June 07, 2023

Welcome back to Sneak. Smart Brevity™ count: 653 words ... 2½ minutes.

1 big thing: House rebels strike back

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Roughly a dozen right-wing House Republicans have rallied around a new way to strong-arm leadership, joining Democrats to tank a procedural vote for the first time since 2002, Axios' Andrew Solender and Juliegrace Brufke report.

Why it matters: This should shatter any illusions that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's life will get easier with the debt ceiling off the table.

  • "I think leadership now understands it is a matter of some urgency," said Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.).
  • Lawmakers and aides said a heated discussion focused on Rep. Andrew Clyde's (R-Ga.) allegation that leadership threatened not to give his bill to overturn the ATF's new pistol brace rule a vote over his opposition to the debt ceiling rule. House GOP leaders denied Clyde's allegation.

Driving the news: The vote to advance four bills, including a measure to prohibit the federal government from banning gas stoves, failed 206-220.

  • None of the bills are controversial among Republicans.
  • Multiple House Freedom Caucus members met with McCarthy after the failed vote.
  • Clyde said he's now been promised a vote on his bill.

The backdrop: The right has been up in arms over the debt ceiling deal, which passed with votes from 165 Democrats and 149 Republicans.

  • Many conservative Republicans, who said the spending cuts in the deal didn't go far enough, voted no.
  • "We took down the rule because we're frustrated at the way this place is operating," said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a Freedom Caucus member along with Bishop and Clyde.
  • He and others said they want promises from McCarthy to prioritize passing legislation with conservative votes rather than Democratic ones.

McCarthy's office declined to comment.

2. Christie jumps in

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announces his GOP presidential run today at town hall at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, N.H. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

GOP operatives are banking on former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's entry into the 2024 race to change the primary dynamics, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports.

Why it matters: Christie, a former prosecutor with a long relationship with former President Trump, says he has the "guts" and fearlessness to go against the GOP front-runner because "it’s not going to end nicely, no matter what."

  • Christie called out Trump by name at his introductory town hall, and mocked GOP competitors as "pretenders" by comparing them to Harry Potter characters afraid to say the name Voldemort.
  • "A lonely, self-consumed, self-serving mirror hog is not a leader," Christie said.
  • "And so now we have pretenders all around us who want to tell you, pick me because I'm kind of like what you picked before, but not quite as crazy."

Zoom in: Christie's strategy is to run "a nontraditional campaign that is highly focused on earned media, mixing it up in the news cycle and engaging Trump," an adviser told Axios' Mike Allen.

  • Christie's campaign is so far focused on New Hampshire, the first primary state.

3. Meadows' grand jury testimony

Then-President Trump and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows walk to the Oval Office in May 2020. Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has testified before a grand jury investigating former President Trump, The New York Times reported today.

Why it matters: Special counsel Jack Smith is investigating Trump's handling of classified materials, in addition to the former president's actions on Jan. 6. The Times noted it's not clear when Meadows testified, and it's not clear whether he testified about one of those investigations, both or neither.

  • Meadows has kept a low profile in recent months, The Times reports.
  • “Without commenting on whether or not Mr. Meadows has testified before the grand jury or in any other proceeding, Mr. Meadows has maintained a commitment to tell the truth where he has a legal obligation to do so," a lawyer for Meadows told The Times in a statement.

Between the lines: Trump lawyers met with Justice Department officials, including Smith, yesterday after publicly calling for the investigation to end without charges.

4. Pic du jour: Pride in D.C.

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The Pride flag flies above the Treasury Department. It was raised by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to mark Pride month.

📬 Thanks for reading. This newsletter was copy edited by Kathie Bozanich.