House Speaker's support for Ukraine affected by CIA briefing: CNN

US House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson found himself in a difficult situation after Iran attacked Israel. According to sources familiar with the situation, CNN reportedJohnson spoke by phone with House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, indicating his willingness to act on foreign aid, despite the potential consequences for his position as president.

Upon his return to Washington, Johnson faced criticism from fellow Republicans over his plan to hold separate votes on aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. This approach could have led to a vote to remove him from the position of Speaker of Parliament.

“He was torn between trying to save his job and doing the right thing,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, a leading Ukraine advocate who was with Johnson the night before the legislation was passed, told CNN. “Pray for him.”

Despite the pressure, Johnson remained steadfast in his decision to press ahead with billions of dollars in foreign aid, including aid to Ukraine. The aid package was eventually approved with bipartisan support.

Johnson's decision to support Ukraine represents a major change. He had previously voted against funding Kyiv.

However, after receiving advice from Republican national security voices and a direct appeal from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Johnson changed his position.

“My philosophy is to do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may. If I act out of fear of being asked to vacate, I will never be able to do my job. Look, history is judging us on what we do. This is a critical time now,” Johnson said Wednesday.

“I could make a selfish decision and do something different, but here I'm doing what I think is the right thing. I think providing assistance to Ukraine right now is crucial,” the spokesman added.

According to sources, Johnson's decision was also influenced by a key intelligence briefing by CIA Director William Burns.

According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, Burns painted a bleak picture of the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine and stressed the global consequences of inaction. The briefing left a lasting impression on Johnson, who became increasingly convinced that the fate of Western democracy was at stake, according to sources close to him.

In the face of criticism from both sides, Johnson stuck to his decision. He stressed the importance of providing assistance to Ukraine and other countries facing threats.

If Johnson is challenged for his position as president by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her supporters, he may need Democratic support to remain in office.

However, Democrats expressed a willingness to support him, especially after he challenged his party's anti-Ukraine wing to pass the aid package.

In a heated debate on the House floor, Johnson faced opposition from hardline Republicans but received support from center-right members. He also faced pressure to change the rules surrounding speaker impeachment motions.

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