Cup of Joe – 3/31/22

Former President Donald Trump said during an interview with a far-right television show that Russian President Vladimir Putin “should release” information on business dealings between Hunter Biden and oligarchs in Eastern Europe.

It is treason. We are in basically a state of war with Russia at the moment. He is seeking help from our enemy to bring down the government of the United States. This is the sort of thing you execute people for.

“A Russian TV host called for ‘regime change’ in the U.S., and also for former President Donald Trump to be reinstated,” Mediaite reports. “The host, Evgeny Popov, went as far as to refer to Trump as a ‘partner’ to the Russian people.”

It’s true Donald Trump was impeached twice.  And special counsel Robert Mueller detailed at least 10 counts of Trump’s obstruction of justice during his Russia investigation.   And two Manhattan prosecutors wanted to bring criminal charges against Trump and his company — but quit when the district attorney overruled them.   And he’s been accused of so many more things.

But nothing is more devastating than Judge David Carter’s legal opinion about Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election to stay in office. It’s absolutely incredible.

As Benjamin Wittes points out:  “What makes Judge Carter’s account so powerful is that it is linked tightly to record evidence, that it tells the story in an end-to-end fashion crisply and efficiently, and that it thus assembles the evidence into a coherent account of the big picture. I cannot do Judge Carter’s account justice; please do read it.

For present purposes, let me just say that it leaves the fair-minded reader in no doubt that the events that took place between Joe Biden’s defeat of Trump at the polls and congressional certification of Biden’s victory on Jan. 6 were an all-out effort by the lame duck president to seize and retain power in unapologetic defiance of the law using extra-constitutional means—up to and including violence directed against a coordinate branch of government.” 

No decent citizen can read Judge Carter’s opinion and not see that Donald Trump was a criminal president. Read it for yourself.  What’s absolutely stunning is that so many Americans still don’t see it. But it’s even more stunning that criminal charges haven’t been filed against Trump yet.

“Frustrated members of the House Jan. 6 committee are ratcheting up the public pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland to pursue criminal charges against former Trump White House aides who are refusing to testify before the panel, arguing his failure to act is hurting their investigation,” the Washington Post reports.

“The Justice Department wants to hire 131 additional lawyers to help with the hundreds of prosecutions stemming from the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol,” Insider reports.

You’ve heard about the 7 hour gap, but the New York Times and Washington Post lay out all the newly revealed calls in those logs that we still got.

“Donald Trump used an official White House phone to place at least one call during the Capitol attack on January 6 last year that should have been reflected in the internal presidential call log from that day but was not,” The Guardian reports.

“The former president called the phone of a Republican senator, Mike Lee, with a number recorded as 202-395-0000, a placeholder number that shows up when a call is incoming from a number of White House department phones.”

Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton told CBS News that he recalls Donald Trump using the term “burner phones” in several discussions and that Trump was aware of its meaning. Bolton also said he and Trump have spoken about how people have used “burner phones” to avoid having their calls scrutinized.

After reporting this morning that Trump might have used a “burner phone” during the January 6 Capitol riots, Trump issued a statement denying knowing the term.

David Frum: “Trump encouraged the violence and welcomed it in real time. The whole world saw that. But the world does not know everything about January 6—not yet, anyway—and Trump’s phone behavior may suggest the answer to the most important remaining questions:

  • Did Trump in any way authorize the attack in advance?
  • Did Trump in any way communicate or coordinate with the attackers as the attack unfolded?

“Trump’s phone choices sought to conceal the answers to those questions. Why? One of the pivotal moments during the Watergate scandal of 1972 was the revelation that President Richard Nixon’s secretary had erased 18 and a half crucial minutes of a tape recorded three days after the break-in. The erasure suggested consciousness of guilt by the president, and helped end his presidency.”

“Trump’s 7.5-hour gap likewise suggests consciousness of something. And it sure smells like guilt.”

“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is threatening telecommunications and social media companies that comply with a request by the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, declaring that Republicans ‘will not forget’ their actions,” the Washington Post reports.

“McCarthy spoke with then-President Donald Trump on the day of the attack and is a potential witness in the select committee’s probe.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) “plans to vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, ensuring that President Biden’s nominee and the first Black woman to be put forward for the post will receive at least one Republican backer,” the New York Times reports.

“Her decision will allow Mr. Biden and Senate Democrats to claim some degree of bipartisanship around the historic nomination, though whether other Republicans will join Ms. Collins remains unclear.”

It will be interesting to see if she can bring along other Republicans with her.

President Biden is weighing another $500 million in aid to Ukraine, and has asked allies to pony up the same, Bloomberg reports.

“Biden is poised to invoke as soon as this week Cold War powers to encourage domestic production of critical minerals for electric-vehicle and other types of batteries,” Bloomberg reports.

“President Vladimir Putin of Russia has been misinformed by his advisers about the Russian military’s struggles in Ukraine, according to declassified U.S. intelligence,” the New York Times reports.

“The intelligence shows what appears to be growing tension between Mr. Putin and the Ministry of Defense, including with the Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, who was once among the most trusted members of the Kremlin’s inner circle.”

Bret Stephens: “Suppose for a moment that Putin never intended to conquer all of Ukraine: that, from the beginning, his real targets were the energy riches of Ukraine’s east, which contain Europe’s second-largest known reserves of natural gas (after Norway’s).”

“Combine that with Russia’s previous territorial seizures in Crimea (which has huge offshore energy fields) and the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk (which contain part of an enormous shale-gas field), as well as Putin’s bid to control most or all of Ukraine’s coastline, and the shape of Putin’s ambitions become clear. He’s less interested in reuniting the Russian-speaking world than he is in securing Russia’s energy dominance.”

Said Canadian energy expert David Knight Legg: “Under the guise of an invasion, Putin is executing an enormous heist.”

“If this analysis is right, then Putin doesn’t seem like the miscalculating loser his critics make him out to be.”

“Russian forces bombarded areas around Kyiv and another city, just hours after pledging to scale back military operations in those places to help negotiations along,” the AP reports.

“The shelling — and intensified Russian attacks on other parts of the country — tempered optimism about any progress in the talks aimed at ending the punishing war.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) “shot down President Biden’s new plan to raise $360 billion in revenue by imposing a 20 percent minimum tax on billionaires,” The Hill reports. Manchin said he doesn’t support taxing unrealized gains: “You can’t tax something that’s not earned. Earned income is what we’re based on.”

But he added: “There’s other ways to do it. Everybody has to pay their fair share.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is throwing out July 4 as a new possible deadline for a party-line bill full of Democratic priorities, Politico reports.  But he added: “If you can do something. I’m not saying anything’s gonna be done.”

Politico: “Many GOP lawmakers privately expressed disbelief at Cawthorn’s claims, particularly of orgies. Some wondered if he made the comments consciously in a bid to portray himself above such acts — past media reports have addressed sexual misconduct allegations against him before his election.”

“There’s a desire among fellow Republicans for Cawthorn to identify the colleagues involved to prove the truth of his comments, but that desire to name names could also cause new headaches for a conference that’s already faced an array of controversies this Congress.”

“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pledged to speak to Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) about his allegation that people in Washington, D.C. have invited him to orgies and done cocaine in front of him after Republican members expressed frustration with the comments,” The Hill reports.

“Kevin McCarthy isn’t the only senior Republican who wants to have a talk with Rep. Madison Cawthorn about his claim that some of his colleagues invited him to orgies and used cocaine,” Politico reports.

“Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), who chairs the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus to which Cawthorn belongs, said he plans to speak to the North Carolina Republican one-on-one about the incendiary comment. Perry further indicated that Cawthorn should identify the individuals he alleges engaged in that behavior.”

“Perry is not alone in that opinion among House Republicans — Cawthorn’s claims caused an internal uproar at Tuesday’s conference meeting.”

“President Biden will receive his second coronavirus booster shot Wednesday, one day after the Food and Drug Administration authorized a second booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for older and immunocompromised adults,” the Washington Post reports.

Washington Post: “Over the last two weeks, the coronavirus has crept ever closer to Biden, disrupting White House operations just as the country and the administration have been relaxing strict safeguards against covid-19. The cluster of cases highlights the continued threat posed by the virus, complicating White House efforts to signal that the country has turned the corner on the pandemic.”

“After years of modeling strict precautions, including campaigning for months from his basement in Wilmington, Del., before vaccines were available, Biden is now at a higher risk of being infected, experts say, with all the personal and political consequences that would entail — though as with other vaccinated people, an infection could be less severe.”

“The Senate is scrambling to reach an agreement on a $15 billion Covid-19 aid bill before members leave for a two-week break at the end of next week,” NBC News reports.

“Democrats say the U.S. is running out of funding for vaccines, testing and treatment for Covid-19, and the Biden administration has warned that the lack of pandemic money comes at a critical moment in the pandemic.”

“The choose-your-own-adventure vibe of the pandemic response is spreading to booster shots, with Americans 50 and older now having the option to get a fourth dose — without explicitly being encouraged to do so,” Axios reports.

The Atlantic: “The U.S. population grew at the slowest pace in history in 2021, according to census data released last week. That news sounds extreme, but it’s on trend. First came 2020, which saw one of the lowest U.S. population-growth rates ever. And now we have 2021 officially setting the all-time record.”

“U.S. growth didn’t slowly fade away: It slipped, and slipped, and then fell off a cliff.”

Jonathan Last: “Here is a secret no one in Washington is willing to say out loud: Ginni Thomas is an idiot. The only reason she was texting the president’s chief of staff instead of being the angry cat lady on Facebook is because she married a man who got himself appointed to the Supreme Court.”

“The Thomases were never a duo of intellectual equals, or a power couple where each member had their own thing going on, and where the merger of the two was like Voltron coming together.”

“This isn’t James Carville and Mary Matalin. Or Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter. Or Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb. Or any number of other famous couples. Heck, this isn’t even Sonny and Cher.”

“No. The Thomases are more like Ivanka and Jared: The senior partner in the arrangement held a position of such high importance that their society scrabbled around to find something for the dimmer partner to do in order to make them feel important. In Jared’s case, that has been destroying newspapers, losing money on real estate, and being tasked with brokering peace in the Middle East.”

A new Gallup poll finds Americans are more worried about inflation than at any point since 1985, and that concern is quickly escalating.

New York Times: “Inflation stress divided slightly among income groups — 63% of adults earning $40,000 or more were very concerned, compared with 58% of those earning $100,000 or more — and starkly along political lines. About 79% of Republicans were seriously worried about inflation, versus 35% of Democrats.”

“Signs are emerging that the resilience of American consumers is rapidly waning, potentially undermining one of the few remaining pillars supporting the bull market in equities,” Bloomberg reports.

“U.S. households have until recently mostly absorbed higher prices on everything from coffee to chicken to clothes, helping companies maintain fat profit margins despite higher input. But that doesn’t mean consumers were happy about paying more for the same goods, which is why the University of Michigan’s sentiment index has steadily deteriorated to the lowest since 2011.”

Financial Times: “Two-year Treasury note yields rose above those of the 10-year for the first time since August 2019, inverting a portion of the yield curve monitored closely by Wall Street and policymakers. Inversions typically signal malaise about the economy’s long-term growth prospects and have preceded every US recession in the past 50 years.”

“Typically, a recession has followed in the two years after an inversion of this measure of the yield curve.”

“Australia announced a series of spending measures – from fuel-tax cuts to cash handouts – designed to cushion the impact of rising living costs and catapult Prime Minister Scott Morrison back into contention for a May election,” Bloomberg reports.

A formal recommendation by the South Dakota House Select Committee on Investigation finds that Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) should not be impeached after he struck and killed a pedestrian with his car nearly two years ago, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) accused a top Republican state lawmaker of “covering” for state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) after a committee recommended against impeaching him for his involvement in a fatal car crash, the Washington Examiner reports.

Said Noem: “Jason Ravnsborg killed a man, lied to investigators about the events of that night, and attempted to cover it up. Joseph Boever’s family deserves justice.”

Eric Boehlert: “Most of President Joe Biden’s historic foreign policy speech given over the weekend was washed away by the press. For days, journalists fixated not on how the Poland address marked a fundamental change in the West’s relationship with Russia, but on a nine-word ad-lib that Biden added to the text, ‘For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,’ in reference to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Journalists rushed in to claim the ‘gaffe’ had produced ‘shock waves’ around the world…”

“The media theatrics were especially galling since the previous president spent four years struggling to string together coherent sentences, garbling his way through a presidency.”

“Famous for being a habitual liar, as well as boasting often impossible-to-follow syntax that left people scratching their heads trying to make sense of his oddball pronouncements, Trump obliterated the idea that an occasional gaffe ought to define a politician, and the press stopped caring about his nonstop missteps.”

Jay Rosen: “You will notice that the use of ‘gaffe’ almost disappeared during Trump’s term as president because most of what he said was a gaffe— or would have been under a previous president.”

The long-stalled nomination of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be U.S. ambassador to India is in limbo, with some Senate Democrats privately whispering its dead – or “withering on the vine,” in the words of one Democrat, Punchbowl News reports.

Donald Trump said he is not interested in becoming speaker of the House if Republicans win control of the chamber in this year’s elections.

Washington Post: “Over the course of 14 months, the Chinese energy conglomerate and its executives paid $4.8 million to entities controlled by Hunter Biden and his uncle, according to government records, court documents and newly disclosed bank statements, as well as emails contained on a copy of a laptop hard drive that purportedly once belonged to Hunter Biden.”

“The Post did not find evidence that Joe Biden personally benefited from or knew details about the transactions with CEFC, which took place after he had left the vice presidency and before he announced his intentions to run for the White House in 2020.”

“But the new documents — which include a signed copy of a $1 million legal retainer, emails related to the wire transfers, and $3.8 million in consulting fees that are confirmed in new bank records and agreements signed by Hunter Biden — illustrate the ways in which his family profited from relationships built over Joe Biden’s decades in public service.”

“Crossings at the southwest border have been peaking again in recent weeks, and homeland security officials are bracing for those numbers to rise much higher if the Biden administration decides to lift a public health order that has limited immigration during the pandemic,” the New York Times reports.

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

0 comments on “Cup of Joe – 3/31/22

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: