Cup of Joe – September 17, 2022

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told the Republican Party’s top donors last weekend he was considering transporting migrants to places like Martha’s Vineyard — just days before he secretly started the flights to the Massachusetts island,” the Washington Post reports.

“The 51-minute speech to the donor retreat gave a clear outline of how he might sell himself to Republican base voters during a potential 2024 presidential bid. The remarks were full of grievance and culture war pugilism, casting the nation’s political future as a battle against a conspiracy by leftists to impose their ideology and turn dissenters into ‘second-class citizens.’ His message, according to the people in the room, was that America should become more like Florida — and that he would be a culture warrior.”

“An accelerating campaign by Republican governors to send migrants to Democratic strongholds, initially seen by many Democratic officials as a political stunt, now has those officials scrambling as migrants unexpectedly arrive in a widening number of locales,” the Wall Street Journal reports.  “Since the start of the busing efforts earlier this year, Arizona has sent about 1,800 migrants on 50 buses to Washington, at a cost of about $4 million, the governor’s office said. Texas has spent about $13 million to drive roughly 8,000 migrants to Washington and New York.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) sent two chartered planes carrying Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard earlier this week in a blatantly political MAGA display to impress GOP donors.  Lawyers for the migrants say their clients were lied to about having jobs and shelter waiting for them there.  It appears as though the migrants didn’t even come from Florida and that DeSantis actually had them picked up from Texas (imagine how happy Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, who’s been trying to pull similar stunts, would be about that).  And DeSantis’ genius deputy press secretary tried to defend the grotesque gambit yesterday by essentially agreeing that yes, his boss was, in fact, doing a human trafficking.

“Massachusetts authorities announced Friday that they will move approximately 50 migrants from the island of Martha’s Vineyard to a military base in Cape Cod so they can find shelter and chart next steps,” the Washington Post reports.  “The move is voluntary for the migrants, the state said.”

Charlie Sykes: “Let’s stipulate of couple of things. First: there is a real problem at the border, and there’s a legitimate debate over how migrants should be handled and who should share the burden.”

“Abbott and DeSantis have every right to raise questions about border policies; they can make speeches, hold press conferences, run ads, raise money off anti-immigrant outrage, and even stage political events to highlight their positions.”

“And there is nothing inherently awful about political stunts, especially in our media-besotted political environment. But this one is different, because they chose to use people — including vulnerable children — as their pawns and props.”

“A federal judge has appointed Raymond Dearie, a former chief federal judge in New York, to sort through the more than 11,000 documents — including classified materials — that FBI agents seized from former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence last month, to see if any should be shielded from criminal investigators because of attorney-client or executive privileges,” the Washington Post reports.  “Trump’s legal team had initially proposed Dearie to be the special master in the high-profile case and the Justice Department agreed with the selection last week.”

New York Times: “In a 10-page decision, Judge Cannon, of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, declined to lift any part of an injunction she issued last week that barred the department from using any of those documents, including about 100 marked as classified, for investigative purposes until the special master had completed a review.”

Donald Trump may have won when a federal judge appointed a special master to review the documents taken in the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago, but Politico reports the judge “ordered Trump to shoulder the full cost of Dearie’s review, as well as any staff or associates he hires.”

Hillary Clinton said that the classified documents Donald Trump hoarded at his Mar-a-Lago home are the kind that required a military escort when she was secretary of state, the HuffPost reports.  Clinton said that when she read top-secret material, an officer “would come into my office and would have a handcuff that was attached to a suitcase in order to show me something that was so secret he literally had to have it tied to his hand.”

Reality Winner, a former intelligence contractor who served more than four years in prison for leaking a classified report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, told NBC News she finds the allegations that Donald Trump mishandled secret government documents as an “incredibly ironic” predicament given that it was his administration that sought to aggressively prosecute her.

“Months before National Archives officials found hundreds of classified documents they retrieved from former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, they were told that none of the material was sensitive or classified and that Trump only had 12 boxes of ‘news clippings,’” the Washington Post reports.

“The characterization made in the call vastly misrepresented the scale and variety of documents, including classified records, eventually recovered by the Archives or the FBI.”

Josh Marshall: “There’s no analyzing Judge Cannon’s latest ruling in Florida. It’s absurd on its face and really makes no attempt to suggest its anything other than absurd. It’s an assertion of power rather than judicial interpretation. The Judge has now ordered a retired federal judge to review and recommend to her which highly classified documents should be covered by the executive privilege of a private citizen in Florida against the law enforcement and national security mandates of the President of the United States. I saw a respected legal commentator say this raises serious separation of power issues. That’s like saying turning someone’s body inside out might be harmful to their health. Judge Cannon further arrogates to herself the decision over what documents are actually classified. She won’t take the government’s word for which documents are or should be classified. Notably the former President has made no claim in court that he declassified anything. So on what basis the documents would not or should not be classified or on what basis a trial court judge in Florida could determine this is quite unclear.

Remember that there are remedies and processes that get into this at trial or prior to a trial. But no one has brought any charges against anyone. The only issue at the moment is the federal government has recovered its property and is using it to conduct both a national security and potentially criminal investigation.

The DOJ needs to appeal all of this. I think it quite likely that the appellate judges or ultimately the majority of the Supreme Court is as corrupt as Judge Cannon. The normal DOJ approach in a case like this would be to not move too quickly to appeal for fear of generating bad precedents. This is an outdated concept. We need to know whether the federal courts will allow the normal course of the law to apply to the former President. Based on Judge Cannon, the answer appears to be no. We shouldn’t be wasting our time if that is going to be backed up up the line.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the chief sponsor of the Senate’s same-sex marriage bill, announced on Thursday that the legislation will be put to a vote sometime after the midterm elections instead of next week, as Democrats had initially planned.  The bill doesn’t have the 10  GOP votes needed to break the filibuster right now. Only four Republicans currently back the legislation: Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Democrats are hoping that more Republicans will get on board once they don’t have to sweat over backlash from their conservative voters. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-CO) said yesterday that the bill would get more votes in November and December than it would on Monday.  The bipartisan group of senators who’ve been working on the bill said on Thursday that they’re “confident” it’ll pass when it reaches the Senate floor for a vote.

The House Jan. 6 Committee has decided not to work with the Justice Department, which had requested the committee’s interview transcripts to assist the federal government’s investigation into the Capitol attack, Punchbowl  reports.  That might change, however: Punchbowl’s sources said that the panel won’t be cooperating with the DOJ “at this time.”  The committee is reportedly worried about people who would potentially get indicted in the DOJ’s probe getting access to the transcripts before their trial.

“Dozens of subpoenas issued last week show that the Justice Department is seeking vast amounts of information, and communications with more than 100 people, as part of its sprawling inquiry into the origins, fundraising and motives of the effort to block Joe Biden from being certified as president in early 2021,” the Washington Post reports.  “Taken together, the subpoenas show an investigation that began immediately after the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and has cast an ever-widening net, even as it gathers information about those in the former president’s inner circle.”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “says he knows who’s behind the leaked audio capturing  his criticism of Donald Trump in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol attack. And at some point, he plans to reveal who,” Politico reports.  Said McCarthy: “I’ll bring it forward. I have it.”

An armed Pennsylvania man in a rainbow wig who was trying to “restore Trump as President” was arrested at a Dairy Queen, WTAJ reports. The man claimed he “talked to God” and was a “prophet” and would “kill all the Democrats because Trump was still president.” 

“A Michigan man was sentenced on Friday to five years in federal prison for his role in the U.S. Capitol attack by a mob that disrupted Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory,” the AP reports.  In a Facebook post three days after the riot, the man referred to Jan. 6 as the “proudest day of my life.”

A Virginia man who stormed the U.S. Capitol while wearing an antisemitic “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt over a Nazi-themed shirt was sentenced on Thursday to 75 days of imprisonment, the AP reports.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the Georgia prosecutor who’s been investigating Trump’s 2020 election meddling crusade in her state, told the Washington Post that the extent of the criminal activity she’s uncovered in her probe means that people may face prison sentences.  But it’ll be months before Willis’ office decides to indict anyone. There are at least 17 targets in Willis’ investigation right now, and the prosecutor told the Post there will be more.

“Mortgage rates shot above 6 percent this week for the first time in 14 years as inflation has remained resistant to the Federal Reserve’s efforts to tamp it down,” the Washington Post reports.

“The dramatically swift escalation has chilled what had been a hot U.S. housing market, increasing pressure on an economy plagued by unremitting inflation.”

“The Federal Reserve’s more rapid exit from crisis-era policies is set to place the $24 trillion US government bond market under extra strain, heightening concerns about the bedrock of the global financial system,” the Financial Times reports.  “The ease with which traders can get deals done in the Treasury market has declined to the lowest levels since the early days of the pandemic in March 2020.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) kicked an activist during a confrontation outside the Capitol.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the $3 million paid by Donald Trump’s Super PAC to his new lawyer, Chris Kise, was because the former president “was known not to pay some bills.”

“Mr. Kise avoided at least the issue of nonpayments by securing $3 million in advance and, if the case drags, the leeway to bill for more.”

Another reason to pay his lawyer in advance is that he won’t be able to control expenditures from the PAC if he announces a presidential bid.

“The midterms may be closely approaching. But Joe Biden’s focus, for the next week at least, will be firmly on matters overseas,” Politico reports.  “The president returns to the international stage over the next few days to pay tribute to allies and exhort democracies — amid an audience where he arguably shines brighter than he does at home — before making that shift into a midterm political blitz.”

“With the success of Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia providing an inspiring backdrop, Biden will take his case to the United Nations next week, urging for the world to rebel against Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war. And before that, he heads to the United Kingdom for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. He will pay tribute to the long-reigning monarch who, as a teenage princess in World War II, did her own part to stand up to a dictator.”

Janan Ganesh: “In the past two years, America’s favorability score is close to having doubled in much of the rich world. Currently 9 out of 10 Poles and South Koreans are well-disposed to it. Germans are as smitten as they were in the first years of President Barack Obama. Brits are back on board.”

“What, besides human fickleness and whimsy, is at work here? The departure (for now) of Trump is part of it. But the timing and violence of the swing point to the pandemic being the machine element. In 2020, America’s handling of that crisis seemed to discredit not just a nation but liberal individualism itself. Now? No one would extol the record, not with more than a million dead Americans. But one might reasonably prefer it to the untenable rigours of zero Covid.”

David Brooks: “You would think that those of us in the anti-Trump camp would have at one point stepped back and asked some elemental questions: What are we trying to achieve? Who is the core audience here? Which strategies have worked, and which have not?”

“If those questions were asked, the straightforward conclusion would be that most of what we are doing is not working. The next conclusion might be that there’s a lot of self-indulgence here. We’re doing things that help those of us in the anti-Trump world bond with one another and that help people in the Trump world bond with one another. We’re locking in the political structures that benefit Trump…”

“Can Trump win again? Absolutely. I’m a DeSantis doubter. I doubt someone so emotionally flat and charmless can win a nomination in the age of intensive media. And then once Trump is nominated, he has some chance of winning, because nobody is executing an effective strategy against him.”

“After winking at QAnon for years, Donald Trump is overtly embracing the baseless conspiracy theory, even as the number of frightening real-world events linked to it grows,” the AP reports.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) once bragged to authors Peter Baker and Susan Glasser — who have just published The Divider — about his access to Donald Trump and told them about Trump’s boasts about his closeness with evangelicals, The Independent reports.  He said Trump had told him: “Those fucking Christians love me.”  Graham added: “He’s a lying motherfucker… He could kill fifty people on our side and it wouldn’t matter.”

“Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, canceled all meetings and public appearances last week after falling gravely ill and is currently on bed rest under observation by a team of doctors, according to four people familiar with his health situation,” the New York Times reports.

“The Biden administration is considering sanctions targeting entities linked to Iran for encouraging attacks on Salman Rushdie, people familiar with the matter say, after the acclaimed novelist was stabbed last month at a New York event,” the Wall Street Journal reports.  “The sanctions under consideration include restricting the access of these entities to the global financial system… Some of them have offered rewards to kill Mr. Rushdie, which the U.S. believes motivates such attacks.”

El Salvador’s president announced he’ll run for re-election in 2024, despite the country’s constitution explicitly stating that presidents cannot serve consecutive terms, El Pai reports.

“President Biden will sign an executive order on Thursday designed to sharpen the federal government’s powers to block Chinese investment in technology in the United States and limit its access to private data on citizens, administration officials say, in a move that is bound to heighten tensions with Beijing,” the New York Times reports.

“At least 97 current members of Congress bought or sold stock, bonds or other financial assets that intersected with their congressional work or reported similar transactions by their spouse or a dependent child,” the New York Times reports.  “U.S. lawmakers are not banned from investing in any company, including those that could be affected by their decisions. But the trading patterns uncovered by the Times analysis underscore longstanding concerns about the potential for conflicts of interest or use of inside information by members of Congress.”

“Donald Trump’s top trade adviser—tariff-loving right-wing economist Peter Navarro—has harsh words for many of his former White House colleagues, writing in his upcoming MAGA loyalist memoir that three of Trump’s chiefs of staff were among the worst top White House staffers in history and calling Trump’s agency leaders a Cabinet of Clowns,” the Daily Beast reports.  Writes Navarro: “You should normally expect a murderer’s row of highly polished media killers in the cabinet secretary pool. Regrettably, this was just not so in Trump Land.”

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

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