CNN: Speaker Johnson Agreed On Ukraine Aid After Briefing From CIA Director

(MENAFN- UkrinForm) In the week leading up to the vote on aid to Ukraine, House Speaker Mike Johnson faced the dilemma of whether to continue refusing to bring the issue to Congress or risk being fired from his current position.

The day after Iran attacked Israel, House Speaker Mike Johnson was on the phone with a man who suddenly held the keys to his legislative agenda and potentially his own future: House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, Ukrinform reports, citing CNN .

Johnson said he was ready to act on foreign aid, even though that would enrage Republicans who did not support additional assistance to Ukraine and could potentially cost him his job, a source familiar with the conversation told CNN.

On Tuesday, after meeting with representatives of his church (the Southern Baptist Convention), Johnson was wrestling how to proceed.

"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."

Read also: U.S. aid increases Ukraine's chances at victory - Yermak

On Wednesday, Johnson was determined that he was on the right path to make the most consequential decision of his political career by moving ahead with billions of dollars in foreign aid.

"My philosophy is do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may. If I operated out of fear over motion to vacate, I would never be able to do my job. [...] I think providing aid to Ukraine right now is critically important," Johnson said Wednesday.

The speaker's embrace of Ukraine aid represents a remarkable evolution for Johnson, who voted against funding for the country as a rank-and-file member. But almost immediately after securing the speaker's gavel, sources say he began to hear directly from critical Republican national security voices – including Donald Trump's former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who impressed upon him the urgent need to approve assistance for Ukraine in its fight against Russia's invasion.

And more recently, Johnson received a key intelligence briefing from CIA Director Bill Burns, who painted a picture of the dire situation on the battlefield in Ukraine and the global consequences of inaction, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. The briefing left a lasting impression, and Johnson became increasingly convinced the fate of Western democracy was on his shoulders, sources close to him said.

Another factor that sources say weighed heavily on his decision-making: Johnson's oldest son was recently accepted into the Naval Academy.

"To put it bluntly, I would rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys. My son is going to begin in the Naval Academy this fall. [...] This is not a game, this is not a joke," Johnson said.

The U.S. House of Representatives on April 20 adopted a package of foreign aid bills worth $95 billion, including a $61 billion aid bill for Ukraine.

The Ukraine aid bill received support from 311 congressmen, including 210 Democrats and 101 Republicans. At the same time, 112 congressmen (all Republicans) voted against the bill. The Senate is to consider the document on Tuesday.

Photo: Greg Nash



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