Cup of Joe – 4/26/22

“Twitter is poised to agree a sale to Elon Musk for around $43 billion in cash, the price the chief executive of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) has called his ‘best and final’ offer for the social media company,” Reuters reports.

Wall Street Journal: “Twitter had been expected to rebuff the offer, which Mr. Musk made earlier this month without saying how he would pay for it. But after he disclosed last week that he now has $46.5 billion in financing, Twitter is taking a fresh look at the offer and is more likely than before to seek to negotiate, people familiar with the matter said. The situation is fast-moving and it is still far from guaranteed Twitter will do so.”

CNBC: “Assuming the deal closes and Musk takes ownership of Twitter, the company will be controlled by the world’s richest person and someone who’s been a heavy critic of the platform while using it in legally contentious ways, mostly through sensitive posts about his car manufacturer, Tesla.”

Axios: “This is an earthquake in global media and politics, where Twitter hosts the discourse. It’s sure to be criticized by those who disagree with Musk’s laissez-faire views on content moderation and cheered by those who believe Twitter has been too heavy-handed with its block button.”

Vanity Fair: Trump’s Truth Social appears officially fucked.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated. I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.” — Elon Mush, on acquiring Twitter.

I’m very interested in what “authenticating all humans” means.

“White House officials and Democratic strategists are privately worrying how Elon Musk’s $44 billion hostile takeover of Twitter will affect the 2024 presidential election — especially whether the billionaire will allow former President Donald Trump return to the platform,” CNBC reports.

“Members of Biden’s inner circle and party strategists are concerned about an increase in misinformation on the platform under Musk’s leadership and ahead of the 2024 presidential election, which could pit Biden against the former president in a rematch.”

Former President Donald Trump told Fox News that he will not return to Twitter, even as Elon Musk purchases the social media company and reinstates his account, instead using his own Truth Social as the sole platform for his voice.

Said Trump: “I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on Truth. I hope Elon buys Twitter because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on Truth.”

Trump said he will start using his own social network within the next week.

CNN: “The vast trove of texts offers the most revealing picture to date of how Trump’s inner circle, supporters and Republican lawmakers worked behind the scenes to try to overturn the election results and then reacted to the violence that effort unleashed at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

“The texts include everything from plans to fight the election results to surprising and unexpected reactions on January 6 from some of Trump’s staunchest allies.”

“In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law. I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him. They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next.” — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), in a text message to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 17, 2021.

Greene apparently does not know how to spell “martial law.”

“Police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020, accused Sen. Mike Lee of lying about his reasons for opposing a full investigation into the events leading up to the attack,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.  “The officers allege newly revealed text messages detailing Lee’s efforts to help former President Donald Trump reverse his 2020 election loss suggest he was trying to cover up his involvement.”

Dan Balz: “Power is intoxicating, its pursuit revealing of character but sometimes debilitating; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is Exhibit A. In his ceaseless drive to become the next speaker of the House, he has demonstrated weakness, hypocrisy and a willingness to lie to save his skin…”

“This is what the Republican Party in the House of Representatives now stands for — the abandonment of a principled conservative leader and the possible elevation of a politician whose abiding principle is the pursuit of power, one who has bent and bowed before a former president whose actions he denounced and knew were wrong.”

“Hours after a mob ransacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in a bid to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described himself as ‘exhilarated’ about the potential damage to President Donald Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

Said McConnell, to one of the authors of This Will Not Pass: “I feel exhilarated by the fact that this fellow finally, totally discredited himself.”

He added: “He put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Couldn’t have happened at a better time.”

On the heels of a visit to Kyiv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters that Russia is clearly “failing” in its war aims and “Ukraine is succeeding,” while Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the United States wanted to see “Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine,” the Washington Post reports.

“The U.S. promised to steadily re-establish its diplomatic presence in Ukraine in a new signal of Western support as the war reached its 2-month mark on Sunday,” NPR reports.  “News of the diplomatic pledge emerged after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Kyiv, as Zelenskyy urged the world to send more weapons and support to help his besieged country fight back against Russian invaders.”

“President Biden announced on Monday that he intends to nominate Bridget Brink as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine,” Axios reports.  “The U.S. has not had an ambassador to Ukraine since former President Trump removed Marie Yovanovitch from the position in 2019.”

“Western countries are rushing heavy weaponry to Ukraine as the war enters what promises to be a deadly, and potentially protracted, new phase,” Politico  reports. “Those deliveries are coming amid increasingly desperate pleas from Ukrainian battlefield commanders as they endure withering Russian artillery and rocket fire that could last weeks or months.”

Financial Times: “Just a month after opposing a Polish scheme to supply MiG-29 fighter jets to the Ukrainian air force, the White House has pivoted, facilitating the supply of spare parts to Kyiv to get 20 warplanes back in the air — and vastly expanding the range of heavy weaponry it is delivering into the fight.”

Sweden and Finland have agreed to submit simultaneous membership applications to the US-led NATO alliance as early as the middle of next month, The Guardian reports.

“Forensic doctors carrying out postmortem examinations on bodies in mass graves north of Kyiv say they have found evidence some women were raped before being killed by Russian forces,” The Guardian reports.

“A New York judge on Monday held Donald Trump in contempt of court for failing to turn over documents to the state’s attorney general, an extraordinary rebuke of the former president,” the New York Times reports.

“The judge, Arthur Engoron, ordered Mr. Trump to comply with a subpoena seeking records and assessed a fine of $10,000 per day until he satisfies the court’s requirements. In essence, the judge concluded that Mr. Trump had failed to cooperate with the attorney general, Letitia James, and follow the court’s orders.”

“Beijing said it is at a critical point in its efforts to halt a Covid-19 outbreak in the city, as new cases spread from school students and a tour group, while deaths in Shanghai more than tripled from a day earlier,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“While still low by global standards, the latest numbers are a challenge to the ability of China’s top leaders to wipe out outbreaks with their zero-Covid policy. As pockets of infections flare up in the country’s most important cities, local officials are desperate to avoid a repeat of the economic disruption and growing public discontent seen in the financial hub of Shanghai, large parts of which have been under lockdown for weeks.”

“The Chinese capital Beijing has kicked off mass testing for millions of residents after a spike in Covid cases,” the BBC reports.

Donald Trump called for Queen Elizabeth to strip Prince Harry and Meghan of their royal titles, The Sun reports.  Trump also said Harry, who quit royal duty to live in the United States with Meghan, was the most “whipped” man he has ever seen.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “congratulated Emmanuel Macron on Monday for his re-election as France’s president after defeating Marine Le Pen, a far-right candidate many in Russia favored as a potential game-changing option for the Kremlin amid the threat of new sanctions and in the midst of the war in Ukraine,” the New York Times reports.

Said Putin: “I sincerely wish you success in your state activities, as well as good health and well-being.”

Jonathan Bernstein: “The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has once again delayed its public hearings; the latest estimate is that they’ll happen in June.”

“It’s possible that there’s a good reason that the committee has been so slow. I’ve speculated that its members mistakenly think that their report is more important than it is, or that they think they need to have every piece of the puzzle solved before moving on to public hearings. But maybe there’s something else that we don’t know.”

“What I can say is that there are real costs to waiting.”

“When Congress returns this week, a pandemic-era immigration policy could complicate efforts to pass further coronavirus relief legislation and possibly another Ukraine aid measure if centrist Democrats side with Republicans in opposing the Biden administration’s repeal of the border rules,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Republicans are trying to amend a $10 billion coronavirus relief bill that is being considered in the Senate to reinstate the border policy. They are hoping enough Democrats will join them.”

“A request for additional aid to Ukraine could also become tied up if Democratic leaders decide to move that measure along with the Covid-19 aid package. President Biden said last week the administration would send a supplemental budget request for weapons and ammunition.”

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren is slamming Rep. Kevin McCarthy as a ‘liar and a traitor’ over recordings that show the House Republican leader — despite his denials — placing responsibility on then-President Donald Trump for the Capitol riot and suggesting Trump should resign,” the AP reports.

“It’s unusually strong language to use against the House Republican leader, who is in line to become speaker — second in presidential succession — if Republicans win control of the House in the November elections.”

“Intelligence officials had gathered to brief select members of Congress on future threats to U.S. elections when a key lawmaker in the room, No. 3 House Republican Elise Stefanik of New York, tried to move the discussion to a new topic: Hunter Biden’s laptop,” the AP reports.

“Stefanik, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, asked the officials during the April 1 briefing whether they had any evidence of Russian involvement in the release of Biden’s laptop to the news media in the fall of 2020 — a possibility floated by high-ranking former government officials in the weeks before the presidential election. Intelligence officials told Stefanik the question would be better answered by law enforcement.”

“Stefanik’s query reflects a widespread sentiment in the GOP that questions about the financial dealings of President Joe Biden’s son remain unanswered. And they say they intend to do something about it.”

New York Times: “By most accounts, becoming attorney general was a tough adjustment for a former appeals judge who had last worked at the Justice Department in the late 1990s. But more than a year into his tenure, colleagues say that a cautious leader has found some footing, more a prosecutor now than a deliberator.”

“In interviews, a dozen administration officials and federal prosecutors, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions, said Mr. Garland, 69, initially ran his office like a judge’s chambers, peppering even Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta with the kind of granular questions that clerks might expect while writing his opinions. But the slow pace that characterized Mr. Garland’s early months has somewhat quickened. Decisions that took weeks at the outset can now take a day. And with more top officials confirmed, he can be less directly involved in the department’s day-to-day work.”

Whether he likes it or not, Merrick Garland’s legacy will be defined by how he handles Donald Trump.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), seen as the top candidate for House Republican whip if the GOP takes the majority, will forgo a leadership race and instead plans to run for chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Punchbowl News reports.

“Truth be told, the whip job will be quite difficult in a GOP majority. There are two must-pass bills that the GOP cannot afford to mess up – government funding and lifting the debt limit. The rest of the House Republican agenda will probably run into resistance with President Joe Biden – if it doesn’t get blocked in the Senate first. Furthermore, there will be intense pressure on McCarthy to take drastic action, including wide-ranging investigations and possibly impeaching Biden. That’s not terribly appealing to some in the conference and could result in a backlash in 2024.”

The so-called “People’s Convoy” was pelted by kids armed with cartons of eggs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“The trucker convoy, which aimed to emulate the disruptive Canadian protests against Covid-19 restrictions, has failed spectacularly at every turn. During a few weeks of driving around Washington, D.C., the convoy was held up by a single bicyclist, and some convoy members said they were having difficulty finding places for bathroom breaks and, as a result, were forced to urinate in their pants.”

“A new book details Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s (D-IL) strong pushback to the Biden team rejecting her for vice president on the grounds her Thailand birth to an American father would give rise to distracting birther lies and possibly litigation,” the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Said Duckworth: “I’ve beaten every asshole. who’s come after me with that.”

In the end, Joe Biden told her it’s “not a question of whether you’re eligible, he said. It’s just a question of whether we want this to become a distraction in the campaign.”

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

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