|Speaker update: Rep. Mike Johnson (R–La.) was chosen last night to be the new nominee for speaker of the House. This is after Minnesota’s Tom Emmer dropped out, having spent much of yesterday securing votes.
Johnson, who is serving his fourth term in the House, was named to Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team and “played a leading role in recruiting House Republicans to sign a legal brief supporting a lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election results,” reports The New York Times. He’s a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and is broadly well-liked by colleagues.
The House will probably vote on Johnson today; 217 votes must be secured to become speaker.
Make no mistake: “The United States does not seek conflict with Iran,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the United Nations Security Council yesterday. “But if Iran or its proxies attack US personnel anywhere, make no mistake: We will defend our people, we will defend our security, swiftly and decisively.”
“To all the members of this council: If you, like the United States, want to prevent this conflict from spreading, tell Iran, tell its proxies—in public, in private, through every means—do not open another front against Israel in this conflict,” Blinken continued.
Blinken is referring to the possibility of strikes escalating between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah on the much-watched northern front. Many observers fear that a ground invasion of Gaza with the intent of wiping out Hamas could trigger entry into the conflict from Hezbollah, seeing a weakened Israel and pushing them to fight on two fronts at once.
Officials also report that strikes from other Iran-backed groups on U.S. targets have ramped up in recent days; back-channel talks with Iran have been ongoing, but Blinken’s admonition yesterday was significant due to its public, urgent nature.