Cup of Joe – 6/8/22

“Seventeen months after a mob of Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol with false claims of a stolen election, House Democrats plan to use a landmark set of investigative hearings beginning this week to try to refocus voters’ attention on Jan. 6, aiming to tie Republicans directly to an unprecedented plot to undermine democracy itself,” the New York Times reports.

“With their control of Congress hanging in the balance, Democrats plan to use made-for-television moments and a carefully choreographed rollout of revelations over the course of six hearings to remind the public of the magnitude of Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the election, and to persuade voters that the coming midterm elections are a chance to hold Republicans accountable for it.”

“It is an uphill battle at a time when polls show that voters’ attention is focused elsewhere, including on inflation, rising coronavirus cases and record-high gas prices. But Democrats argue the hearings will give them a platform for making a broader case about why they deserve to stay in power.”

“The House select committee is planning to present live testimony during its first public hearing Thursday night from two people who interacted directly with the Proud Boys on and around the events of January 6, 2021,” CNN reports.

“The panel is expected to call documentarian Nick Quested to testify about his experience filming members of the Proud Boys in the week leading up to and on January 6, and Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was injured after she was part of an altercation involving members of the Proud Boys while defending the US Capitol during the riot.”

Fox News announced on Monday that Fox News Channel won’t be airing the House Jan. 6 Committee’s public hearing during primetime on Thursday. The primetime programs will only cover the hearings “as news warrants,” according to the press release.

That means when the hearing starts at 8 p.m. ET, Fox News viewers can instead watch Tucker Carlson rant about how fake the hearing is and how the Jan. 6 panel’s out to get red-blooded patriots and was it really that big a deal that Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol?

Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will be shifted over to Fox Business Network to cover the hearing live over there, per Fox’s press release. FBN has fewer than 100,000 viewers tuning in at 8 p.m. ET on average, while Fox News has more than three million viewers, CNN media analyst Brian Stelter notes.

Miles Taylor, a former Homeland Security official in the Trump administration, tweeted that former President Donald Trump “was likely seeking to provoke an insurrection on January 6, 2021, so he could impose martial law and strengthen his grip on power,” Insider reports.

Said Taylor: “I believe Trump intended to incite an insurrection as a pretext for declaring some form of marshal law (sic). He mused about invoking the Insurrection Act YEARS before Jan 6 — calling it a ‘magic power’ — in convos I witnessed and was briefed on.”

Robert Sinners, a Trump campaign director in Georgia, sent an email in December 2020 to the 16 fake Trump electors in the state the day before their meeting at the Georgia Capitol, where they signed certificates falsely claiming to be electors, asking for “your complete discretion in this process.”

“Your duties are imperative to ensure the end result — a win in Georgia for President Trump — but will be hampered unless we have complete secrecy and discretion,” Sinners wrote in the email, which was obtained by the Washington Post and CNN.

Sinners defended the email in a statement to the Post and CNN, saying he was just doing what lawyers had told him to do. “I was advised by attorneys that this was necessary in order to preserve the pending legal challenge,” said Sinners, who now works for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R).

Federal prosecutors obtained the email, according to CNN.

George Conway, the husband of Donald Trump’s one-time White House aide Kellyanne Conway, accused the former president of leading a “multifaceted criminal conspiracy” aimed at shutting down a legitimate election and overthrowing democracy, the HuffPost reports.

Donald Trump on Monday reposted an edited image on Truth Social that showed his face being added to Mount Rushmore, the South Morning China Post reports.

“Shortly before pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Secret Service agents scrambled to try to secure a motorcade route so then-President Donald Trump could accompany his supporters as they marched on Congress to demand he stay in power,” the Washington Post reports.

“The hectic events that day followed nearly two weeks of persistent pressure from Trump on the Secret Service to devise a plan for him to join his supporters on a march to the Capitol from the park near the White House where he was leading a massive rally that he predicted would be ‘wild.’”

“State police in Michigan have obtained warrants to seize voting equipment and election-related records in at least three towns and one county in the past six weeks, police records show, widening the largest known investigation into unauthorized attempts by allies of former President Donald Trump to access voting systems,” Reuters reports.

“Steve Bannon, set to go to trial next month for defying a congressional subpoena, has subpoenaed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection as he builds his defense,” CNN reports.

“The House Oversight Committee opened a new investigation into foreign gifts received by former President Trump during his final year in office,” Axios reports.

“Senators buckled down Tuesday for days of additional negotiations on a response to recent high-profile mass shootings, retreating from earlier calls for quick action even as they expressed optimism that a long-elusive deal to address gun violence might eventually be possible,” the Washington Post reports.

“The calls for patience came as a small bipartisan group of senators continues delicate talks on a legislative package that could include the first significant new federal gun restrictions in three decades, along with provisions dealing with school security and mental health.”

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said “a group of senators are closer than he’s ever seen to a bipartisan agreement” on new gun restrictions, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

He hoped that negotiators “can develop a framework by the end of this week, though he indicated that timeline could be a stretch.”

Said Toomey: “I certainly can’t guarantee any outcome, but it feels to me like we are closer than we have been since I have been in the Senate.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said Republicans would only agree to narrowly targeted measures to address gun violence and rejected an end-of-the-week deadline for a deal set by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Bloomberg reports.

“The two leading GOP senators involved in gun talks on Capitol Hill signaled Monday evening that it’s unlikely Congress will raise the age requirement for purchasing semiautomatic firearms to 21, instead saying they are looking at changing the criminal background check system to access juvenile records before a sale is complete,” CNN reports.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) “voiced his support Monday for raising the age to 21 for purchasing semi-automatic weapons and questioned why individuals need to own high-powered AR-15-style weapons, putting him at odds with Republicans who are resisting imposing any restrictions on access to firearms,” CNN reports.

Punchbowl News: “One man has his eye on becoming the next Senate Republican leader, and the other has pined for the White House for roughly a decade.”

“And now, Texas GOP Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz – whose political bases are separated by a mere 160 miles – find themselves on opposite sides of the highest-stakes gun-control debate on Capitol Hill in years.”

“Rarely do two members of the same party from the same state take such diametrically opposite roles in a debate with such consequence back home.”

“Since Russia invaded, NATO nations have upgraded Ukraine’s arsenal with increasingly sophisticated tools, with more promised, like the advanced multiple-launch rocket systems pledged by the United States and Britain,” the New York Times reports.

“But training soldiers how to use the equipment has become a significant and growing obstacle.”

“A federal judge in New York on Monday signed a warrant authorizing the seizure by the Justice Department of two jets owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich,” CNBC reports. “The seizure effort is the latest in a series of sanctions and economic attacks on Russian billionaires in response to their nation’s invasion of Ukraine.”

“When CIA Director William Burns arrived in the United Arab Emirates in May with the U.S. delegation following the U.A.E. president’s death, it was his third visit as spy chief—a reflection not only of the Gulf country’s strategic importance to Washington but also of Mr. Burns’s role in American national-security strategy,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Fifteen months into President Biden’s tenure, Mr. Burns, a veteran diplomat, has assumed a unique place on the president’s team, current and former U.S. officials say. While running the Central Intelligence Agency, he has also become a sort of special envoy for complex problems.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Financial Times it was “great news” that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a no-confidence vote yesterday.

Said Zelensky: “I am very happy about this. Boris Johnson is a true friend of Ukraine.”

“Three of the key supply-side factors driving today’s global inflation levels have already turned around, meaning relief could be on the horizon for shoppers worldwide,” Bloomberg reports.

A top U.S. government watchdog warned Tuesday that the nation’s unemployment insurance system remains at “high risk” for waste, fraud and abuse, revealing that federal authorities already have opened more than 38,000 “investigative matters” that potentially involve stolen funds during the pandemic, the Washington Post reports.

Washington Post: “Surging home prices and rents are cascading down to the country’s mobile home parks, where heightened demand, low supply and an increase in corporate owners is driving up monthly costs for low-income residents with few alternatives. At the same time, private-equity firms and developers are often circling nearby, looking to buy up such properties and turn them into more lucrative ventures, including timeshare resorts, wedding venues and condominiums.”

“The wage gap between chief executives and workers at some of the US companies with the lowest-paid staff grew even wider last year, with CEOs making an average of $10.6 million, while the median worker received $23,968,” The Guardian reports.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Monday that his office was investigating Twitter over “potentially false reporting over its fake bot accounts” hours after Tesla CEO Elon Musk cited fake bots in his threat to end his $44 billion deal to buy the social media giant.

Paxton is demanding that Twitter hand over documents proving its claim that bots make up less than 5 percent of its active daily users–the exact issue Musk is using to try to worm his way out of the deal.

On Monday, Musk accused Twitter of refusing to give him data on how much of its user count is just spam bots, which he claims take up more than five percent of Twitter’s daily user activity. The billionaire doesn’t care about spam bots.

“Biden officials in recent months privately discussed how many daily Covid-19 deaths it would take to declare the virus tamed,” Politico reports.

“The discussions, which took place across the administration, and have not been previously disclosed, involved a scenario in which 200 or fewer Americans die per day, a target kicked around before officials ultimately decided not to incorporate it into pandemic planning.”

Pharmacies, states, U.S. territories and federal agencies discarded 82.1 million Covid vaccine doses from December 2020 through mid-May — just over 11 percent of the doses the federal government distributed, NBC News reports.

The CDC said that “new genetic sequencing data indicate there are at least two distinct monkeypox outbreaks underway outside Africa — a surprise finding that one official said suggests international spread is wider, and has been occurring for longer than has been previously realized,” Stat News reports.

The Supreme Court turned away an appeal by a St. Louis couple — Mark and Patricia McCloskey — whose law licenses were sanctioned after they pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters near their home in the summer of 2020, The Hill reports.

The revolt against British Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday — resulting in a no confidence vote — “was more serious than Downing Street had expected and leaves his authority badly damaged,” the Financial Times reports.

“But previous Conservative prime ministers — including Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Theresa May — have won similar challenges to their leadership, only to lose office shortly afterwards.”

“The scale of Johnson’s victory by 59% to 41% on Monday night was less convincing than May’s 63% to 37% confidence vote win in 2018; six months later she was forced to resign.”

Robert Shrimsley: “If at the start of this no confidence vote in Boris Johnson you had asked Conservative MPs for the worst possible result for both the party and the country, this would be pretty close to their answer.”

The Telegraph says it started when Boris Johnson’s phone rang early on Sunday afternoon.

Politico: “It wasn’t a vote on major legislation or anything — rather a procedural hurdle on Air Force nominee Alex Wagner — but it’s still quite striking that more than a dozen members of the Senate missed their first vote back after a week and a half away from D.C.”

“Here’s the tally — 14 missed it.”

The Department of Homeland Security said “a looming Supreme Court decision on abortion, an increase of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the midterm elections are potential triggers for extremist violence over the next six months,” the AP reports.

“President Joe Biden’s high-stakes Summit of the Americas was meant to reaffirm U.S. ties to its own neighborhood while tackling thorny issues of economic growth and migration. But one of the most important neighbors won’t be attending, raising substantial questions about the relevance of the gathering,” Politico reports.

“Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a key player in Biden’s plan, announced Monday that he will skip the summit, a boycott that could prompt other nations to follow suit. The move left White House officials scrambling to set the agenda, not to mention the guest list. And it cast doubt on the chances of success at a moment when a rise in migrants at the U.S. border has become a searing political flashpoint.”

As many as 6,000 migrants, many from Venezuela, set off from southern Mexico early Monday aiming to reach the United States, timing their journey to coincide with the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles this week, Reuters reports.

Migration activists said the group could be one of the region’s largest migrant caravans in recent years.

“Democratic powerbrokers close to Eric Garcetti privately pressured Sen. Mark Kelly to support the Los Angeles mayor’s ambassadorial nomination,” Politico reports.

“As part of the push, they left the strong impression that the Arizona Democrat could find himself cut off from donor networks should he refuse to back the beleaguered nominee to be U.S. ambassador to India.”

“The outreach infuriated Kelly, who vented to associates that he felt like he was being strong-armed over his refusal to relent on Garcetti’s nomination.”

“China is secretly building a naval facility in Cambodia for the exclusive use of its military, with both countries denying that is the case and taking extraordinary measures to conceal the operation,” the Washington Post reports.

The Economist: “Mr Xi’s first decade as chief has seen ever-stricter party rules against ‘cliques and cabals’ and the disparaging of leaders’ policies. Discipline has been reinforced by a years-long anti-corruption campaign. It has seen millions of party members and officials of all ranks investigated, ostensibly for graft and immorality but with notably harsh prison sentences for grandees who challenged or criticized Mr Xi.”

“Last month the party announced, in effect, a ban on grumbling, with retired senior members forbidden to make “negative political speeches” or comment publicly on important policies.”

The Wire China: “As Chinese-made fentanyl — a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin — has flooded the U.S. market in recent years, Chinese nationals and Mexican cartels have worked ever closer.”

“The South Korean and U.S. militaries flew 20 fighter jets over waters off South Korea’s western coast Tuesday in a continued show of force as a senior U.S. official warned of a forceful response if North Korea goes ahead with its first nuclear test explosion in nearly five years,” the AP reports.

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

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