the House of Representatives, according to multiple sources close to both Johnson and Trump.

Trump has already shown how he can make governing even more difficult for Johnson. Just this week, the former president called on Republicans to end the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a position Trump took as the speaker tried to push a reauthorization bill through his chamber. Following Trump’s call to abolish the bill, a group of conservative hardliners rebelled against the Republican Party’s leadership, sparking a procedural vote in the chamber and subverting the push to pass the bill.

On Thursday, Majority Leader Steve Scalise told reporters that members had spoken to Trump about FISA in the past 24 hours after Trump called on members to “kill FISA” ahead of the procedural vote.

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“There have been some conversations with the president, and I’m not going to share those conversations, but I think the two-year sunset resonates with a lot of people,” Scalise said.

If the legislation no longer takes effect two years later, that would mean that if Trump were to win the presidential election, it would be up to him to reform FISA laws next time. The amended legislation passed the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon, but not without angering some conservatives over an amendment that failed by one vote.

Johnson has long been a staunch supporter of Trump and has worked behind the scenes on Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. CNN previously reported that after the election, Johnson sent an email from a personal email account to every Republican in the House of Representatives requesting signatures in support of a long-running lawsuit in Texas seeking to overturn the Electoral College votes from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed by the Supreme Court.

However, it is not clear what Trump will do now that Johnson is threatened with a vote to remove him from the presidency.

When Johnson was elected chairman, he was initially embraced by conservatives as his ideology had long been considered more right-wing than former chairman Kevin McCarthy. But as speaker, Johnson, with the support of Democrats, has faced the challenge of presiding over a historically narrow majority and overseeing the passage of major bills such as public financing legislation, which has angered conservatives.

Greene signaled Thursday that she will continue her efforts to oust Johnson even if Trump supports him when they meet Friday.

Greene said she sees the effort to impeach Johnson as “separate” from the former president’s work with the speaker. When CNN’s Manu Raju was repeatedly asked if she would still continue her effort to target Johnson if Trump is behind him, Greene repeatedly indicated she was unwilling to drop the effort.

“I think the motion to evict is also supported by quite a few members of our conference. That is an internal matter of the House with our elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. Totally two separate issues. Hopefully they have a great meeting tomorrow,” she said.

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Many Republicans in the House of Representatives, however, do not want Johnson to be stripped of the gavel and fear a return to the chaos and dysfunction that consumed their conference for weeks after conservatives ousted McCarthy in a historic and unprecedented vote last year.

Johnson told House Republicans during a closed-door meeting Wednesday that he had spoken with the former president the day before. But when asked by CNN whether he had sought Trump’s support amid a possible vote to impeach him, Johnson said: “I’m not going to comment on the conversations with President Trump.”

Trump’s team also declined to comment on the call.

However, Johnson warned that “there would be chaos in the House of Representatives” if there were a vote to impeach the speaker.

Greene, one of Trump’s most loyal supporters, also told CNN that she recently spoke with Trump but declined to reveal how he feels about her efforts.

Johnson and Greene were also seen speaking on the House floor on Friday. Johnson said the two talked about “all kinds of things,” adding: “Dialogue is important.”

“Marjorie and I agree on our conservative philosophy,” Johnson told reporters. “Sometimes we just have different ideas about strategy. The most important part of governing in an age of divided government like we have is communicating with the members and understanding the thought process behind it so that they have a say in it.”

Still, Greene was among conservatives who sharply criticized Johnson after an amendment they favored was not tied to FISA reauthorization.

“Speaker Johnson was the final vote to KILL the amendment that would end the baseless surveillance of Americans. What is the difference between Speaker Johnson and Speaker Nancy Pelosi?” she wrote on X on Friday. “I think this will tell a lot of people what I said.”

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Fredreka Schouten, Lauren Fox, Haley Talbot and Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.

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