Cup of Joe – 3/30/22

The White House records of Trump’s calls on Jan. 6 don’t include any calls the president made or received from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. that day, according to the Washington Post and CBS News, which obtained the records. The call logs were turned over to the Jan. 6 committee by the National Archives. Key excerpts from the story:

“The lack of an official White House notation of any calls placed to or by Trump for 457 minutes on Jan. 6, 2021 … means the committee has no record of his phone conversations as his supporters descended on the Capitol, battled overwhelmed police and forcibly entered the building, prompting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to flee for safety.”

“The House panel is now investigating whether Trump communicated that day through backchannels, phones of aides or personal disposable phones, known as ‘burner phones,’ according to two people with knowledge of the probe …”

“In a statement Monday night, Trump said, ‘I have no idea what a burner phone is, to the best of my knowledge I have never even heard the term.’” “The documents obtained by the committee show Trump having several previously unreported exchanges on Jan. 6, including brief calls with [Steve] Bannon and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani that morning, before Trump had a final call with Pence, in which the vice president told him he was not going to block Congress from formalizing Biden’s victory.”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said Monday that former President Donald Trump was warned of the possibility of violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios reports.

Said Cheney: “We have learned that President Trump and his team were warned, in advance and repeatedly, that the efforts they undertook to overturn the 2020 election would violate the law and our Constitution.”

She added: “They were warned that January 6th could, and likely would, turn violent.”

The House Jan. 6 Committee voted to recommend criminal contempt charges for former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino on Monday night. The recommendation will now go to the House for a full vote, where it’ll likely pass and go to the Justice Department, which has done … not very much at all with the contempt recommendation it already got for ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Members of the committee called on Attorney General Merrick Garland multiple times on Monday night to, you know, actually do something about Meadows. After all, evidence so far shows that he was significantly more involved in the events of Jan. 6 than Steve Bannon, whom the DOJ has charged with contempt.

The stakes in the panel’s investigation are getting higher every day: A judge had ruled earlier on Monday that Trump had likely committed felony obstruction of Congress when he and his then-legal adviser John Eastman plotted to have Vice President Mike Pence throw out Biden electors in the 2020 election certification process.

“The House’s Jan. 6 select committee vented frustration with the Justice Department on Monday for not criminally charging former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress and not taking other steps to support their investigation,” Politico reports.

“As the panel teed up two more criminal referrals — this time seeking contempt charges against former Trump aides Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro — members repeatedly urged the Justice Department to take more-aggressive action.”

The Trump Organization has until April 29 to comply with the New York attorney general’s subpoena in her fraud investigation, a New York state judge ruled on Monday. The subpoena in question was issued over two years ago, and “I think we can all agree we want this to end at some point for numerous reasons,” the judge said.

“The New York Attorney General’s Office has ‘uncovered significant evidence’ suggesting that the Trump Organization’s financial statements for more than a decade relied on misleading valuations of its real estate assets,” CNBC reports.

“Federal prosecutors and congressional investigators have gathered growing evidence of how a tweet by President Donald Trump less than three weeks before Jan. 6, 2021, served as a crucial call to action for extremist groups that played a central role in storming the Capitol,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump’s Twitter post in the early hours of Dec. 19, 2020, was the first time he publicly urged supporters to come to Washington on the day Congress was scheduled to certify the Electoral College results showing Joseph Biden as the winner of the presidential vote.”

“Extremist groups almost immediately celebrated Mr. Trump’s Twitter message, which they widely interpreted as an invitation to descend on the city in force.”

“Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to steal the 2020 election is being revealed week-by-week to be deeper and broader than it initially appeared, sharpening the national dilemma of if and how he could ever be held to account,” CNN reports.

“It’s extraordinary that, more than 14 months on, new details of efforts by Trump and those around him to subvert President Joe Biden’s victory are still emerging.”

Tim O’Brien: “A federal judge thinks that former President Donald Trump likely committed fraud — and probably knew it — when he and one of his lawyers, John Eastman, plotted to block Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election so Trump could hold on to power.”

“So how much longer will it take Attorney General Merrick Garland to draw the same conclusion about that attempted coup?”

A deputy Russian defense minister said on Tuesday that Russia would sharply “reduce military activity” near Kyiv and the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, in the first sign of progress as diplomats from Ukraine and Russia discussed a possible cease-fire, the New York Times reports.

The G7 countries dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand to pay for gas in rubles as a “not acceptable” breach of contracts, Deutsche Welle reports.

“Ukraine’s defense intelligence ministry released a list of more than 600 alleged Russian spies working in Europe in an apparent attempt to burn them and weaken Russia’s intelligence operations across the continent,” Fox News reports.

“The Defense Department plans to accelerate production of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles so it can refill its own depleted stocks as it continues to send the vital systems to Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion,” CNN reports.

Wall Street Journal: “A wide-open view of the inner workings of what is perhaps the world’s biggest and most dangerous organized cybercrime group is a surprising consequence of the war in Ukraine. An anonymous researcher who had infiltrated the group’s servers, and who identified himself as Ukrainian, posted the data on Twitter on Feb. 27. ‘Ukraine will Rise!’ he then wrote in a March 2 tweet.”

“Security researchers and U.S. officials say the internal conversations amount to the most complete and candid public look yet at the operations of a criminal ransomware enterprise.”

“Republicans have spent weeks hammering President Joe Biden as too slow in responding to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Enter Rand Paul,” Politico  reports.

“The idiosyncratic GOP senator is undermining his own party’s message by single-handedly delaying a revocation of normal trade relations with Russia, thereby slowing efforts to further incapacitate Russia’s economy. Paul is refusing to allow a quick vote on the bill absent a deal to narrow presidential power to enact sanctions — an ask that leaders in both parties have spurned.”

Surrounded by young children as props, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday signed the Parental Rights in Education bill, aka the legislation that bans classroom discussion about LGBTQ+ topics in kindergarten through third grade, or in any grade if it’s “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

DeSantis, in his sustained war on the LGBTQ+ community, dialed the theater up a notch last week when he put out a functionally meaningless  “proclamation”  declaring that the runner-up in a NCAA women’s swimming championship was the “rightful winner” after transgender swimmer Lia Thomas won the competition.

The FDA authorized a second Covid-19 booster shot for Americans age 50 or older.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said the way Republican senators treated Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson at last week’s hearings was “disgraceful” and “embarrassing,” The Hill reports.

Said Manchin: “It was disgraceful, it really was, what I saw. And I met with her and I read all the transcripts. I listened to basically the hearings and it just was embarrassing.”

He added: “It’s not who we are. It’s not what we were sent here to do, to attack other people and just try to tear them down. I won’t be part of that. I think she’s extremely well qualified and I think she’ll be an exemplary judge.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) told CNN that NATO would have to “rethink” whether they can rely on the United States if Donald Trump was re-elected.

Said Romney: “If he were to come back as the U.S. president, I think it would represent a pretty dramatic departure for the world, and they would rethink whether they can count on the United States to lead NATO to lead other nations as they push back against China and against Russia.

“It is absolutely essential for our democracy that we win. I fear for our democracy if the Republicans were ever to get the gavel. We can’t let that happen.”  — Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an interview with Molly Ball.

Nebraska state Sen. Bruce Bostelman (R) “apologized on Monday after he publicly cited a persistent but debunked rumor alleging that schools are placing litter boxes in school bathrooms to accommodate children who self-identify as cats,” the AP reports.

Said Bostleman: “They meow and they bark and they interact with their teachers in this fashion. And now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use. How is this sanitary?”

“The false claim that children who identify as cats are using litter boxes in school bathrooms has spread across the internet since at least December.”

Los Angeles Times: “Since taking office, the roster of confidants she relies on for advice and support has contracted and tilted away from her long-time home base of California. The narrowing of her inner circle reflects both the demands of the vice presidency, which leave little time for social calls, and her own tendency to be selective in whom she seeks counsel, according to interviews with longtime friends, advisors and current and former staffers.”

“The change has left close friends saying they are satisfied and pleasantly surprised by her efforts to stay in touch, even if the calls are understandably less frequent. Yet some of her earliest backers warn that her outreach has been insufficient to maintain a loyal base of support and could hamper her ability to make another run at the presidency. They also worry that Harris, unlike President Biden, lacks a full stable of trusted and tested allies to guide her through a vice presidency that has proved to be as daunting as it is historic.”

NBC News: “Many who participated in what prosecutors are calling the largest fraud in American history—the theft of hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money intended to help those harmed by the pandemic — couldn’t resist purchasing luxury automobiles. Also mansions, private jet flights and swanky vacations.”

“They came into their riches by participating in what experts say is the theft of as much as $80 billion — or about 10 percent — of the $800 billion handed out in a Covid relief plan known as the Paycheck Protection Program. That’s on top of the $90 billion to $400 billion believed to have been stolen from the $900 billion Covid unemployment relief program — at least half taken by international fraudsters… And another $80 billion potentially pilfered from a separate Covid disaster relief program.”

“North Korea looks set to detonate its first nuclear bomb in more than four years, as the U.S.’s sanctions disputes with Russia and China make further United Nations penalties against the country unlikely,” Bloomberg reports.

“Global supply strains that started to ease in early 2022 are worsening again as headwinds strengthen from the war in Ukraine and China’s Covid lockdowns, threatening slower growth and faster inflation across the global economy,” Bloomberg reports.

New York Times: “In a world contending with no end of economic troubles, a fresh source of concern now looms: the prospect of a confrontation between union dockworkers and their employers at some of the most critical ports on earth.”

“President Biden is poised to sign legislation Tuesday that would make lynching a federal hate crime, in a historic first that comes after more than a century of failed efforts against racial violence,” the Washington Post reports.

Donald Trump put out a statement bragging about a hole-in-one he made while playing with pro golfers. It was incredible even for him.  Said Trump: “I won’t tell you who won because I am a very modest individual.”

“Sixty three House Republicans opposed a bill honoring Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first two female justices of the Supreme Court, with statues in Congress,” Politico reports.  “For what it’s worth: The Senate cleared this legislation by unanimous consent in December 2021. So it is headed to President Joe Biden’s desk.”

Financial Times: “Every opinion poll suggests that French President Emmanuel Macron is likely to win another five-year term at the Elysée Palace in the French elections, which begin on April 10. But the lingering resentment towards the Paris elite in places such as La Ricamarie suggests a Macron victory would not for long suppress the anger in French society that erupted with the anti-government gilets jaunes protests, or defang the extremist French politicians who try to exploit it.”

“London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed to Axios Tuesday 20 fines will be issued for people who attended lockdown-defying parties at Downing Street and Whitehall government offices in the United Kingdom, but it won’t identify who will receive them,” Axios reports.

“British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized for attending at least one party during a strict lockdown in May 2020 and faced calls to resign, even from members of his ruling Conservative Party, over the gatherings.”

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), who is running for U.S. Senate, is introducing a resolution to expunge former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment – saying Democrats didn’t prove “high crimes and misdemeanors,” Fox News reports.

Mullin’s nine-page resolution, if passed by the House, would declare “expunged” Trump’s 2019 impeachment over allegedly leveraging U.S. military aid to Ukraine for political favors involving investigations of the Bidens.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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