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Biden’s Meeting with the ‘Big four’ and Liz Cheney’s Ouster: Live Updates

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Cheney Speaks After Vote to Remove Her From Republican Leadership

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming was ousted from the House Republican leadership ranks on Wednesday over her refusal to stay quiet about Donald J. Trump’s election lies. Cheney said she would do everything she can to make sure that the former president doesn’t take office again.

“I am absolutely committed, as I said last night, and as I said, just now to my colleagues, that we must go forward based on truth. We cannot both embrace the big lie and embrace the Constitution. And going forward, the nation needs it. The nation needs a strong Republican Party. The nation needs a party that is based upon fundamental principles of conservatism. I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president, never again, gets anywhere near the Oval Office. We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language. We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution.” Reporter: “Do you feel betrayed by today’s vote?” “I do not. I think that it is an indication of where the Republican Party is. And I think that the party is in a place that we’ve got to bring it back from. And we’ve got to get back to a position where we are a party that can fight for conservative principles, that can fight for substance. We cannot be dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of a former president — thank you.”

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Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming was ousted from the House Republican leadership ranks on Wednesday over her refusal to stay quiet about Donald J. Trump’s election lies. Cheney said she would do everything she can to make sure that the former president doesn’t take office again.CreditCredit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

House Republicans purged Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming from their leadership ranks on Wednesday, voting to oust their No. 3 for her refusal to stay quiet about Donald J. Trump’s election lies, in a remarkable takedown of one of their own that reflected the party’s intolerance for dissent and unswerving fealty to the former president.

The action came by voice vote during a brief but raucous closed-door meeting in an auditorium on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning, after Ms. Cheney made a defiant final speech that drew boos from her colleagues.

In her parting remarks, Ms. Cheney urged Republicans not to “let the former president drag us backward,” according to a person familiar with the private comments who detailed them on condition of anonymity. Ms. Cheney warned that Republicans were going down a path that would bring their “destruction,” and “possibly the destruction of our country,” the person said, adding that if the party wanted a leader who would “enable and spread his destructive lies,” they should vote to remove her.

Republicans did just that, after greeting her speech with boos, according to two people present, speaking on the condition on anonymity to discuss an internal discussion. They ultimately opted not to hold a recorded vote, after Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader, said that they should vote by voice to show unity.

Emerging from the meeting, Ms. Cheney remained unremorseful, and said she was committed to doing “everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets near the Oval Office.”

“We must go forward based on truth,” Ms. Cheney told reporters. “We cannot both embrace the big lie and embrace the Constitution.”

The action came the day after Ms. Cheney had delivered a broadside on the House floor against Mr. Trump and the party leaders working to oust her, accusing them of being complicit in undermining the democratic system.

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‘I Will Not Sit Back,’ Liz Cheney Says Before House Republican Vote

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming said she would not sit quietly as the party abandoned the rule of law.

I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law. The Electoral College has voted, the election is over, that is the rule of law, that is our constitutional process. Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution. Our duty is clear, every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy. This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. 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.

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Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming said she would not sit quietly as the party abandoned the rule of law.CreditCredit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

In a scathing speech, Ms. Cheney said that the country was facing a “never seen before” threat of a former president who provoked the Capitol attack on Jan. 6 and who had “resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him.”

“Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” she said. “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.”

Mr. Trump weighed in on Wednesday morning as lawmakers were gathering to force Ms. Cheney out, saying he was looking forward to the ouster of a woman he called “a poor leader, a major Democrat talking point, a warmonger, and a person with absolutely no personality or heart.”

Top Republicans have labored to avoid talking about the Capitol riot and have painted Ms. Cheney’s removal as a forward-looking move that would allow them to move past that day.

“Each day spent relitigating the past is one day less we have to seize the future,” Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, wrote in a letter to party members on Monday.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Instead, the episode has only called attention to the party’s devotion to Mr. Trump, its tolerance for authoritarianism, and internal divisions between more mainstream and conservative factions about how to win back the House in 2022. All of those dynamics threaten to alienate independent and suburban voters, thus undercutting what otherwise appears to be a sterling opportunity for Republicans to reclaim the majority.

As a replacement for Ms. Cheney, Republican leaders have united behind Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, a onetime moderate whose loyalty to Mr. Trump and backing for his false claims of election fraud have earned her broad support from the party’s rank and file that Ms. Cheney, a lifelong conservative, no longer commands.

If Ms. Stefanik is elected this week to replace Ms. Cheney, as expected, the top three House Republican leadership posts will be held by lawmakers who voted not to certify President Biden’s victory in January. In recent days, however, some hard-right Republicans have attacked Ms. Stefanik as insufficiently conservative and suggested the party should consider someone else.

President Biden visited Lake Charles, La., on Thursday to promote his American Jobs Plan.
President Biden visited Lake Charles, La., on Thursday to promote his American Jobs Plan.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

President Biden on Wednesday will meet with Republican and Democratic leaders from both houses of Congress for the first time since taking office, pressing them on his proposals to spend $4 trillion for infrastructure and families.

Mr. Biden is scheduled to meet with Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, and Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, and their counterparts in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, according to people familiar with the meeting. They will discuss the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which seeks to expand access to education, reduce the cost of child care and support women in the work force, and the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, which is aimed at infrastructure spending.

Republicans have balked at the idea of spending an additional $4 trillion after they helped pass $1.9 trillion in stimulus spending at the start of Mr. Biden’s term. Some Republican members of Congress have proposed smaller packages aimed at more targeted improvements to infrastructure and have said that Mr. Biden’s proposals amount to a tax increase on middle class Americans.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Tuesday that the president wants the meeting to be “a discussion about where we can find common agreement, where there’s an opportunity to work together moving forward.”

Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have toured the country in recent weeks arguing that the spending is necessary to create jobs and ensure that the economic recovery from one of the nation’s deepest recessions doesn’t lose momentum. They have defended the infrastructure proposal from criticism that it includes too much spending on social services programs unrelated to the traditional road-rail-and-sewer definition of infrastructure.

The meeting on Wednesday comes less than a week after a disappointing jobs report, which showed only 266,000 new jobs added in April. Republicans pointed to the data point as proof that Mr. Biden’s policies were creating a labor shortage and that his spending proposals threatened to stoke runaway inflation.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, has declared himself to be “100 percent focused” on stopping President Biden’s agenda.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, has declared himself to be “100 percent focused” on stopping President Biden’s agenda.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

When Joe Biden won the presidency, hopes rose that he might be the rare Democrat who could finally crack the code of Mitch McConnell and find bipartisan common ground based on their shared past as Senate deal makers.

Nearly five months into President Biden’s tenure, those aspirations have yet to materialize, and Mr. McConnell, the Republican leader, made plain last week that he had little interest in nurturing them, declaring himself to be “100 percent focused” on stopping Mr. Biden’s agenda.

With the top four congressional leaders scheduled on Wednesday to gather for the first time with Mr. Biden at the White House, Mr. McConnell’s stance has only underscored the obstacles ahead. The senator has intensified his attacks on Mr. Biden’s legislative agenda. His office accuses the president of mixing “centrist words, liberal actions.”

Mr. McConnell made his “100 percent” remark — a comment that was quickly compared with his 2010 declaration that he was determined to make Barack Obama a one-term president — last week during a trip back home to Kentucky.

Mr. McConnell quickly sought to walk back last week’s comment, claiming that it was taken out of context, but the narrative was set.

With attempts to reach bipartisan deals on infrastructure, police conduct, safety net programs and more entering a critical phase, Mr. McConnell and Mr. Biden couldn’t be further apart, indicating that if the White House is to successfully reach across the aisle for agreements, it is much more likely to be with a small group of Republicans absent Mr. McConnell and most of the rest of his members.

“We have a good personal relationship, but I will not be supporting the kind of things they are doing so far,” Mr. McConnell said of Mr. Biden in a recent interview.

Privately, White House officials argue that Mr. McConnell’s position will help Democrats justify using procedural tools to force through legislation without Republican votes should that become necessary, as most expect it will.

They believe that Mr. McConnell’s rigid defiance sets up a winning contrast for Mr. Biden as he continues to profess openness to working with Republicans. If such bipartisanship proves impossible, the officials argue, Democrats need only to point to the minority leader’s own words to explain why.

Former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, center, met with members of the National Guard outside the Capitol on Jan 17.
Former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, center, met with members of the National Guard outside the Capitol on Jan 17.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Christopher C. Miller, who was the acting defense secretary when rioters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, appeared before Congress on Wednesday and was set to testify that he worried that sending troops to the complex would contribute to perceptions of a “military coup” under President Donald J. Trump.

He will also blame Mr. Trump for encouraging the violent mob that overran the Capitol Police, according to written testimony submitted to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Mr. Miller’s comments, part of the lengthy defense of the Pentagon’s actions before and during the mob violence, are the first he will make in sworn testimony as various committees investigate the largest attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. He is set to testify during an hourslong hearing before the committee at 10 a.m.

“I personally believe his comments encouraged the protesters that day,” Mr. Miller plans to say about Mr. Trump.

Fear of the appearance of a coup was not an explanation given by the Pentagon in the days after the riot. At the time, Defense Department officials said they largely held back because they were not asked to send troops. District of Columbia officials, the former chief of the Capitol Police and Maryland’s Republican governor have all said that they called for the National Guard to be deployed for hours on Jan. 6 before the Pentagon gave approval.

During the hearing, Democrats plan to press Mr. Miller and Jeffrey A. Rosen, the former acting attorney general, on what they believe is a “stark contrast” between how aggressively the Justice and Defense Departments responded to Black Lives Matter protests over the summer and the pro-Trump mob attack on the Capitol, according to a committee aide. Democrats also plan to ask whether the Justice Department had a “blind spot to right-wing extremism” that prevented it from anticipating the potential for violence, the aide said.

“The failures of Jan. 6 go beyond the craven lies and provocations of one man,” Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the committee chairwoman, said in her opening statement. “The federal government was unprepared for this insurrection, even though it was planned in plain sight on social media for the world to see. And despite all the military and law enforcement resources our government can call upon in a crisis, security collapsed in the face of the mob, and reinforcements were delayed for hours as the Capitol was overrun.”

During her opening statement, Ms. Maloney criticized the Justice Department and the F.B.I. for failing to provide even a “single piece of paper” in response to the committee’s investigation into the assault.

Workers leaving a General Motors plant in Silao, Mexico in 2019.
Workers leaving a General Motors plant in Silao, Mexico in 2019.Credit…Sergio Maldonado/Reuters

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it was asking Mexico to review whether labor violations had occurred at a General Motors plant in the country, a significant step using a new labor enforcement tool in the revised North American trade deal.

The administration is seeking the review under the novel “rapid response” mechanism in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement and took effect last summer. Under the mechanism, penalties can be brought against a specific factory for violating workers’ rights of free association and collective bargaining.

The administration “received information appearing to indicate serious violations” of workers’ rights at the G.M. facility, in Silao in the central state of Guanajuato, in connection with a recent vote on their collective-bargaining agreement, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said.

The vote was stopped last month amid accusations that the union at the plant had tampered with it, according to news reports. Mexico’s Labor Ministry said on Tuesday that it had found “serious irregularities” in the vote and ordered that it be held again within 30 days.

In a statement, Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, said the announcement on Wednesday “shows the Biden-Harris administration’s serious commitment to workers and a worker-centered trade policy.”

“Using U.S.M.C.A. to help protect freedom of association and collective-bargaining rights in Mexico helps workers both at home and in Mexico, by stopping a race to the bottom,” she said, using the initials for the trade deal. “It also supports Mexico’s efforts to implement its recent labor law reforms.”

In a statement, General Motors said that it believed it had no role in the alleged labor violations and that it had asked a third-party firm to review the matter. The company, which makes Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Cheyenne and GMC Sierra pickup trucks at the Silao plant, said it would cooperate with Mexico’s Labor Ministry and the U.S. government.

Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, in a cabinet meeting with President Donald J. Trump in 2018.
Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, in a cabinet meeting with President Donald J. Trump in 2018.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The Biden administration and House Democrats have reached a tentative deal to allow President Donald J. Trump’s former White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, to testify before Congress about Mr. Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia inquiry, according to a court filing late Tuesday.

The deal appears likely to avert a definitive court precedent that would draw a clear line in ambiguous areas: the scope and limits of Congress’s constitutional power to compel testimony for its oversight responsibilities, and a president’s constitutional power to keep secret conversations with a White House lawyer.

An appeals court had been set to hear arguments on the case next week, but lawyers for the Justice Department, which has been defending Mr. McGahn since 2019 against a House subpoena seeking to compel his testimony, and for the House of Representatives, asked the court in a joint letter to drop that plan.What to do about the subpoena case, which President Biden inherited from the Trump administration, has been a rare locus of institutional disagreement among Democrats in the two branches.

Lawyers in the Biden White House have been hesitant about establishing a precedent that Republicans might someday use to force them to testify about their own internal matters. House Democrats under Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been determined to push forward after frustration that the Trump administration’s uncompromising approach and litigation strategy ran out the clock, preventing any testimony by Mr. McGahn before the 2020 presidential election.

The two sides had been negotiating for several months, leading to delays in the appeals court case. The filing was terse and offered no details about the deal, including what limits, if any, there would be — like whether Mr. McGahn would testify in public and the scope of what lawmakers could ask him to disclose.

But the filing also flagged a potential wild card: “Former President Trump, who is not a party to this case, is not a party to the agreement in principle regarding an accommodation,” it said.

That absence leaves open the question of whether Mr. Trump could try to intervene to block Mr. McGahn from testifying by asserting executive privilege. An attempt to invoke it by Mr. Trump would raise novel questions about the extent to which a former president may assert the privilege when the incumbent president declines to do so.

Miles Taylor, right, in 2019 on Capitol Hill, when he was chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, with Kirstjen Nielsen, who was homeland security secretary at the time.
Miles Taylor, right, in 2019 on Capitol Hill, when he was chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, with Kirstjen Nielsen, who was homeland security secretary at the time.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

More than 100 Republicans, including some former elected officials, are preparing to release a letter this week threatening to form a third party if the Republican Party does not make certain changes, according to an organizer of the effort.

The statement is expected to take aim at former President Donald J. Trump’s stranglehold on Republicans, which signatories to the document have deemed unconscionable.

“When in our democratic republic, forces of conspiracy, division, and despotism arise, it is the patriotic duty of citizens to act collectively in defense of liberty and justice,” reads the preamble to the full statement, which is expected to be released on Thursday.

The effort comes as House Republican leaders are expected on Wednesday to oust Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming from their ranks because of her outspoken criticism of Mr. Trump’s election lies.

“This is a first step,” said Miles Taylor, an organizer of the effort and a former Trump-era Department of Homeland Security official who anonymously wrote a book condemning the Trump administration. In October, Mr. Taylor acknowledged he was the author of both the book and a 2018 New York Times Op-Ed article.

“This is us saying that a group of more than 100 prominent Republicans think that the situation has gotten so dire with the Republican Party that it is now time to seriously consider whether an alternative might be the only option,” he said.

The list of people signing the statement includes former officials at both the state and national level who once were governors, members of Congress, ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, state legislators and Republican Party chairmen, Mr. Taylor said.

Mr. Taylor declined to name the signers. Reuters reported earlier that the former governors Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania and Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey will sign it, as will former Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters and former Representatives Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Reid Ribble of Wisconsin and Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma.

Mr. Taylor declined on Tuesday to reveal the specific changes that the coalition was planning to demand of the Republican Party in its statement.

“I’m still a Republican, but I’m hanging on by the skin of my teeth because how quickly the party has divorced itself from truth and reason,” Mr. Taylor said. “I’m one of those in the group that feels very strongly that if we can’t get the G.O.P. back to a rational party that supports free minds, free markets, and free people, I’m out and a lot of people are coming with me.”

Jewish nationalist demonstrators take cover as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip head toward the Israeli town of Ramla, on Tuesday.
Jewish nationalist demonstrators take cover as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip head toward the Israeli town of Ramla, on Tuesday.Credit…Heidi Levine/Associated Press

President Biden took office in January with little interest in pursuing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, for understandable reasons.

President Bill Clinton hosted an Israeli-Palestinian summit during his first year in the White House. President Barack Obama appointed a Middle East peace envoy on his second full day in office. And before his swearing-in, Donald J. Trump vowed to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal “which no one else has managed to get.”

All of them failed to achieve a peace deal, as did President George W. Bush, who took up the cause later in his presidency.

Even before the recent explosion of violence in Israel and Gaza, analysts agreed that prospects for a successful negotiation continue to look hopeless in the near term, with neither side prepared to make concessions the other would demand.

Mr. Biden and his senior advisers have largely accepted that status quo. Determined to shift the focus of American foreign policy to China from the Middle East and seeing no reliable partner in an unstable Israeli government led by an embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has pursued hard-line positions toward the Palestinians, Mr. 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 Mr. Biden to play a more active role. Some liberals urge him to more firmly challenge Israeli settlement activity, which makes a peaceful resolution with the Palestinians harder to achieve.

Migrants from Venezuela waiting for transportation to a U.S. Border Patrol facility on Tuesday in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing the Rio Grande.
Migrants from Venezuela waiting for transportation to a U.S. Border Patrol facility on Tuesday in Del Rio, Texas, after crossing the Rio Grande.Credit…James Breeden/Reuters

U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained 178,622 people along the border with Mexico in April, the highest number of apprehensions in at least two decades.

About 63 percent of those who were detained trying to enter across the southwestern border were expelled from the United States, the agency said in a news release. The number of minors who were taken into custody dropped 12 percent to 13,962 from March, according to the agency.

The number of immigrants detained at the southwestern border has risen for 12 straight months, according to Customs and Border Protection data. President Biden promised a more humane approach to immigration than did President Donald J. Trump, giving some immigrants, many of whom are fleeing dire economic conditions in Mexico and Central America, hope that they might be able to enter the United States more easily.

While Mr. Biden promised to unwind some of Mr. Trump’s policies, he has urged immigrants to stay home and has given Customs and Border Protection agents more authority to send detained immigrants back under protocols in place to combat the coronavirus.

The latest data release comes after a significant rise in migrant children turned up at the U.S. border this year, raising questions about Mr. Biden’s immigration policies.

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