Cup of Joe – October 5, 2022

“Former President Donald Trump has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the dispute over materials the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate this summer,” CNN reports.

“His emergency request with Supreme Court is the latest example of the former President seeking to involve the justices in investigations that entangle him – at a time when the high court’s legitimacy in politically explosive cases is under intense scrutiny.”

Washington Post: “During his four years in office, Trump never strictly followed the rules and customs for handling sensitive government documents, according to 14 officials from his administration, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss what they called Trump’s mishandling of classified information.”

“He took transcripts of his calls with foreign leaders as well as photos and charts used in his intelligence briefings to his private residence with no explanation. He demanded that letters he exchanged with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un be kept close at hand so he could show them off to visitors. Documents that would ordinarily be kept under lock and key mingled with piles of newspaper articles in Trump’s living quarters and in a dining room that he used as an informal office.”

“The National Archives alerted lawyers for former President Donald Trump in May 2021 that Trump’s letters with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un – and two dozen boxes of records – were missing,” CNN reports.

“Donald Trump asked one of his lawyers to tell the National Archives and Records Administration in early 2022 that Trump had returned all materials requested by the agency, but the lawyer declined because he was not sure the statement was true,” the Washington Post reports.

“As it turned out, thousands more government documents — including some highly classified secrets — remained at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and private club.”

“As Vladimir Putin’s game of chicken with the US and its allies over Ukraine escalates into a new round of nuclear threats, the smaller weapons that his officials have called on him to use may provide vital hours or even days of warning,” Bloomberg reports.

“While Russia’s long-range missiles and bombers are kept on constant alert, ready to fire in just minutes to ensure they aren’t destroyed by a pre-emptive strike, lower-yielding tactical weapons are locked up in about a dozen warehouses across Russia and it would take time to transport them to launchers.”

David Sanger: “For all his threats to fire tactical nuclear arms at Ukrainian targets, Putin is now discovering what the United States itself concluded years ago, American officials suspect: Small nuclear weapons are hard to use, harder to control and a far better weapon of terror and intimidation than a weapon of war.”

Even as the Russian Parliament rubber-stamps Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions, the Kremlin admitted on Monday that it hasn’t actually determined the borders of the annexed areas, none of which are under Russia’s control.

“Ukrainian troops on Tuesday accelerated their military advances on two fronts, pushing Russian forces into retreat in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to the east and Kherson region to the south,” the Washington Post reports.

“The gains showed Kyiv continuing to recapture occupied territory on the same day that President Vladimir Putin and his rubber-stamp parliament sought to formalize their increasingly far-fetched annexation claims of four Ukrainian regions.”

Eliot Cohen: “Putin is making these threats for several reasons. Russia is losing the war in Ukraine and losing it badly. It was routed out of Kyiv in the first phase, its forces were driven from Kharkiv oblast in the second, and its defenses—manned by ill-equipped, demoralized, and badly trained units whose positions have probably been compromised by no-retreat orders from Moscow—are being breached by Ukrainian offensives in the third. The fall of Lyman was but the first disaster; a still bigger blow will occur when the city of Kherson, which may have 10,000 or 20,000 Russian soldiers in it, falls to Ukrainian troops. In the meantime, in the words of the retired Australian general Mick Ryan, Russia’s logistics and command system are being corroded by incessant precision attacks.”

“Putin, one must always recall, is a former secret policeman, for whom mind games are always the first and rarely the last resort. Is former German Chancellor Angela Merkel known to be uneasy around canines? Bring a dog to the meeting. Fear is the Chekist’s chief weapon. Because some Western politicians and many Western pundits are known to get the shakes at the mere mention of nuclear weapons, Putin has an opening for the biggest mind game of all. Judging by continued and credible reports that the United States and Germany, among others, are withholding some types and quantities of weapons from Ukraine, it’s working.”

Retired Army general and former CIA chief David Petraeus said that Russian President Vladimir Putin now faces an “irreversible” quagmire amid the country’s land grab in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, ABC News reports.He said Putin “is losing” despite “significant” but “desperate” moves in the war that began in late February.

“A Russian convoy transporting equipment for Russia’s nuclear weapons program has sparked fears that Vladimir Putin could be preparing a test to send a ‘signal to the West,’” The Telegraph reports.

“A train operated by the secretive nuclear division and linked to the 12th main directorate of the Russian ministry of defense was spotted in central Russia over the weekend heading towards the front line in Ukraine.”

“Russia’s retreat from a key Ukrainian city over the weekend elicited outcry from an unlikely crowd – state-run media outlets that typically cast Moscow’s war in glowing terms,” the AP reports.

“A series of embarrassing military losses in recent weeks has presented a challenge for prominent hosts of Russian news and political talk shows struggling to find ways to paint Ukraine’s gains in a way that is still favorable to the Kremlin.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) “acknowledged he exchanged text messages with one of Donald Trump’s attorneys before and after Johnson’s staff attempted to deliver a package to then-Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6,” NBC News reports.

“Johnson said ‘the entire episode lasted about an hour,’ in reference to his ties to a fake electors scheme he said he knew nothing about. He also said he didn’t know the contents of the package he said the attorney wanted to be delivered.”

Said Johnson: “You can’t even call it participation, I wrote a couple texts.”

Johnson repeated his claim Tuesday that the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol was not an “armed insurrection,” adding however, that protesters “did teach us how you can use flag poles, that kind of stuff, as weapons,” CNN reports. Said Johnson: “To call what happened on January 6 an ‘armed insurrection,’ I just think, is not accurate.”

“Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid answering questions from the Jan. 6 select committee,” Politico reports.

The House Jan. 6 Committee has tentatively set its next public hearing for Oct. 13, according to Bloomberg.

Associated Press: “Lawyers for Stewart Rhodes, founder of the extremist group, are poised to argue that jurors cannot find him guilty of seditious conspiracy because all the actions he took before the siege on Jan. 6, 2021, were in preparation for orders he anticipated from the then-president — orders that never came.”

“Elon Musk has offered to close his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter on the terms he originally agreed to, according to a person familiar with the matter, an unexpected twist that could allow the two sides to avert a high-stakes trial set to begin soon,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Today, President Biden is convening a meeting at the White House to mark 100 days since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and assess the impact that has had on the country,” the Washington Post reports.

Planned Parenthood announced yesterday that it’ll soon open a mobile abortion clinic in Illinois in the form of a 37-foot RV that will travel along the borders of neighboring states that have banned abortion.

The clinic will move along Illinois’ borders in the areas of ​​southeastern Missouri and western Kentucky after it arrives this month, according to Planned Parenthood. It’s expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.

The clinic will start by offering abortion pills for the first 11 weeks of pregnancy, then will begin providing surgical abortions several months later.

Female student athletes in Florida “are asked to report their history of menstrual periods: When they got their first period, how many weeks pass between periods and when they had their last one, to name a few,” the Florida Times Union reports.

“The information is reported on athletes’ annual physical form, which they are required to fill out with a physician and turn in to their school’s athletic director.”

“The questions have been put to students across the state for two decades, most often on a written form on paper, but this fall when some districts took the form to a digital platform kept by a third party, parents and doctors began raising red flags…. All of the forms — whether paper or digital — are subject to subpoena.”

“At least 5,000 more babies will be born in Mississippi each year than in the past now that abortion is almost completely outlawed,” the Mississippi Free Press reports.

“But the Magnolia State is not prepared to handle it, officials say. Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Edney shared the estimate with members of the Mississippi Senate last week.”

“As they plot a post-midterms legislative agenda for President Joe Biden, White House officials have been considering whether changes to the country’s immigration system should be one of his major policy pushes,” NBC News reports.

Paul Krugman: “Liz Truss, who became Britain’s prime minister less than a month ago, may have set a political speed record. She certainly isn’t the first leader who has been forced to make a policy U-turn in the face of adverse market reactions.”

“But announcing an economic program and then abandoning its central plank just 10 days later is something special.”

Financial Times: Truss finally admits defeat on tax benefit for the wealthy.

The New York Times and CNN have unmasked the woman who allegedly tricked Venezuelan migrants in Texas into boarding planes chartered by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) with false promises of food and housing before the planes took the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard: Perla Huerta, an ex-combat medic and counterintelligence agent in the U.S. Army.

Huerta was discharged in August after having served for more than 20 years.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas is scrutinizing Huerta in its investigation into DeSantis’ stunt, according to the New York Times.

“The Supreme Court is taking up an Alabama redistricting case that could have far-reaching effects on minority voting power across the United States,” the AP reports.

“The justices are hearing arguments Tuesday in the latest high-court showdown over the federal Voting Rights Act, lawsuits seeking to force Alabama to create a second Black majority congressional district. About 27% of Alabamians are Black, but they form a majority in just one of the state’s seven congressional districts.”

“A strong election night for allies of President Jair Bolsonaro have given his party the most seats in both chambers of Congress, highlighting the enduring strength of his conservative movement even if he falls short of re-election,” Reuters reports.

“His right-wing Liberal Party (PL), won 99 seats in the 513-member lower house, up from 77, and right-leaning parties allied with Bolsonaro now control half the chamber. The bigger surprise in Sunday’s voting was in the Senate where Bolsonaro’s party won 13 of the 27 seats up for grabs, with two more possible in second-round runoffs.”

“The strong right-wing showing in legislative and gubernatorial races, especially in more affluent southeast Brazil, made Bolsonaro the election’s big winner.”

J. Michael Luttig: “That as many as six justices on the Supreme Court have flirted with the independent-state-legislature theory over the past 20 years is baffling.”

“There is literally no support in the Constitution, the pre-ratification debates, or the history from the time of our nation’s founding or the Constitution’s framing for a theory of an independent state legislature that would foreclose state judicial review of state legislatures’ redistricting decisions. Indeed, there is overwhelming evidence that the Constitution contemplates and provides for such judicial review.”

Donald Trump asked his aides if Ghislaine Maxwell — the longtime associate of notorious paedophile Jeffrey Epstein — had mentioned him after her arrest, The Independent reports.

Donald Trump sued CNN on Monday for alleged defamation and is seeking at least $475 million in damages, Axios reports.

Wall Street Journal: “Trump’s suit, filed in a federal court in southern Florida, alleged CNN has sought to use its influence with viewers to spread false claims about him for the purpose of defeating him politically. He accused CNN of associating him with Adolf Hitler and portraying him as a Russian lackey and a racist.”

The Washington Post has a very favorable review of Maggie Haberman’s new book, Confidence Man.

“Haberman’s contribution… is much larger than its arresting anecdotes. Later generations of historians will puzzle over Trump’s rise to national power. The best of them will have learned from Haberman’s book that none of it would have been possible but for a social, cultural, political, media and moral breakdown that overtook New York beginning in the 1970s, a fiasco of trusted institutions that, having allowed the Trumpian virus to grow, failed at every step to contain its spread, then profited from, aided and even cheered its devastation.”

The book also says that former President Donald Trump dubbed his “secret bathroom” near the Oval Office the “Monica Room” — a dig at former President Bill Clinton — and would deceive guests by telling them had to he remodeled it after President Obama left, Insider reports.

Officials later confirmed that the claim wasn’t true, and only the toilets were changed. 

Politico: “Just five weeks ahead of the midterms, Powell’s prescription for squeezing high inflation with rapid interest rate hikes is sending stocks through convulsions, triggering eye-popping moves in bond markets and sparking worries about global economic contagion in advanced and developing economies alike.”

“It’s a rare moment for a Fed chair to toss aside all political considerations and ignore frantic investors. But Powell is facing the worst inflation spike since the Reagan administration — a problem that Fed critics say he helped create by downplaying price surges last year — and is racing to prevent worse pain in the coming months. If he’s unable to do that, it could cement a legacy of failure that he deeply wants to avoid.”

“As prices at the pump trend up nationwide, the Biden administration is scrambling to shelter Democrats from consumer frustration, laying blame on oil company opportunism and threatening new restrictions on the industry,” the Washington Post reports.

“The renewed attention on the cost of fuel comes as gas prices have jumped in recent days by as much as 60 cents per gallon in some regions, posing a political challenge for Democrats. A decline in prices that stretched for 99 days helped to improve their prospects in next month’s midterm elections, during which control of Congress and several key governorships is at stake.”

“A lawyer for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asked a judge to dismiss a case accusing him of ordering the killing of columnist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, arguing that his new role as prime minister grants him legal immunity,” Bloomberg reports.

“U.S. employers pulled back sharply on job openings, and layoffs rose in August, adding to signs the labor market cooled at the end of the summer,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The 1.1 million drop in openings is the largest decline since the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, and job openings are at their lowest level in a year.”

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

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