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Cup of Joe – 7/16/22

When asked whether next week’s hearing that the January 6 Committee has scheduled would be its final public presentation, Rep. Bennie Thompson told NBC News: “I’m hoping it is, but something could come up, just like the Hutchinson situation that warranted what we felt was an immediate hearing.”

“The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot said its next hearing will focus on how former President Donald Trump’s failure to quell the violent mob for several hours showed a ‘supreme dereliction of duty,’” CNBC reports.

“The committee’s eighth public hearing, expected to air in prime time on July 21, marks its last scheduled presentation of evidence implicating Trump in a multi-pronged conspiracy to overturn his 2020 election loss that culminated in the deadly invasion.”

“The final hearing will highlight the more-than-three-hour gap between Trump’s departure from a rally that preceded the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, and his eventual call for the mob to go home.”

“Federal Reserve officials may debate a historic one percentage-point rate hike later this month after another searing inflation report piled pressure on the central bank to act,” Bloomberg reports.

“New testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone prompted the Jan. 6 committee to delay a hearing that had been informally planned for this Thursday hearing by a week,” Axios reports.

Said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD): “I know that we’ve just changed Thursday’s meeting to next Thursday… I think we were shooting for this Thursday, but now we have an infusion of new testimony.”

He added: “I think that Cipollone’s testimony has opened up a number of different avenues.”

“The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack scrambled to add new testimony from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to its latest hearing on Tuesday, and in the process bumped aside evidence about former President Trump’s ties to violent extremist groups,” The Hill reports.

Said Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS): “It was in the original script, but we pulled some back just because of the timing. The Cipollone deposition was important. And obviously, it’s just a choice we had to make.”

“I’m not getting into that car.”

That’s what Vice President reportedly told Secret Service agents after being whisked away to an undisclosed part of the Capitol as rioters flooded the halls on January 6.

Pence almost certainly sensed that his Secret Service detail was compromised and intended to drive him away from the building in order to prevent him from certifying the 2020 election results. He probably suspected the Secret Service was part of the effort to keep Donald Trump in power.

The episode was reviewed by the January 6 Committee but it was first reported by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker in their book, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year. The authors write that Pence feared there was a “conspiracy” by his own agents to “vindicate the insurrection.”

As Rep. Jaime Raskin (D-MD) recently told NBC News: “Pence uttered what I think are the six most chilling words of this entire thing I’ve seen so far: ‘I’m not getting in that car.’ He knew exactly what this inside coup they had planned for was going to do.”

Even more chilling is the news that the Secret Service erased text messages from January 5 and January 6, 2021 after oversight officials requested the agency’s electronic communications. That smells of an attempted cover up.

As we learn more about what happened that day, there’s been plenty of reason to question what the Secret Service has to say.

Cassidy Hutchinson testified last month that Tony Oranto, a Secret Service official, told her that Trump angrily demanded Secret Service take him to the Capitol. When they refused, Trump to attempted to grab the steering wheel himself and even “lunged” at an agent.

Soon thereafter anonymous sources within the Secret Service disputed the shocking testimony.

But that didn’t hold up long. Sources within the Secret Service told CNN that those details had been circulating for months among agents. Investigative reporter Hunter Walker tweeted that he had heard the same story — including the physical altercation — months before Hutchinson’s testimony. And just yesterday, a D.C. police officer confirmed more of Hutchinson’s testimony

Pence didn’t trust the Secret Service on January 6. We probably shouldn’t either.

“The Justice Department has asked the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol for evidence it has accumulated about the scheme by former President Donald Trump and his allies to put forward false slates of pro-Trump electors in battleground states won by Joe Biden in 2020,” the New York Times reports.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the chairman of the committee, “disclosed the request to reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, and a person familiar with the panel’s work said discussions with the Justice Department about the false elector scheme were ongoing. Those talks suggest that the department is sharpening its focus on that aspect of Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, one with a direct line to the former president.”

New York Times: “First, he killed a plan that would have forced power plants to clean up their climate-warming pollution. Then, he shattered an effort to help consumers pay for electric vehicles. And, finally, he said he could not support government incentives for solar and wind companies or any of the other provisions that the rest of his party and his president say are vital to ensure a livable planet.”

“Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who took more campaign cash from the oil and gas industry than any other senator, and who became a millionaire from his family coal business, independently blew up the Democratic Party’s legislative plans to fight climate change.”

Ron Brownstein: Mother Nature dissents.

Although Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is responsible for sinking the latest Democratic efforts to deal with climate change, Sara Goddard notes the problem goes far beyond one senator.

Jonathan Bernstein: “It’s not unusual for a lot of what happens in congressional hearings to be scripted; indeed, it’s pretty normal. But even when partisanship is minimized and members are cooperative (and yes, even in these days of partisan polarization, there’s plenty of cooperation), representatives almost always read off their own individual scripts, with no more than halting coordination even within the parties. For a hearing to be centrally scripted … that’s highly unusual.”

“Some of this would have been possible had there been additional, dissenting Republicans on the committee. But it would have been a lot harder. Even if the other Republicans had been pro-democracy and acted in good faith — unlikely, but let’s suppose — they probably would have appealed to the impulse of many journalists to hold both parties responsible for any disputes that break out.”

“More likely, they would have deliberately provoked fights to make the story about committee squabbling, rather than the evidence presented. They also could have selectively leaked things from the depositions to take the steam out of the hearings. But even just adding minority member time would have broken up the force and the effectiveness of the presentations.”

“President Biden defended his decision to meet with the Saudi crown prince who orchestrated the killing and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying the Saudis must be involved in any effort to stabilize a volatile region,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Biden: “My views on Khashoggi have been absolutely, positively clear and I have never been quiet about talking about human rights. The reason I’m going to Saudi Arabia is to promote U.S. interests in a way that I think we have an opportunity to reassert our influence in the Middle East.”

President Joe Biden is set to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia later today despite previously saying he would only meet with his father, the BBC reports.

The change of plans comes just two years after Biden vowed to make the country a “pariah.”

NBC News: Months of intense lobbying persuaded Biden to go to Saudi Arabia.

“Record-high gas prices might be in the rearview mirror for drivers, as prices at the pump have now fallen 30 days in a row amid a drop in crude oil,” Yahoo Finance reports.

President Biden said the United States is “not going to wait forever” for Iran to rejoin a nuclear deal as he held a joint news conference in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, in which both leaders vowed not to let Iran develop nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reports.

“Democratic-controlled cities within Republican states have launched improvisational efforts to preserve abortion services, even as officials acknowledge they will probably fall short of protecting doctors and patients sufficiently to serve as a substitute for a constitutional right to the procedure,” the Washington Post reports.

“Dozens of big-city prosecutors, mostly in the South and Midwest, have said they will not file charges against medical workers who conduct abortions or their patients. Taken together, the steps do not amount to an affirmative right, but they could make the penalties for abortion more hypothetical than Republicans running the prosecutors’ states would prefer as they invoke bans on the procedure.”

“The Biden administration saw a key figure of its financial-regulatory team move into place as the Senate confirmed Michael Barr to become the government’s most influential banking regulator,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Barr’s confirmation Wednesday as the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman for supervision provides the central bank with a full seven-member board for the first time in nearly a decade and adds to a group of Biden-appointed bank overseers who may revisit financial regulations that were eased during the Trump administration.”

“Saudi Arabia has taken a small step toward normalizing relations with Israel by agreeing to allow Israeli planes to fly between the two countries, President Biden said on Friday — a new example of the growing ties between Israel and the Arab world after decades of diplomatic isolation,” the New York Times reports.

Wall Street Journal: “Allowing flights from Israel to fly over Saudi airspace marked another move in a broader effort to normalize relations between the two countries that Mr. Biden has pushed during his Middle East trip. The two countries see a shared threat posed by Iran, which the president emphasized repeatedly during the trip, though Saudi Arabia maintains it won’t normalize relations without a solution to the Palestinian issue.”

“President Joe Biden’s motorcade no longer had Israeli flags on it during a visit to a Palestinian hospital in east Jerusalem on Friday, despite his assurances that the stop is not a statement about Israeli sovereignty in its capital city,” the Jerusalem Post reports.

“That rejection was seen by many in Israel as signaling that he does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in that part of the city.”

Tim Miller on wheter DeSantis is worse than Trump: “Honestly, I think a reasonable case could be made for either view. You can peruse the various links above if you want to decide for yourself. As for me, gun to my head, I’d side with the people saying DeSantis would be less of an existential threat.”

“To be clear—saying someone is less of an existential threat to democracy than Donald Trump might be the faintest praise ever uttered in American politics. It doesn’t carry with it any rejection of the many legitimate concerns that we small-“l” liberals have about a potential DeSantis administration. It merely acknowledges that Trump’s psychopathy is so extreme as to put him in a category all of his own. And as such, anything that keeps him from darkening the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue again is almost certainly an improvement.”

Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer on Twitter: “If Trump runs, the smart move is for him to declare on 1/6/23. The anniversary of the riot at the Capitol will be about him anyway, so he might as well seize the day and make it his.”

Missouri’s divorce law has come under more scrutiny since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Riverfront Times reports.  Apparently, pregnant women cannot get divorced in that Handmaids Tale state. 

“A former CIA software engineer was convicted on Wednesday federal charges accusing him of causing the biggest theft of classified information in CIA history,” the AP reports.

Frederick Frazier (R), a Texas House candidate backed by Donald Trump “has been indicted on a charge of impersonating a public servant,” the Texas Tribune reports.

“A Minneapolis man told cops he’d been the victim of a terrifying, politically motivated attack in the heat of the 2020 presidential race: His camper van was set on fire because it displayed a Trump flag, and the flames had spread to engulf other vehicles and his garage, which itself had been spray-painted with graffiti supporting Joe Biden and Black Lives Matter, just weeks after local police killed George Floyd,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Investigators have now concluded that he staged the whole thing.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) invited the far-right comedian Alex Stein onto her Facebook show after he sexually harassed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) at the Capitol, Insider reports.  Greene suggested AOC should say thank you for the “compliment.”

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

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