Cup of Joe – 4/23/22

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) denied a New York Times report that said he told other lawmakers he would call on then-President Donald Trump to resign in the days after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

But audio released shortly afterward shows he was lying.

New audio was released of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) claiming that Donald Trump agreed he has some responsibility for the January 6th riot at the Capitol.

Playbook: “For years now, through controversy after controversy, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has bent over backward to stay in former President Donald Trump’s good graces, all to serve one major purpose: He wants to be speaker someday.”

“That hope may have just blown up on the launchpad.”

“On Thursday night, NYT’s Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns delivered an absolute stunner of a scoop: an audio recording of a phone call on Jan. 10, 2021, in which McCarthy is heard clearly and unambiguously saying that Trump should resign.”

“McCarthy essentially conspires with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) about how to get Trump to step down as president after the Jan. 6 insurrection.”

A spokesman for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) told CNN that she did not leak leak the audio of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) saying he would push Donald Trump to resign and does not know how the New York Times reporters got it.

Punchbowl News: “There will be a lot of speculation about who did tape the conversation. It doesn’t matter to the non-political world, but in the sometimes turbulent atmosphere of the House Republican leadership, this will be on everyone’s mind. Remember: Aides are oftentimes listening in on these calls. And there are plenty of figures in the GOP leadership who would benefit from McCarthy’s fall.”

Punchbowl News: “Trump’s reaction to this incident is the key. If he dumps on McCarthy, that’s a major problem for the GOP leader. Trump can easily round up enough support within the House Republican Conference to prevent McCarthy from realizing his dream of wielding the speaker’s gavel. That’s Trump’s power here – he can’t make McCarthy the speaker, but he can stop it from happening.”

“However, Trump is savvy politically. He’s forgiven people for saying nasty things about him when it suits him. Hello Trump-endorsed Senate candidate J.D. Vance! But if Trump decides to use this against McCarthy, that would give the Freedom Caucus and other anti-McCarthyites within the GOP Conference cover to do the same. It might be enough to prevent McCarthy from being speaker. We’ll all see how Trump plays this one.”

“Don’t forget this either: McCarthy was the first senior Republican to visit Trump in Mar-a-Lago in late Jan. 2021, just over a week after the former president left Washington in disgrace. That was a pivotal moment for both men.”

Playbook: “All it would take is one wink and nod from the former president, and McCarthy would have serious problems getting the gavel. The former president has turned against those he views as unloyal Republicans for less.”

Trump and McCarthy have many of the same supporters and there’s a lot of incentive among them in making sure this doesn’t spin out of control.

Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy “spoke on the phone last night about a newly released audio of McCarthy telling Republican leaders that Trump should resign in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump was not upset about McCarthy’s remarks and was glad the Republican leader didn’t follow through, which Trump saw as a sign of his continued grip on the Republican Party.”

“New York Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin say they have more audio of House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, having already released tape which showed that McCarthy told GOP leaders he would ask for Donald Trump to resign the presidency in the wake of the January 6 riot,” Insider reports.

Said Martin: “We have a lot more on tape from this period, which is at the highest levels of American politics.”

He added: “It is sensitive, it is delicate, and it is high stakes. We have it all on tape, and it’s going to — I think — tell a very different story about this period than the story that many people are trying to tell right now.”

Charlie Sykes: “Watching Kevin McCarthy over the last 24 hours has been like peeling an onion of humiliation. And there is no reason to think we are anywhere close to being done.”

“In a brilliant alignment of the political planets, McCarthy’s humiliation came on the same day that the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library announced its 2022 Profile in Courage Award. One of the winners: Liz Cheney.”

Jonah Goldberg: “I think there would be no more fitting end to Kevin McCarthy’s dream of becoming speaker than the ‘scandal’ of him being exposed as privately believing the right and moral thing.”

Mark Barabak: “The fact that politicians say one thing and do another is hardly revelatory.”

“What is repugnant about the evident deceit of McCarthy, McConnell and many others in Trump’s thrall is that they obviously know better than to believe the lies he keeps spreading. (Some acknowledge as much in private.)”

“They see the damage he has done, and continues to do, with his persistent devaluation of truth and campaigning to undercut future elections. Time and again, Trump has shown that his interests begin and end with himself.”

John Cassidy: “Taken as a whole, the GOP is still in the same position it has been in for the past five and a half years: beholden to a narcissistic demagogue who has no respect for democracy or the law. In fact, the situation is even worse than it used to be, because the demagogue is now explicitly demanding that Republican candidates sign on to his Big Lie about 2020—a modern version of the ‘stab-in-the back’ conspiracy theory that helped undermine the Weimar Republic.”

“In one sense, it’s fun to read yet another story confirming the utter spinelessness and cravenness of McConnell, McCarthy, et al. Ultimately, though, the joke is on us.”

“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has been maneuvering behind the scenes to contain the fallout over damning and contradictory conversations he had with other GOP lawmakers about then-President Donald Trump in the immediate aftermath of January 6,” CNN reports.

“The California Republican dialed up key GOP members throughout Friday and spoke to Trump by phone Thursday night… And he has so far managed to calm nerves inside the House GOP Conference and prevent a public revolt from his right flank, who could jeopardize his path to the speakership if Republicans win the House.”

“McCarthy is expected to address his conference on the matter when Republicans meet privately next Wednesday.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “revoked Disney’s special tax privileges in the state, culminating an extraordinary clash between one of the Republican Party’s leading figures and a powerful company with deep historical ties in his state,” the New York Times reports.

“The move, which reverses 55 years of precedent, came after a weekslong battle with Disney that largely centered on the company’s criticism of an education law Mr. DeSantis signed that is at the center of America’s latest culture fight. The education law, called the Parental Rights in Education measure — or, to its critics, ‘Don’t Say Gay’ — limits classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in some grades.”

Said DeSantis: “I’m just not comfortable having that type of agenda get special treatment in my state.”

CNBC: Florida taxpayers could face a $1 billion Disney debt bomb if its special district status is revoked.

New York Times: “Using online sample materials provided by publishers to Florida school districts, The New York Times was able to review 21 of the rejected books and see what may have led the state to reject them. Because Florida has released so few details about its textbook review process, it is unknown whether these examples led to the rejections. But they do illustrate the way in which these concepts appear — and don’t appear — in curriculum materials.”

“In most of the books, there was little that touched on race, never mind an academic framework like critical race theory.”

Satellite images shared with The Daily Beast show mass graves just outside of the besieged city of Mariupol in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) “will be among the recipients this year of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, which is given by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation to underscore the importance of fighting for democracy,” the Washington Post reports.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) appeared “at a hearing Friday in Atlanta in a challenge filed by voters who say she shouldn’t be allowed to seek reelection because she helped facilitate the attack on the Capitol that disrupted certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory,” the AP reports.

Said Greene: “I can’t believe this judge has not thrown this case out and seen this case for what it is: nothing but a big, funded scam for the Democrats trying to control our elections.”

Greene “declined to say whether unlawfully interfering with the counting of electoral votes in a presidential election would make someone ‘an enemy of the Constitution,’ as she testified about her role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as part of a case seeking to disqualify from her from seeking reelection,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Greene: “I don’t know. I don’t know if it defines it that way.”

Greene also said that she believed Joe Biden had lost the 2020 election to President Donald Trump but claimed it was “not accurate” that she wanted Congress not to certify Biden as the winner. What Greene said on Jan. 3, 2021: “We aren’t going to let this election be stolen by Joe Biden and the Democrats.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) suggested that the House Jan. 6 committee’s upcoming hearings will be dramatic and include explosive revelations, NBC News reports.  Said Raskin: “The hearings will tell a story that will really blow the roof off the House.”

“A Florida man has been arrested for allegedly pepper spraying officers at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and who law enforcement officials say then allegedly made a menacing call to the FBI special agent investigating his role in the riot,” NBC News reports.

“Barry Bennett Ramey, who officials say was affiliated with the Proud Boys, was arrested in Florida on Thursday.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray told 60 Minutes that the biggest threat the U.S. faces from a counter-intelligence perspective is from China — and especially the Chinese Communist Party.   Said Wray: “No country presents a broader, more severe threat to our ideas, our innovation, our economic security than China. And they are targeting our innovation, our trade secrets, our intellectual property on a scale that’s unprecedented in history they have a bigger hacking program than that of every other major nation combined. They have stolen more of Americans’ personal and corporate data than every nation combined.”  He added: “We are now moving at a pace where we’re opening a new China counter-intelligence investigation about every 12 hours.”

“Former president Donald Trump offered his most explicit statement to date that he threatened not to defend NATO allies from attacks by Russia,” the Washington Post reports.  “The comments — an apparent reference to NATO’s 2018 summit in Brussels, which Trump shook up with his threats — were the most extensive account from Trump about his mind-set and intentions at the time. They don’t fully jibe with how others described the conversations at the time, although they may still be an accurate window into how he felt.”

“Facing a growing rebellion from within the Democratic Party, the White House is standing behind its decision to end on May 23 a Trump-era deportation policy for migrants encountered at the southern border,” Politico reports.  That decision to end the use of the public health order known as Title 42 has placed President Joe Biden in a political bind. The president is attempting to balance his long-standing promise to revoke the policy — which, under the banner of fighting the Covid pandemic, justified the immediate expulsion of migrants without due process — right as Republicans weaponize immigration before the midterms and as a growing number of Democratic senators want restrictions to remain in place for fear that the administration is not prepared for a summer surge of migrants to the border.

Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) warned the Biden administration of a looming immigration crisis if border agents no longer have a Trump-era tool to expel migrants from the country, Fox News reports.

Fareed Zakaria: “If oil prices remain over $100 a barrel — and they could easily go much higher — Europe will soon enter a recession, and the entire global economy will see a drop off of growth and political backlash against the sanctions. This would almost certainly mean the collapse of the coalition against Russia, as countries search for ways to gain cheaper energy. That is surely Vladimir’s Putin’s hope.”

“The only plausible path to keep the pressure on Russia while not crippling the global economy is to get oil prices down. And the only sustainable way to do this is to get the world’s largest “swing producer,” Saudi Arabia, as well as other gulf states such as the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, to increase production of oil.”

“It’s last call at the bar of the Trump International Hotel in Washington,” the New York Times reports.  “The hotel — which for much of President Donald Trump’s four years at the White House served as his dining-out spot, a gathering place for his allies and a bazaar of sorts for those seeking influence and access — is slated to be sold in the coming days to a Florida investor group that will take down the Trump name and rebrand it as a Waldorf Astoria.”

“After championing the biggest expansion in federal aid to American families in decades, President Joe Biden is now putting the government’s budget deficit back in the spotlight –a nod to fiscal conservatism that may be needed to pass any more of his agenda,” Bloomberg reports.

“It’s a message the White House plainly hopes particularly resonates with Senator Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who blocked Biden’s ambitious ‘Build Back Better’ economic legislation in December. Manchin has argued that any revised plan — including higher corporate taxes, climate-change measures and prescription drug reform  — must cut the deficit.”

Washington Post: “Some advocates are increasingly frustrated over the discordant approach, arguing that Biden is sacrificing some of his long-term goal of combating climate change — and a presidential legacy of helping steer the nation away from fossil fuels — in exchange for the short-term aim of lowering prices at the pump.”

“Beyond that, some contend the moves will barely affect gas prices.”

Washington Post: “The stream of shootings comes amid a grim backdrop of increased gun violence nationwide, and at a time when mayors, police chiefs and mediators working on the streets to curb the bloodshed were already reporting a disturbing shift. Grievances or minor slights that might have once led to fistfights, they said, were instead suddenly escalating to gunfire.”

“In some of the recent shootings that left numerous people dead or injured, officials said the gunfire appeared to be tied to disputes among people or groups gathered in public or crowded areas. But this violence underscored that shootings leaving several people injured or killed are up significantly compared with before the pandemic, and the ongoing toll has public officials and others fearful heading into the summer months.”

“Guns became the leading cause of death among children and teens in 2020, killing more people ages 1 to 19 in the U.S. than vehicle crashes, drugs overdoses or cancer,” NBC News reports.

“More than 4,300 died of firearm-related injuries that year — a 29 percent increase from 2019 — according to a research letter published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.”m

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

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