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Cup of Joe – 7/24/22

“America’s top television networks on Thursday turned prime time over to a gripping account of former President Donald Trump’s actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol — with one prominent exception,” the AP reports.

“The top-rated news network, Fox News Channel, stuck with its own lineup of commentators.”

CNN: Fox gets the spotlight during prime time January 6 hearing, but not on Fox.

“The January 6th Committee’s primetime hearing drew an estimated 17.7 million viewers, an 11% dropoff from the 20 million who watched the committee’s last nighttime event in June,” Deadline reports.

“Those are solid albeit not blockbuster numbers. The committee’s hearings, though, have commanded news cycles, and moments have gone viral on social media.”

“The day after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, then-President Trump released a video finally, reluctantly agreeing to a transfer of power to the ‘new’ Biden administration. As soon as two days after the release of the White House video, however, Donald Trump wanted a mulligan,” Rolling Stone reports.

“A person with direct knowledge of the matter tells Rolling Stone that Trump told aides who were sticking by him that he wanted to deliver another speech to the nation, one in which he would double-down on the lie that the 2020 presidential election was ‘stolen’ via ‘fraud.’”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) confirmed that presidential security officials at the center of an explosive allegation about Donald Trump’s demand to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6 have retained private counsel, CNBC reports.

She said the officials were Tony Ornato, Robert Engel and another agent.

Said Lofgren: “Some of the officers said that they would be coming and talking under oath. They have not come in, and they recently retained private counsel, which is unusual, but they have a right to do that.”

“The committee is also aware that certain Secret Service witnesses have now retained new private counsel. We anticipate further testimony, under oath, and other new information in the coming weeks.” — Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), at last night’s January 6 Committee hearing.

New York Times: “In the course of exposing Mr. Trump’s elaborate effort to overturn the 2020 election, the House committee has relied on the accounts of several women who came forward to publicly tell their stories. Their statements, and the attacks that ensued, laid bare how women often still pay a higher price than men for speaking up.”

Vicky Ward reports that allies of Donald Trump were buzzing today about the January 6 Committee playing the video clip of Trump rehearsing both his Jan. 6 and Jan 7 speeches.

“The Trump folks didn’t know those clips even existed. They thought they’d been erased.”

Wall Street Journal editorial: “The brute facts remain: Mr. Trump took an oath to defend the Constitution, and he had a duty as Commander in Chief to protect the Capitol from a mob attacking it in his name. He refused. He didn’t call the military to send help. He didn’t call Mr. Pence to check on the safety of his loyal VP. Instead he fed the mob’s anger and let the riot play out.”

“In the 18 months since, Mr. Trump has shown not an iota of regret.”

New York Post editorial: “As his followers stormed the Capitol, calling on his vice president to be hanged, President Donald Trump sat in his private dining room, watching TV, doing nothing…”

“It’s up to the Justice Department to decide if this is a crime. But as a matter of principle, as a matter of character, Trump has proven himself unworthy to be this country’s chief executive again.

“A room full of establishment-minded Republicans greeted Mike Pence here on Friday, many of them still chilled by the Jan. 6 committee’s revelations the previous evening about how close Pence and his security detail came to catastrophe during the riot at the Capitol in 2021,” Politico reports.

“They’d heard about the protesters who chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” and, according to committee testimony, then-President Donald Trump’s view that Pence deserved it.”

“Yet in an air-conditioned warehouse in the Phoenix suburbs, where Pence is engaged in a proxy war with Trump over the result of Arizona’s Aug. 2 gubernatorial primary, Pence didn’t mention any of that — or anything negative about Trump at all. And no one was surprised.”x

“Former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, a central player in Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election, faces disciplinary proceedings from the District of Columbia’s chief investigator of attorney misconduct,” USA Today reports.

Axios: “Close aides believed Trump had crossed a psychological line during his Senate trial. He now wanted to get even; he wanted to fire every single last ‘snake’ inside his government. To activate the plan for revenge, Trump turned to a young take-no-prisoners loyalist with chutzpah: his former aide John McEntee.”

“By the end of that year, Trump also had a second tool in his armory, a secret weapon with the innocuous title, ‘Schedule F.’ The intention of this obscure legal instrument was to empower the president to wipe out employment protections for tens of thousands of civil servants across the federal government.”

“The mission for McEntee and the power of Schedule F dovetailed in the lead-up to the 2020 election as Trump planned (but lost) a second term and fumed over perceived foes.”

“If former President Trump runs again in 2024 and wins back the White House, people close to him say, he would turn to both levers again. It is Schedule F, combined with the willpower of top lieutenants like McEntee, that could bring Trump closer to his dream of gutting the federal bureaucracy and installing thousands devoted to him or his ‘America First’ platform.”

“The chief of the World Health Organization said the expanding monkeypox  outbreak in more than 70 countries is an ‘extraordinary’ situation that now qualifies as a global emergency, a declaration Saturday that could spur further investment in treating the once-rare disease and worsen the scramble for scarce vaccines,” the AP reports.

Washington Post: “Infections in the ongoing outbreak are reported overwhelmingly among men who have sex with men, and experts believe close contact during sexual activity is a major driver of transmission. The virus transmits through other forms of skin-to-skin contact and in households through prolonged respiratory spread and the sharing of contaminated items. Authorities have also reported small numbers of women and children infected with monkeypox.”

“Less than 24 hours after the unprecedented leak of the draft opinion that overturned Roe v. Wade, Chief Justice John Roberts ordered an investigation into the ‘egregious breach,’” the AP reports.

“Since then? Silence.”

“The Supreme Court won’t say whether it’s still investigating. The court also won’t say whether the leaker has been identified or whether anyone has been disciplined. Or whether an outside law firm or the FBI has been called in. Or whether the court will ever offer an accounting of what transpired. Or whether it has taken steps to try to prevent a repeat.”

Steve Bannon lashed out at the House January 6 committee hours after being found guilty of contempt of Congress, Insider reports.

Said Bannon: “I would tell the Jan. 6 staff right now: preserve your documents because there’s going to be a real committee, and this is going to be backed by Republican grassroots voters to say we want to get to the bottom of this for the good of the nation.”

He added: “We have to really govern, and I mean govern on offense. Every committee in the House needs to be an oversight committee. We have to go after the Biden administration, which is illegitimate.”

“A bill to codify federal protections for same-sex marriage has passed the House, but Senate Republicans are agonizing over whether they should block it or allow it to pass,” NBC News reports.

“With Democrats seeking to portray Republicans as belonging to a retrograde and primitive party that wants to strip away modern rights, their decision could play a role in the midterm elections this fall.”

“Some GOP strategists want the party to move past the issue by codifying protections, but that risks upsetting the cultural conservatives, which make up a significant portion of the party’s base. A Gallup poll released last month found that most Americans — 71 percent — favor legal same-sex marriage.”

“The Pentagon is considering providing Ukrainian forces with fighter jets, the White House said Friday, marking what would be a significant expansion of U.S. involvement in the war and carrying with it a risk of more direct confrontation with Moscow,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Friday signed a bill into law that allows private citizens to bring civil action against anyone who manufactures, distributes, transports or imports assault weapons or ghost guns, which are banned in the state,” CNN reports.

David French: “To understand why [the criminal case against Trump is getting stronger], let’s turn briefly to Georgia—the state where evidence of his alleged criminality has always been the most compelling.”

“Indeed, as the criminal investigation plays out, the fake-electors scheme may well be the most clearly illegal element of the entire effort to overturn the election. Their designations represent a series of concrete, overt acts that move beyond verbal bluster about election fraud and raise the question—who initiated, approved, and/or directed the scheme?”

“As I’ve written before, Trump’s recorded demand that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger ‘find 11,780 votes’—along with his not-so-veiled threat that Raffensperger faced a ‘big risk’ of criminal prosecution if he failed—was already quite legally problematic. Add this threat to the fake-electors scheme, and the elements of a criminal conspiracy come clearly into view.”

E.J. Dionne: Finally, the dam is breaking against Trump.

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe “predicted that former President Donald Trump will face an indictment in Georgia before he is potentially charged with a crime by the Justice Department,” Newsweek reports.

Ben White: “Take some time to relax and enjoy this summer weekend. Because there is a Category 5 storm of economic news headed for our shores next week that will (hopefully) help clear up a muddled picture of America’s direction and almost certainly set competing political narratives for the stretch run of the midterm election campaign.”

CNN: “Since at least 2017, federal officials have investigated Chinese land purchases near critical infrastructure, shut down a high-profile regional consulate believed by the US government to be a hotbed of Chinese spies and stonewalled what they saw as clear efforts to plant listening devices near sensitive military and government facilities.”

“Among the most alarming things the FBI uncovered pertains to Chinese-made Huawei equipment atop cell towers near US military bases in the rural Midwest.”

“According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, the FBI determined the equipment was capable of capturing and disrupting highly restricted Defense Department communications, including those used by US Strategic Command, which oversees the country’s nuclear weapons.”

“Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said that Washington is forgoing a key tool in helping the Federal Reserve quell inflation, and urged that lawmakers look at raising taxes,” Bloomberg reports.

Said Summers: “Fiscal policy makes a big difference. Just the right thing to do is to raise taxes right now to take some of the demand out of the economy.”

New York Times: “Since the Supreme Court decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade, anti-gay rhetoric and calls to roll back established LGBTQ protections have grown bolder. And while Republicans in Congress appear deeply divided about same-sex marriage — nearly 50 House Republicans on Tuesday joined Democrats in supporting a bill that would recognize same-sex marriages at the federal level — many Republican officials and candidates across the country have made attacking gay and transgender rights a party norm this midterm season.”

“The European Central Bank raised interest rates by a larger-than-expected half-percentage point and unveiled a new plan to buy the debt of Europe’s most vulnerable economies, seeking to protect the currency union as it navigates the twin threats of skyrocketing inflation and slowing economic growth,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Daniel Yergen: “Is today’s energy crisis as serious as similar previous ones – particularly the 1970s oil shocks? That question is being asked around the world, with consumers hit by high prices, buinesses worried about energy supplies, political leaders and central bankers struggling with inflation, and countries confronting balance-of-payments pressures.”

“So, yes, this energy crisis is as serious. In fact, today’s crisis is potentially worse. In the 1970s, only oil was involved, whereas this crisis encompasses natural gas, coal, and even the nuclear-fuel cycle. In addition to stoking inflation, today’s crisis is transforming a previously global market into one that is fragmented and more vulnerable to disruption, crimping economic growth. And, together with the geopolitical crisis arising from the war in Ukraine, it is further deepening the world’s great-power rivalries.”

The Economist: “Squeezed by the high cost of food and energy, a slowing global economy and a sharp increase in interest rates around the world, emerging economies are entering an era of intense macroeconomic pain. Some countries face years of difficult budget choices and weak growth. Others may sink into economic and political crisis.”

“All told, 53 countries look most vulnerable: they either are judged by the IMF to have unsustainable debts (or to be at high risk of having them); have defaulted on some debts already; or have bonds trading at distressed levels.”

The Economist: “Warfare is complex—and, as those who start wars often discover to their chagrin, unpredictable. Anything which promises to reduce that unpredictability is thus likely to attract both interest and money. Add the ability of modern computers to absorb and crunch unprecedented amounts of data, and throw in a live, data-generating war in the form of the conflict now being slugged out between Ukraine and Russia, not to mention the high level of tension across the Taiwan Strait, and you might assume that the business of trying to forecast the outcomes of conflicts is going into overdrive. Which it is.”

“One piece of software dedicated to this end is the Major Combat Operations Statistical Model… based on data about 96 battles and military campaigns fought between the closing year of the first world war and the present day. When fed information about Russia’s initial push to seize Kyiv and subjugate Ukraine, which began on February 24th, the model predicted, on a scale of one to seven, ‘operational success’ scores for the attacker and defender, respectively, of two and five.”

“That pretty much nailed it.”

“Two New York residents were arrested Monday on a federal criminal complaint with a nearly decade-long $27 million investment fraud scheme that leveraged their attendance at a 2017 fundraiser with then-President Donald Trump,” CNBC reports.

“Prosecutors said that the two defendants, Sherry Xue Li and Lianbo Wang, lured victims into investing in a fictitious project to build a private educational institution in Sullivan County, New York, by claiming it had the support of prominent politicians.”

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

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