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Cup of Joe – 7/20/22

“The U.S. Secret Service has determined it has no new texts to provide Congress relevant to its Jan. 6 investigation, and that any other texts its agents exchanged around the time of the 2021 attack on the Capitol were purged,” the Washington Post reports.

“Also, the National Archives on Tuesday sought more information on ‘the potential unauthorized deletion’ of agency text messages. The U.S. government’s chief record-keeper asked the Secret Service to report back to the Archives within 30 days about the deletion of any records, including describing what was purged and the circumstances of how the documentation was lost.”

This seems more than a little sketchy. It’s not easy to make digital communications entirely disappear unless you really try.

Insider obtained 48 pages of internal emails from the Department of Defense which detail how the military leaders monitored the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Former Trump White House aide Garrett Ziegler met Tuesday with the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection,” CNN reports.

“A former aide to then-White House economic adviser Peter Navarro, Ziegler may be able to provide the committee with additional information about the circumstances around a heated Oval Office meeting on December 18, 2020.”

Matthew Pottinger, Trump’s deputy national security adviser who resigned immediately after the Capitol attack, will be one of the witnesses at the House Jan. 6 Committee’s next (and potentially last) public hearing this Thursday, according to multiple outlets.

Sarah Matthews, Trump’s deputy press secretary who also resigned on Jan. 6, will reportedly be testifying with Pottinger. One of the things she’ll talk about is the push by Trump staffers to get him to release a statement on Jan. 6, the New York Times reports.

The hearing will examine what the committee called Trump’s “dereliction of duty” on Jan. 6 and what exactly he was up to as the violence unfolded at the Capitol.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chair of the January 6 Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol tested positive for Covid, Politico reports.

“Thompson’s Covid diagnosis won’t substantially affect Thursday’s hearing, which is being led by Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Elaine Luria (D-VA). The hearing, like the panel’s other public proceedings, is being held both virtually and in-person, which would allow Thompson to join in and question witnesses while he is in quarantine.”

ABC, NBC and CBS will preempt their normal programming to show the January 6 Committee hearing on Thursday night, while a Fox spokesman “says the hearings will be available to affiliates in the event they wish to televise them in their markets,” Deadline reports.

“The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, which had planned to finish its inquiry by September, will instead keep operating beyond that because more information keeps coming in,” Bloomberg reports.

Politico: “Committee members, aides and allies are emboldened by the public reaction to the information they’re unearthing about the former president’s actions and say their full sprint will continue, even past November. The only hard deadline, they say, is Jan. 3, 2023, when Republicans likely take over the House.”

The President is mulling declaring a national climate emergency, according to the Washington Post, now that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has tanked a deal over an already extremely watered-down Build Back Better redo that included some climate legislation.

“If an emergency is invoked, it could empower the Biden administration in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and foster cleaner energy.”

Meanwhile, these disturbing maps lay out just how extreme the heat waves in the U.S. and Europe have become (and have already killed or displaced thousands of people in Western Europe).

“President Joe Biden will travel to Massachusetts on Wednesday to promote his efforts to combat climate change but will stop short of issuing an emergency declaration that would unlock federal resources to deal with the issue,” the AP reports.

“It was not clear whether an emergency declaration remained under consideration for later action.”

“Let’s see what the Congress does. The Congress needs to act.”

— Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), quoted by ABC News, when asked if he was supportive of President Biden declaring a national climate emergency.

A majority in all but three states believe Congress should do more on climate change. However, one of those three states is West Virginia.

A Georgia grand jury issued a subpoena to Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), the Trump loyalist and failed candidate for secretary of state, as part of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ probe into 2020 election interference. Hice is challenging the subpoena, which was issued last month, in federal court.

Hice claimed that the subpoena violated the Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause and the “high-ranking official” doctrine.

A federal judge in Georgia scheduled a hearing for Hice’s challenge for this upcoming Monday. The subpoena had directed him to testify in front of the special grand jury today, but the GOP congressman’s filing stated that he and Willis’ office had come to an agreement that he wouldn’t have to testify while challenging the subpoena.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) “will accept a subpoena for his testimony issued by a Georgia grand jury investigating possible election meddling in the 2020 presidential election by then-President Donald Trump,” CNBC reports.

Eleven of the fake electors in Georgia say they’ve been told they’re now “targets” of the grand jury investigation in Fulton County, Politico reports.

“Jury selection is underway in the federal trial of Stephen Bannon, the former Trump adviser and right-wing podcaster charged with two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with an order from the House Jan. 6 committee to turn over records and testify about his actions ahead of the attack on the U.S. Capitol,” the Washington Post reports.

“Eighteen Republican lawmakers voted against the US allowing Finland and Sweden to join NATO,” Insider reports.

“Among the dissenters in the Monday vote were some of the party’s farthest-right members, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert.”

“The vote was a symbolic one to express support from the House for the applications — the formal process by which the U.S. can ratify new NATO members takes place in the Senate.”

“Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, arrives in Iran on Tuesday for a rare international visit that emphasizes how the two countries are becoming more aligned amid their isolation from Europe and the United States,” the New York Times reports.

“The Kremlin is eager to show the world — and its own people — that it still has friends, despite the global opprobrium over the war in Ukraine. That is giving Iran a new opportunity to stimulate its sanctions-starved economy, with Russian businesses that had been focused on trade with the West now racing to find new markets and suppliers.”

The Independent notes that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also travel to Tehran to meet with Putin.

“Russia ordered its forces to target the long-range missiles and artillery weapons that Western countries have recently supplied to Ukraine, a sign of how Kyiv’s additional firepower has begun to reshape the conflict,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Rachel Maddow obtained a memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland from May 25, 2022 on “election year sensitivities” — essentially reiterating former Attorney General William Barr’s policy against investigating candidates without his approval.

This gives Donald Trump even more incentive to announce his presidential candidacy early.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the Justice Department’s investigation into various efforts by Donald Trump to undermine the 2020 election will continue regardless of whether the former president announces his intention to again seek office in 2024, The Hill reports.

Said Monaco: “We’re going to continue to do our job, to follow the facts wherever they go, no matter where they lead, no matter to what level.”

She added: “We’re going to continue to investigate what was fundamentally an attack on our democracy.”

Politico: “And after bending to the senator’s demands, only to now twice watch him blow up negotiations in spectacular fashion, even Biden has expressed puzzlement. The president has told confidants that while he understands Manchin represents a deep-red state, he can’t fathom why he keeps torpedoing the party’s best-laid plans.”

“Yet even as congressional Democrats heaped criticism on Manchin — with some pushing for him to be stripped of his Energy and Natural Resources Committee gavel — the White House is resisting the temptation to make its anger known publicly.”

On Thursday, a trimmed-down version of a trimmed-down version of what was once a massive budget reconciliation proposal will begin to make its way through the Senate’s budgetary process. The proposal now includes prescription drug reform — something Democrats have been promising for years — as well as a funding extension for the Affordable Care Act.

But it’s a dramatic drop from expectations just nine months ago when it seemed Democrats might be able to pass a spending bill of $2 trillion or more. The original bill also included spending for climate change and social programs, along with repeal of the Trump tax cuts. So whose fault is that?

Political scientist Jonathan Ladd lays the blame squarely on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Referring to an agreement he had with Sen. Joe Manchin last summer, Ladd argues: “Schumer really shouldn’t be leader after this. He had this offer and he should have known that time was not on his side. It’s very hard dealing with Manchin, but that’s the job. And if you’re not up to it you should resign as leader.”

On one level, it’s hard to disagree with this. Under the best interpretation, Schumer bungled the expectations game. For months he suggested a much bigger bill was possible than Manchin had ever agreed to.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) put the blame on Manchin: “He has sabotaged the president’s agenda… This is a guy who is a major recipient of fossil fuel money… a guy who has received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires.”

But as Jonathan Bernstein points out, it’s really hard to know if a deal was possible at any point: “If Manchin was negotiating in bad faith, then there wasn’t much that Schumer (or Joe Biden, or Nancy Pelosi or anybody else) could have done.”

The political reality is that it’s very hard for the majority party to get anything done with tiny margins — especially when the minority party refuses virtually any compromise. The fact that Democrats did manage to get Republican votes for an infrastructure package, aid to Ukraine, postal reform and a gun safety bill is a testament to Schumer’s leadership. If he can add prescription drug reform and Obamacare funding to his list of accomplishments, that’s probably better than anyone expected when he took over as majority leader nearly two years ago.

“Joe Manchin isn’t the only one with the power to cut down Democrats’ pre-election Hail Mary,” Politico reports.

“Senate Republicans will raise their own objections this week as Democrats scramble to address the West Virginia Democrat’s further narrowing of their party-line bill. The GOP is readying arguments before the Senate’s nonpartisan rules arbiter in a bid to eject more items from the ever-slimmer package Democrats once called Build Back Better.”

“Republican leaders hope trimming the bill even more will leave the majority party with an embarrassingly modest final product to trumpet ahead of the midterm elections, after Manchin nixed climate and tax provisions in the final lap of negotiations.”

American Prospect: May Build Back Better never be spoken of again.

“Sen. Rand Paul unloaded on fellow Republican Mitch McConnell for the Senate GOP leader’s handling of an anti-abortion judicial nomination, criticizing McConnell for refusing to consult with him about abandoned nominee Chad Meredith,” Politico reports.

“The White House pulled Meredith’s nomination last week, with both McConnell and administration officials blaming Paul for refusing to sign off.”

“Now, the two Bluegrass State Republicans are involved in a back and forth, reigniting an intra-party and intra-state fight.”

“More than 80 of the defendants charged in relation to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol have ties to the U.S. military — most of those with a military background were veterans,” CBS News reports.

“While an overwhelming majority of those with military ties were veterans when they were charged, at least five were currently in the military when they participated in the attack.”

The Pulitzer Prize Board upheld the 2018 prize jointly awarded to The New York Times and The Washington Post for their reporting on the investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential campaign, finding no contradictory information that came out since the prize was awarded.

From the statement: “The separate reviews converged in their conclusions: that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes.”

“Relatives of people killed on Sept. 11 are urging former President Donald J. Trump to cancel a Saudi-backed golf tournament set to be held this month at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey,” the New York Times reports.

From a letter: “We simply cannot understand how you could agree to accept money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s golf league to host their tournament at your golf course, and to do so in the shadows of ground zero in New Jersey, which lost over 700 residents during the attacks.”

They added: “It is incomprehensible to us that a former president of the United States would cast our loved ones aside for personal financial gain.”

Former President Donald Trump told golfers that they should join the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series and “take the money now,” CNN reports.

Said Trump on Truth Social: “All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes… If you don’t take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) didn’t go to one funeral for the 21 victims of the Uvalde elementary school shooting, according to his schedule, which said that his last visit to the city was on June 5.

Then again, “many of the families didn’t want him there” anyway, Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D), who represents the city, said on Monday.

“Staffers who work for at least eight House Democrats are wasting no time in their plans to unionize, filing petitions Monday to kick off the process,” Roll Call reports

“Now they must wait on the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights to vet their petitions before holding a secret ballot election to decide whether they want a union to represent them.”

Washington Post: “In 101 months, the United States will have achieved President Biden’s most important climate promise — or it will have fallen short. Right now it is seriously falling short, and for each month that passes, it becomes harder to succeed until at some point — perhaps very soon — it will become virtually impossible. That’s true for the United States, and also true for the planet, as nearly 200 nations strive to tackle climate change with a fast-dwindling timeline for doing so.”

“Just two years after calls to defund the police erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Democrats in states like Ohio, Georgia and Florida are spotlighting law enforcement to boost their credibility on fighting crime,” Axios reports.

“The new effort to ward off Republican attacks comes after the defund debate damaged Democrats’ reputation on crime — leading to party infighting and internal reflection over how to best message on police reform.”

“Some party strategists fear a voter perception that Democrats don’t recognize the problem with violent crime and don’t respect the role police play in keeping communities safe.”

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

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