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Cup of Joe – August 25, 2022

“Documents found in 15 boxes that former President Donald Trump turned over from his Mar-a-Lago property in January were marked classified at a level suggesting they contained some of the government’s most sensitive secrets,” NBC News reports.

“That suggests Trump took home the most highly protected material in the U.S. government — material that, if disclosed, could betray sources and methods.”

USA Today: National Archives letter to Trump’s lawyers in May outlined urgency of Mar-a-Lago document inquiry.

“Donald Trump appeared to concede in his court filing surrounding the seizure of materials from his Florida resort that he unlawfully retained official government documents, as the former president argued that some of the documents collected by the FBI could be subject to executive privilege,” The Guardian reports.

Said Asha Rangappa: “If he’s acknowledging that he’s in possession of documents that would have any colorable claim of executive privilege, those are by definition presidential records and belong at the National Archives.”

She added: “And so it’s not clear that executive privilege would even be relevant to the particular crime he’s being investigated for and yet in this filing, he basically admits that he is in possession of them, which is what the government is trying to establish.”

“A federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump ordered him to answer several key questions about his new lawsuit related to the FBI raid on his Florida home, including why her court should be the one hearing the case and what exactly he wants her to do,” CNBC reports.

“Judge Aileen Cannon also ordered Trump to tell her how his suit affects another pending case involving the same search warrant before a federal magistrate judge in the same court, and whether the Department of Justice has been served with his lawsuit yet.”

Kinda embarrassing. Judge Cannon responded by asking Trump what exactly he wants her to do and on what legal basis. Good start for Trump.

Washington Post: “Some of Trump’s allies have blamed the rushed and haphazard packing process during Trump’s final days in office for the presence of documents the FBI found in Trump’s bedroom, office and a first-floor storage room at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8.”

“But the key events that led to the FBI search took place only this year, after months of slow-rolling conflict between the former president and law enforcement agencies.”

New York Times: “The documents investigation represents the greatest legal threat Mr. Trump has faced in years, and he is going into the battle shorn of the protective infrastructure and constitutional armor of the presidency. After years of burning through lawyers, he has struggled to hire new ones, and has a small group of lawyers of varying experience.”

“He is facing a Justice Department he no longer controls, run by a by-the-book attorney general, Merrick B. Garland, who has pursued various investigations into Mr. Trump methodically and quietly.”

“Mr. Trump is serving as his own communications director and strategic adviser, seeking tactical political and in-the-moment public relations victories, sometimes at the risk of stumbling into substantive legal missteps.”

Rolling Stone: “In the weeks after the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid, former President Donald Trump repeatedly made a simple-sounding but extraordinary ask: he wanted his lawyers to get ‘my documents’ back from federal law enforcement.”

“Trump wasn’t merely referring to the alleged trove of attorney-client material that he insists was scooped up by the feds…. The ex-president has been demanding that his team find a way to recover ‘all’ of the official documents that Trump has long referred to as ‘mine’ — including the highly sensitive and top secret ones.”

Asha Rangappa: “I’m increasingly of the opinion that Trump’s best defense may be that he’s delusional — some analog to insanity — because he clearly does not appear to understand the central legal issues and controlling law in his case.”

“The country’s top intelligence officials do not appear to have launched a formal damage assessment relating to classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago, even though the government has known since January that highly sensitive material had been improperly stored in former President Donald Trump’s golf club and residential compound,” NBC News reports.

“The phones of several top Trump-era Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were deactivated when they left their positions and the data contained on them likely wiped,” CNN reports.

Robert O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser at the end of his term, is scheduled to meet today with the Jan. 6 committee, NBC News reports.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) “is suing to block the Justice Department from reviewing the contents of his cell phone, which was recently seized as part of an apparent investigation into the Pennsylvania Republican’s connections to Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election,” Politico reports.

“The House select committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 attack has used the August congressional recess to gather more evidence as it prepares to resume public hearings next month, dispatching investigators to Europe and digging deeper into discussions by former President Donald  Trump’s cabinet after the riot about removing him from office,” the New York Times reports.

“The panel has been holding closed-door interviews with senior Trump administration officials in an effort to uncover more about the period between Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters attacked Congress, and Jan. 20, when President Biden was sworn in, including talks about invoking the 25th Amendment.”

Investigators with the Jan. 6 committee traveled to Copenhagen last week to examine documentary film footage of Roger Stone, Politico reports: The select panel aides viewed portions of more than 170 hours filmed by a Danish documentary crew led by Christoffer Guldbrandsen. That team, known as The Ark, tracked Stone for long stretches of time over two years — including on Jan. 6, 2021, as a mob swarmed the Capitol in an effort to keep Trump in power.

After half a year of war in Ukraine, a slim majority of Americans — 53% — agree that the United States should continue to support Kyiv until Russia withdraws all its forces, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

“Six months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he is sending $2.98 billion in new military aid to Ukraine that will enable forces there to fight for years to come,” the AP reports.

The Economist: “Six months after Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, an inflationary shock is still ripping through boardrooms, finance ministries and households, with European natural-gas prices surging again on August 22nd owing to fears of further disruptions to supply from Russia.”

“But in one crucial area, prices have come back to Earth. The cost of grains, cereals and oils, staples of diets around the world, have returned to levels last seen before the war began.”

Washington Post: “Denials and details aside, Dugina’s death rocked the Russian TV anchors, journalists and other commentators who serve up propaganda justifying President Vladimir Putin’s invasion as a war against Western global power and ‘Nazis’ in Ukraine.”

“The killing immediately heightened a sense of vulnerability among Russia’s most elite and visible promoters of the war in Ukraine, who now realize that they might be targets and that the government is potentially unable to protect them.”

Washington Post: “If the Russians could seize the seat of power in Ukraine, or at least cause the government to flee in panic, the defense of the country would quickly unravel. Moscow could install a puppet government.”

“That was the Kremlin’s plan.”

“Instead, what transpired in and around Kyiv in the ensuing 36 days would represent the biggest foreign blunder in the 22-year rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin. His assault on the city instantly reordered the security architecture of Europe against Moscow and isolated his nation to a degree unseen since the Cold War. To the surprise of the world, the offensive against the Ukrainian capital would end in a humiliating retreat, which would expose deep systemic problems in a Russian military he had spent billions to rebuild.”

“President Joe Biden on Wednesday is set to announce his long-delayed move to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loans for many Americans and extend a pause on payments to January,“ the AP reports.

“Biden has faced pressure from liberals to provide broader relief to hard-hit borrowers, and from moderates and Republicans questioning the fairness of any widespread forgiveness. The delay in Biden’s decision has only heightened the anticipation for what his own aides acknowledge represents a political no-win situation.”

Biden faces a no win situation here. If he doesn’t cancel all debt everywhere for all time, the far left will call him a neolib sellout. If he cancels any debt, he pisses off many people who have already paid off their loans. One of my colleagues came into my office yesterday saying she is bitter that she will not benefit from this, not because she wants to benefit but makes too much money, but because she already paid off her loans and is now resentful. It also might be an inflationary policy, just when inflation was easing.

As Larry Summers notes: “Student loan debt relief is spending that raises demand and increases inflation. It consumes resources that could be better used helping those who did not, for whatever reason, have the chance to attend college. It will also tend to be inflationary by raising tuitions.”

Wall Street Journal: “As he vacationed with his family in South Carolina and Delaware, Mr. Biden ignored questions about the investigation, largely avoiding the pack of reporters who trail him everywhere he goes. Following an event at the White House last week in which the president signed into law Democrats’ climate, healthcare and tax legislation, White House staff drowned out questions about Mr. Trump by blasting music through the speakers.”

“Now, with midterm campaign season getting into full swing, Mr. Biden plans to make criticizing Mr. Trump’s agenda a key part of his message as he seeks to paint a contrast with Republicans, aides said. But he has no plans to wade into the political minefield of the Mar-a-Lago search. Mr. Biden will deliver a speech on Thursday at a rally in Maryland with Democratic officials.”

“The Biden administration plans to offer the next generation of coronavirus booster shots to Americans 12 and older soon after Labor Day, a campaign that federal officials hope will reduce deaths from Covid-19 and protect against an expected winter surge,” the New York Times reports.

“The Biden administration is forecasting that this year’s budget deficit will be nearly $400 billion lower than it estimated back in March, due in part to stronger than expected revenues, reduced spending, and an economy that has recovered all of the jobs lost during the multi-year pandemic,” the AP reports.

Dr. Anthony Fauci responded to Republican vows to investigate him after he steps down from his government roles in December, saying he would consider testifying but not submit to “character assassination,” ABC News reports.

Said Rep. Kevin McCarthy: “Dr. Fauci lost the trust of the American people when his guidance unnecessarily kept schools closed and businesses shut while obscuring questions about his knowledge on the origins of Covid. He owes the American people answers. A House GOP majority will hold him accountable.”

“A federal jury in Michigan found two men guilty on Tuesday of plotting to kidnap the state’s Democratic governor, ending one of the highest-profile domestic terrorism cases in recent history and providing a measure of vindication to prosecutors who brought the case to trial a second time after a previous jury declined to convict,” the New York Times reports.

Detroit Free Press: “The jury deliberated for about eight hours before delivering the guilty verdicts against Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. , who were convicted on all counts and face up to life in prison when they are sentenced at a later date.”

Detroit News: “The verdicts give the U.S. Justice Department a landmark victory prosecuting extremism and domestic terrorism amid an increase in threats nationwide.”

“Brazilian police yesterday searched the homes of several prominent businessmen allied with President Jair Bolsonaro as the Supreme Court probes the men for discussing a possible power grab in the event the conservative leader loses October’s presidential election,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Legal and political analysts said the operation was likely to inflame tensions over allegations of antidemocratic behavior on both sides of the political divide in this polarized country.”

The IRS is launching a security review of all of its 600 facilities nationwide in response to bogus GOP and right-wing attacks over new funding for the agency.

“The Internal Revenue Service will launch a full security review of its facilities nationwide, as congressional Republicans and far-right extremists are lashing out at the agency and the new funding it is slated to receive in a massive spending law,” the Washington Post reports.

“Clearly, what Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was going for was a comparison to Tom Cruise,” the Washington Post reports.

“Hence the ‘Top Gov’ label at the beginning of his latest political ad, which resembles that of Cruise’s Top Gun movies, and the slo-mo shots of the Republican governor zipping up a flight suit over an energetic guitar music track. DeSantis ‘briefs’ an out-of-view team — presumably Florida voters — about the ‘rules of engagement’ for ‘dogfighting’ with the ‘corporate media.’ At one point, he sits in the cockpit of what appears to be a fighter jet, flight helmet on, and says, ‘Alright, ladies and gentlemen.’”

“What are DeSantis and his team getting instead? Comparisons to Michael Dukakis, the Massachusetts governor who made one of the most-mocked campaign photo ops in modern political history while running for president in 1988.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) dismissed concerns on Monday that American democracy was facing a grave threat, the New York Times reports.

McConnell was responding to a question about a recent NBC News poll that identified threats to democracy as the top concern of respondents, followed by inflation.

Said McConnell: “Our democracy is solid. And I don’t think — of the things that we need to worry about, I wouldn’t be worried about that one.”

“Depressed and drinking to excess after the failure of his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, Rudy Giuliani secretly recovered at the Florida home of a close friend and ally – Donald Trump,” The Guardian reports.  Said Giuliani’s third wife, Judith Giuliani, in a new book: “We moved into Mar-a-Lago and Donald kept our secret.”

Jared Kushner claims that Donald Trump “instructed his daughter, Ivanka Trump, to set up a meeting with Hillary Clinton following his political foe’s 2016 election loss in an attempt to develop a ‘cordial relationship,’” The Hill reports.

Kushner writes in his memoir that Trump “genuinely wanted to help the country unite” in the days before he entered the White House.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) said he is “not at all” concerned about Democrats winning Arizona in 2024 if President Joe Biden runs for reelection, CNN reports.

But Kelly stopped short of directly asking Biden to campaign with him: “I will welcome anybody to come to Arizona, travel around the state at any time. As long as I’m here, if I’m not up in Washington in session, and talk about what Arizona needs.”

Colorado state Sen. Kevin Priola (R) announced Monday morning that he is changing his party affiliation to Democrat, the Denver Post reports.  Priola said he can’t support a party that didn’t denounce a violent attempt to overthrow free and fair elections.

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

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