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Rep. Don Bacon: 'It's possible' Mike Johnson could lose speakership over Ukraine

Speaking to NBC News' "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Bacon said he has a "commitment from the speaker and the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee" that a Ukraine aid bill will get a floor vote.
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Rep. Don Bacon on Sunday warned that "it's possible" that Speaker Mike Johnson could face a vote to oust him if he moves to pass Ukraine aid in the House.

"I'm not going to deny it," Bacon, R-Neb., said when asked by moderator Kristen Welker on NBC News' "Meet the Press" whether it's possible Johnson could lose his speakership over Ukraine aid.

"We have one or two people that are not team players. They'd rather enjoy the limelight, the social media," Bacon added, though he did not name any members.

"It's a very narrow majority, and one or two people can make us a minority," he said.

Bacon favors some support for Ukraine and highlighted his partnership with Reps. Jared Golden, D-Maine, Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Ed Case, D-Hawaii, on a Ukraine aid bill.

"We put a bill together that focuses on military aid — a $66 billion bill that provides military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan," Bacon told Welker, calling for a "bicameral, bipartisan solution."

"If we do this bill, and I think we will, there's enough support in the House to get this done. And I want to make sure that we have support in the Senate," Bacon said.

Bacon maintained that he hopes "the speaker prevails. He's doing the right thing."

He also suggested that Democrats could join several Republicans in helping save Johnson's speakership.

"I do think there will be Democrats, though, who do not want to see this dysfunction. And I think they'll probably vote present or maybe not be there for a vote," Bacon said.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., indicated earlier Sunday that there's a scenario in which Bacon could be correct.

"Would you protect [Johnson] if there was a move to oust him for bringing Ukraine aid to the floor?" Welker asked Clyburn earlier on "Meet the Press."

"I stand in support of our leader, [House Minority Leader] Hakeem Jeffries," Clyburn said, adding: "If he were to call me and say, 'Look, I would like to have your vote in support of Johnson,' he’s got it."

Bacon also indicated to Welker that Ukraine aid is likely to be brought up for a vote, saying he has a "commitment from the speaker and the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee that we’re going to put this on the floor and get a vote."

A vote on Ukraine aid in the House could pose a risk to Johnson’s speakership, given the division within the House Republican conference over the topic and the razor-thin majority the party holds.

Before the chamber left for a two-week recess ahead of Easter, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., submitted a motion to vacate, which could lead to a House vote to oust Johnson as speaker.

Greene did not file the motion as privileged, though, which would have forced the House to vote on the motion within 48 hours.

Shortly after she filed the motion, Greene warned, "He should not bring funding for Ukraine" to the floor.

Another contentious issue that's dividing House Republicans is the state of the ongoing House impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, which is being led by House Oversight Chair James Comer. Bacon suggested Sunday that the investigation may not have uncovered criminal wrongdoing.

"Right now, the lawyers in the committee that I talk to say there’s not a specific crime, and you need that for high crime or misdemeanor," Bacon said.

The statement seemingly conflicts with recent actions taken by Comer, who said in a fundraising email last week that he is "preparing criminal referrals as the culmination of my investigation."

In a statement, a spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee told NBC News, "The purpose of these updates is not to advise members on criminal laws. Committee staff provide members with updates on the transcribed interviews and evidence. We intend to issue a comprehensive report that will address criminal violations at the end of our investigation.”

Despite his statement about potential criminality, Bacon said Sunday that the allegations "merited an investigation."

"[Let’s] put the facts out, let the public look at it, make a determination. And I think it’s good to be transparent, especially — we’re in an election year," he added.

But asked by Welker whether it’s time to stop investigating the president if there is no evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, Bacon said, "I don’t know if it’s time right now, but I do think we’re probably nearing the conclusion of this investigation."

The White House has denied wrongdoing by Biden and in December said House Republicans were continuing down a "path of failure" with their probe.