with Tobi Raji

Welcome to today's edition of, how is it only Wednesday? This is the Power Up newsletter – thanks for waking up with us. 

🚨TEL AVIV – “Millions of civilians in Israel and the Gaza Strip endured a second night of deadly airstrikes as the worst violence in years between the Israeli military and Gaza militants continued to escalate Wednesday,” our colleagues Shira Rubin and Steve Hendrix report. 

  • "Some 35 Gazans, including 12 children, according to Palestinian health officials, and six Israelis, including one teenage girl, according to Israeli health officials, have been killed in the worst bout of violence in seven years, resurfacing familiar patterns of tit-for-tat retaliatory rocket salvos while also spurring a much more rare outburst of mass civil unrest among Palestinian citizens of Israel.

On the Hill

JUST GETTING STARTED: Rep. Liz Cheney is not going down without a fight. 

Ahead of the vote this morning likely to purge her the House GOP leadership, the Wyoming Republican took to the House chamber on Tuesday evening to once again repudiate former president Donald Trump's falsehoods about the 2020 election and his actions leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

  • “Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Cheney told a nearly empty chamber. “I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence, while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”
  • A source familiar with her thinking told our Marianna Sotomayor what to expect from Cheney today: “Cheney is planning to make remarks during the conference meeting IF leadership allows for remarks. [Lawmakers] haven't been alerted about how this will all go down As for her future, she's definitely not resigning from Congress, plans to run for reelection and will remain heavily focused on being a leader in the fight over the direction of the GOP,” Marianna reports.

Cheney's frontal assault on Trump, as she is likely to today be replaced as the House GOP Conference chair by Rep. Elise Stefanik (D-N.Y.), seems like just the beginning of a larger crusade.

  • “Rather than focusing on whipping votes to save her job as conference chair, the Wyoming Republican this week has been drafting plans for increased travel and media appearances meant to drive home her case that Trump is unfit for a role in the Republican Party or as the nation’s leader were he to run in 2024, according to a person briefed on the plans,” our colleagues Josh Dawsey and Michael Scherer report this morning.

‘Potential to grow’: Cheney is also “considering an expanded political operation that would allow her to endorse and financially support other Republican candidates who share her view of the danger that Trump poses to the Republican Party and the country, the person said,” per Josh and Michael.

  • “Cheney has told allies she realizes the effort could take years and cost her donors and even her job. Those aware of her plans, like others for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to reflect private conversations.” 
  • “She is I think the leader of the non-Trump Republicans, and I don’t know how big that group is,” Bill Kristol, a prominent conservative critic of Trump who chairs the Republican Accountability Project, told them. “It could be 10 to 15 percent of the party though, and that is a lot of people. It is a fair number of donors, and it has the potential to grow.”

Cheney's lonely mission flies in the face of the mandate from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has warned colleagues divisions in the GOP could undermine their effort to recapture the majority in 2022.

  • “The challenge facing Cheney and other Trump antagonists is steep, with Trump having solidified his support among the roughly 1 in 4 American adults who identify as Republicans. A February poll by Quinnipiac found that 7 percent of GOP voters viewed Cheney favorably, compared to 36 percent who had an unfavorable view of her, per Josh and Michael.

FPPO: House Republicans are set to meet privately  at 9 a.m. where a secret-ballot vote to remove Cheney from her leadership role is expected to happen. 

  • Leaders have urged Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) to officially call for the vote to oust Cheney but Foxx last night would not confirm whether she'll be doing so, according to Marianna. 
  • As for how Cheney will fare?: “I think tomorrow's pretty much a fairly a foregone conclusion,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told reporters last night of Cheney's fate. 

It's also unclear when the vote to replace Cheney occur. Stefanik is Trump's clear choice and she has the support of McCarthy and Rep. Steve Scalise (La.), the party's No. 2 House leader. But some of Stefanik's peers have raised concerns about her moderate voting record.

  • Politico's Olivia Beavers first obtained a memo by Roy sent to all House GOPers urging them not to rush to “coronate a spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats.” 
  • “The lack of any challenger doesn't remove any questions I have about her voting record and whether her positions are going to interfere with our ability to look to message for the conference,” Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.) told Marianna last night on Stefanik.
  • “I know there's some concern but she has McCarthy, Scalise and [Rep. Jim] Jordan (R-Ohio) whipping votes,” a House GOP aide told Power Up.

A GOP aide told Power Up that while they haven't been provided guidance from leadership, they expect a two-step process: 

  • “[Today] a vote on removal, then I believe that there will be another meeting on replacement at a later date,” the aide told us. “But it could all get done tomorrow because it's all internal.”

Our colleague Michael Kranish went deep on Stefanik's dramatic transformation: How did the moderate, bipartisan version of Stefanik become one of the most stalwart believers in Trump-promoted falsehoods that have undermined faith in democracy?” 

  • Behind the scenes at Stefanik's D.C. wedding shower: “All of the invitees were female members of Congress, carefully drawn from both political parties, leading some to celebrate not only her betrothal but also her willingness to defy President Trump,” Kranish reports.
  • "[Stefanik] had said Trump’s behavior toward women was 'just wrong.' She said ‘I absolutely oppose’ key parts of his foreign policy. She voted against his tax-cut plan, opposed his immigration policy and said his border wall plan was unrealistic. She disagreed with him about leaving an international climate change treaty, panned his tariffs and expressed concerns about his Russia policy. And she supported special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Moscow’s influence on the 2016 election."

At the White House

THE GRAND OLD PARTY OF DISCORD: “President Biden is seizing on this week’s dramatic moment of Republican discord by inviting a parade of officeholders from both parties to grapple with major national challenges, hoping to portray himself as working to solve the country’s problems in contrast to the Republicans’s internal bloodletting,” our colleagues Matt Viser and Mike DeBonis report

  • “From a bipartisan meeting with governors on covid Tuesday to a session with GOP senators on infrastructure on Thursday, Biden is attempting to highlight a contrasting approach to government as a series of big legislative battles loom.”
  • “The divergent images will crystallize [today] with an unusual split screen. Just before noon, Biden is convening the top party leaders for the first time at the White House  — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), [McCarthy], Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).”

In the agencies

THE WAR ON DOMESTIC TERRORISM: “The Justice Department is throwing more resources into its fight against domestic terrorism and working with foreign partners and tech companies to help stem the growing threat, Attorney General Merrick Garland plans to tell lawmakers” today, our colleague Matt Zapotosky writes. 

  • “Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Garland plans to outline how the department’s myriad components are focusing on domestic violent extremists, whom the intelligence community has assessed as posing an ‘elevated threat’ this year, according to a written copy of his opening statement.”
  • “The department, Garland will say, is ‘deepening collaboration’ with foreign countries to explore possible links between domestic violent extremists and their counterparts abroad, as well as sharing information with tech companies ‘to help them address the spread of domestic violent extremist activity online.’”
  • “Simultaneously, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform will be questioning former Trump administration officials and others about the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, particularly how they prepared and what they did as the complex was being attacked.”

OUR COLLEAGUE'S NEW BOOK ON SECRET SERVICE: “On Sept. 11, 2001, Secret Service agents raced Vice President Richard B. Cheney to a secure underground bunker below the White House — only to realize that they couldn’t immediately usher him inside to safety because they didn’t have the tightly guarded S-keys required to open the shelter,” our colleague Ashley Parker writes

  • “Almost a decade later, Secret Service agents allowed a disoriented homeless man to wander through an unguarded staircase and get within steps of first lady Michelle Obama’s suite at the Beverly Hilton hotel.”
  • “Years after that, President Donald Trump was consumed with getting overweight Secret Service agents removed from their posts, saying he wanted ‘these fat guys off my detail’ and asking: “How are they going to protect me and my family if they can’t run down the street?”
  • “These are among the revelations in ‘Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service,’ a new book by [our colleague] Carol D. Leonnig that chronicles the successes, missteps and evolution of the agency tasked with protecting the American president.”

The People magazine treatment: “Tiffany and Vanessa Trump had eyebrow-raising relationships with the Secret Service agents protecting their family while Donald Trump was in the White House, a new book claims,” per People's Sean Neumann. 

  • Leonnig's book describes how “Trump's youngest daughter and Donald Trump Jr.'s now-ex-wife both became ‘inappropriately — and perhaps dangerously — close’ to members of the security detail. (A spokeswoman for Tiffany [Trump] denies this.)”
  • “According to The Guardian's description, Leonnig cites Secret Service agents to report that Vanessa had 'started dating one of the agents who had been assigned to her family.'… Tiffany sparked her own connection with a Secret Service agent with whom she ‘began spending an unusual amount of time alone’ after a breakup.”

BORDER ARRESTS ROSE SLIGHTLY, BUT FEWER MINORS ARE CROSSING: “Immigration arrests and detentions along the U.S.-Mexico border rose slightly in April to 178,622, the highest one-month total in two decades, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data published Tuesday, but a decline in the number of teens and children arriving without parents eased pressure on the Biden administration,” our colleague Nick Miroff reports

  • “U.S. officials say crossings have leveled off in part as a result of tighter enforcement by Mexican authorities, who have deployed 10,000 soldiers and police officers along the country’s southern border with Guatemala.”

From the courts

JUDGE DENIES THE NRA, IMPERILING GUN GROUP: “A federal judge Tuesday denied an effort by the National Rifle Association to file for bankruptcy protection, ruling that the gun rights group had filed the case in a bad-faith attempt to fend off a lawsuit by the New York attorney general,” our colleague Tom Hamburger reports

  • “The decision was a victory for New York Attorney General Letitia James, who filed a far-reaching civil suit against the group last August accusing top officials of fraud and self-dealing. NRA chief Wayne LaPierre and his legal team had contended that the lawsuit was a political act intended to destroy the organization.”
  • “The ruling brings the NRA to a crossroads 150 years after its founding in New York. It now faces a legal reckoning in the state … [and] the future for the NRA itself, and in particular LaPierre, will become more uncertain,” the New York Times’s Danny Hakim reports.

Global power

VIOLENCE BETWEEN ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS ESCALATES: The dial on American foreign policy has returned to the Middle East. 

  • “Determined to shift the focus of American foreign policy to China from the Middle East, Biden has issued familiar endorsements of a two-state solution while making little effort to push the parties toward one. But as spiraling riots, rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and airstrikes on Gaza threaten to escalate into a major conflict, calls are growing in the Democratic Party for Biden to play a more active role,” the New York Times’s Michael Crowley reports.
  •  White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters yesterday President Biden has directed his team to engage "intensively with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, as well as leaders throughout the Middle East."

Viral

WELCOME TO THE POST, SALLY BUZBEE! “The Washington Post has named longtime journalist Sally Buzbee of the Associated Press as its executive editor, marking the first time a woman has been appointed to lead the 143-year-old news organization,” our colleague Paul Farhi reports. “Buzbee, AP’s executive editor and senior vice president, will take over leadership of The Post’s nearly 1,000-person newsroom next month.”

  • "Every day when I work, I am conscious of the women who came before me in this profession that we love so much and who broke down so many barriers,” Buzbee told the Times's Rachel Abrams and Katie Robertson. “And I am grateful to them pretty much every day of my life, because I know that it took work and guts, and I really do feel that they paved the way for things that are happening now.”