Delaware

Cup of Joe – September 23, 2022

“A federal appeals court on Wednesday restored the Justice Department’s access to documents with classified markings that had been seized last month from former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence, handing a victory to federal investigators in their efforts to examine Mr. Trump’s hoarding of sensitive government records,” the New York Times reports.

“In a strongly worded 29-page decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit blocked part of an order by a federal judge that had temporarily barred the department from using the classified materials in its inquiry into whether Mr. Trump illegally retained national defense documents and obstructed the government’s repeated efforts to recover them.”

The court’s 29-page ruling was pretty candid about its incredulity toward Trump’s arguments. The panel noted that the ex-president “has not even attempted to show that he has a need to know the information contained in the classified documents,” and he’s provided “no evidence that any of these records were declassified.”  And it doesn’t matter whether Trump declassified the documents anyway, the court said, adding that the declassification argument is a “red herring” because “declassifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal.”

Two of the judges on the panel were appointed by Trump, a reminder that the type of special MAGA treatment Cannon invoked in her ruling isn’t always a guarantee for the ex-president.

Washington Post: “The appeals court decision simplifies the special master’s work, removing the classified documents from the equation.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) on Wednesday slapped Trump and his three adult children who helped him run the Trump Organization–Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric Trump–with a massive lawsuit accusing the ex-president of engaging in years of fraud with his businesses.

James is seeking to have Trump and the adult children banned from doing business in New York ever again. She’s also imposing a $250 million penalty on the ex-president.

Trump responded to the lawsuit several hours later via his Twitter knockoff in a rant accusing James, a Black woman, of being “racist” and carrying out a “witch hunt” against him.

“A day of double legal blows undermined ex-President Donald Trump’s battle to avoid criminal action for hoarding classified documents and left him exposed to potential civil penalties targeting the business wealth on which his political mystique is built,” CNN reports.

“Trump’s lifelong capacity to thwart accountability is now facing its sternest test as investigations and evidence mount against him. Trump has not been charged with any crimes, but the legal and court processes he is a master at delaying and twisting in procedural knots are now making serious headway.”

Donald Trump told Fox News the president can declassify government documents simply by declaring them as such.

Sid Trump: “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified,’ even by thinking about it because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you’re sending it.”

He added: “And there doesn’t have to be a process. There can be a process but there doesn’t have to be. You’re the president. You make that decision. So when you send it, it’s declassified. I declassified everything.”

Donald Trump referred to himself as “former” president in a Fox News interview, than quickly backtracked.  Said Trump: “I hate to use the word ‘former,’ because I have a lot of problems with what happened.”

Miami Herald: “The migrants didn’t know that they were being swept up in an operation that bore striking similarities to one organized the week before by operatives for Gov. Ron DeSantis that ended with 48 Venezuelan migrants dropped off on a Massachusetts island. Or that the trip to Delaware being dangled would never happen.”

“They also didn’t know that an anonymous source close to DeSantis would suggest to NBC News that a planned charter flight from San Antonio to Delaware — that was destined for an airport not far from President Joe Biden’s summer home, according to flight records, and dominated cable news on Tuesday — was canceled without explanation and then used to ‘punk’ journalists and Democrats and keep the ‘spotlight’ on immigration.”

“If so, the migrants interviewed by the Herald were the butt of the joke. They thought they were going somewhere.”

“Russia’s military is divided over how best to counter Ukraine’s unexpected battlefield advances this month, according to multiple sources familiar with US intelligence, as Moscow has found itself on the defensive in both the east and the south,” CNN reports.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin is himself giving directions directly to generals in the field, a highly unusual management tactic in a modern military that these sources said hints at the dysfunctional command structure that has plagued Russia’s war from the beginning.”

A former ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin died after “falling down several flights of stairs,” The Sun reports.

“The whole world should be praying for Russia’s victory, because there are only two ways this can end: either Russia wins, or a nuclear apocalypse. If we don’t win, we will have to use nuclear weapons, because we can’t lose… Does anyone really think Russia will accept defeat and not use its nuclear arsenal?” — Konstantin Malofeyev, a nationalist Russian tycoon, in an interview with the Financial Times.

“No one knows whether this process will lead to a recession or, if so, how significant that recession would be.” — Federal Reserve Board chairman Jerome Powell, quoted by the Associated Press, on raising interest rates in an attempt to stop inflation.

“Pressure to oust World Bank President David Malpass is ramping up after he dodged questions on climate change and the impact of burning fossil fuels,” Bloomberg reports.

“The controversy kicked off Tuesday when former US Vice President Al Gore labeled him a climate denier and called for a change of leadership. Asked about the criticism during the same event in New York, Malpass, installed three years ago by then-President Donald Trump, avoided questions on the effects of man-made emissions on climate change before saying: ‘I don’t know. I’m not a scientist.’”

“The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection has reached an agreement with Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to be interviewed by the panel in coming weeks,” the Washington Post reports.

The development comes after months of negotiations between the panel and Thomas. She told the Daily Caller all the way back in June that she was eager to talk to the committee and “clear up misconceptions” after it was revealed that Thomas had exchanged emails with MAGA coup architect John Eastman.

Thomas walked back her apparent eagerness to speak to the panel several weeks after her Daily Caller interview, with her lawyer demanding that the committee give a “better justification” for interviewing his client.

NBC News: “With just two months until the midterms, more than two dozen of the individuals who served as phony electors still hold some of the highest-ranking political posts in their state parties.”

“They’re also interwoven into the GOP infrastructure across seven battleground states that will determine the balance of Congress in November and the next presidential race two years later.”

House Jan. 6 Committee member Pete Aguilar (D-CA) told Politico yesterday that the panel has received new information on what then-Vice President Mike Pence was doing as Trump tried to pressure him into stealing the 2020 election.

It’s still unknown whether Pence will agree to testify in front of the committee (he’s said he would “consider” doing so). Panel chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) told reporters on Tuesday that the committee was “still working through it” with Pence’s lawyers.

Pence is releasing a book in November, so he very well could just pull a John Bolton by refusing to testify and making people pay 30 bucks to hear his side of the story.

The Presidential Elections Reform Act, aka the House Jan. 6 Committee’s proposed guardrails to keep Trump from triggering another Jan. 6, passed 229-203 in the House yesterday. All the “no” votes were Republicans; just nine voted “yes.”

All the Republicans who did vote for the bill were the ones who’d either lost their primary or retired.

TPM’s Kaila Philo lays out how the legislation could keep Trump from exploiting the loopholes in the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act to try to overturn a future election.

An excerpt from Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump by Rachael Bade and Karoun Demirjian:

“McConnell knew many of his rank-and-file were torn over how to handle the situation — and that in their uncertainty, they would look to him for guidance. If he declared the trial to be constitutional, breaking with Trump in the process, he could set the stage for a party mutiny, helping the GOP turn the page on Trump for good. It was an appealing prospect: conviction could enable the Senate to bar Trump from holding office again — and McConnell didn’t ever want Trump in office again.”

“But in all his years as GOP leader, McConnell had never led such a rebellion. And that day, he wasn’t sure he was up to the task.”

Donald Trump has aides who follow him around and recite praise he receives on social media, according to Maggie Haberman.

“As Trump has been out of office over the last 20 months, a rotating cast of aides has been tasked with following him around the golf course at the club he’s at and giving him positive reinforcement from Twitter and wherever else they find it on the web, per people told of the practice.”

Juliette Kayyem: “For a man who believes in nothing, has no coherent ideology or value system except his own continuing relevance, obsesses over conspiracies, and subsists on grievance and anger, Donald Trump took a long time to fully embrace QAnon. For some time, the former president has been flirting with the cult—which believes, among other preposterous things, that Democrats are part of a global child-sex-trafficking ring that Trump will ultimately defeat. But lately, that courtship has turned into a consummated marriage, as Trump incorporated QAnon tropes into an Ohio rally and started spreading them on his social-media service.”

“This has understandably provoked a lot of hand-wringing from Democrats and disillusioned former Republicans, who rightly fear that Trump will incite QAnon supporters to violence. But the outrage from respectable quarters matters far less to the former president than his own political plight. Trump, who had previously maintained at least a little distance from QAnon, is only signing on now because he’s flailing.”

“The Senate voted on Wednesday to approve an international climate treaty for the first time in 30 years, agreeing in a rare bipartisan deal to phase out of the use of planet-warming industrial chemicals commonly found in refrigerators and air-conditioners,” the New York Times reports.

President Biden plans to plug a Senate bill that would require super PACs and so-called “dark money” groups to disclose donors who give $10,000 or more during an election cycle, the Washington Post reports.

“Many in both parties had assumed the Senate would cancel the first two weeks of October from the Senate calendar. Chuck Schumer has other plans,” Politico reports.

“The Senate majority leader said on Tuesday the chamber would be in session to process the annual National Defense Authorization Act, and possibly other nominations.”

The Economist’s polling average finds Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro trailing former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by 11 percentage points in the presidential race. Lula would also be the overwhelming favorite in a runoff if neither candidate reaches 50% of the vote in the first round.

Jonathan Bernstein: “President Joe Biden reminded everyone in Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview that, whatever his other strengths and weaknesses, he remains the same guy whose 1988 presidential campaign crashed and burned because of his tendency to blurt stuff out. This time, he did it twice: Committing the US to defending Taiwan against a hypothetical invasion, contrary to longstanding policy, and claiming that the pandemic is over.”

“Biden isn’t the first president with the habit of shooting from the hip — Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump did, too. It’s a dangerous trait for a president because his words, whether intended or not, really count. The 1993 movie Dave is particularly good about this: In the film, a presidential lookalike actually substitutes for the president and realizes that, while he is utterly powerless in private meetings, anything he says in public has the power of a presidential statement.”

“While speaking at Texas Tech University on Sept. 1, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took credit for an ‘incredible victory,’ saying he led the fight to fund a project that he voted against,” WCPT reports.

“The expansion of I-27 is estimated to create thousands of jobs and provide direct links for local and international trade by reducing congestion on the highway in the Eastern region of Texas.”

“Even though the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the legislation by a 68-31 vote in March, Cruz failed to mention was one of the Senators who voted against the bill was him.”

Florida’s attorney general “asked the Supreme Court to decide whether states have the right to regulate how social media companies moderate content on their services, a move that sends one of the most controversial debates of the internet age to the country’s highest court,” the Washington Post reports.

“The Department of Justice on Tuesday charged 47 defendants for allegedly defrauding a federal program that provided food for needy children during the pandemic, describing the scheme — totaling $250 million — as the largest uncovered to date targeting the government’s generous stimulus aid,” the Washington Post reports.

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

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