US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson found himself in a challenging position after Iran attacked Israel. According to sources familiar with the situation, as reported by CNN, Johnson was on the phone with House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, indicating his readiness to act on foreign aid, despite the potential consequences for his position as speaker.

Upon his return to Washington, Johnson faced criticism from Republican colleagues for his plan to hold separate votes on aid for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. This approach could have triggered a vote to remove him as speaker.

“He was torn between trying to save his job and do the right thing,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, a top Ukraine advocate who was with Johnson the night before the legislation was released, told CNN. “He prayed over it.”

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Despite pressure, Johnson stood firm in his decision to move ahead with billions of dollars in foreign aid, including aid for Ukraine. The aid package ultimately passed with bipartisan support.

Johnson’s decision to support Ukraine represents a significant change. He had previously voted against funding for Kyiv.

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

“My philosophy is do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may. If I operated out of fear over a motion to vacate, I would never be able to do my job. Look, history judges us for what we do. This is a critical time right now,” Johnson said Wednesday.

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The moves follow Georgia’s adoption of a Russian-style “foreign influence” law which critics say is meant to stifle dissent against the government.

“I can make a selfish decision and do something that is different, but I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing. I think providing aid to Ukraine right now is critically important,” the speaker added.

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

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According to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Burns painted a dire picture of the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine and emphasized 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.

Facing criticism from both sides, Johnson stood by his decision. He emphasized the importance of providing aid to Ukraine and other countries facing threats.

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

However, Democrats have expressed a willingness to support him, especially after he defied his party’s anti-Ukrainian flank to pass the aid package.

In a heated exchange 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 on motions to remove the speaker.

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