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Cup of Joe – October 14, 2022

“The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to reinstate Judge Aileen Cannon’s order that a special master review classified documents taken in an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s Florida home and private club,” the Washington Post reports.

“There were no noted dissents.”

“The one-sentence order turned aside an emergency request from the former president to intervene in the document review, which is part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the potential mishandling of classified material after Trump left the White House.”

“A Trump employee has told federal agents about moving boxes of documents at Mar-a-Lago at the specific direction of the former president,” the Washington Post reports.

“The witness account — combined with security-camera footage — offers key evidence of Donald Trump’s behavior as investigators sought the return of classified material.”

“The people familiar with the investigation said agents have gathered witness accounts indicating that, after Trump advisers received a subpoena in May for any classified documents that remained at Mar-a-Lago, Trump told people to move boxes to his residence at the property. That description of events was corroborated by the security-camera footage, which showed people moving the boxes, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.”

There is an astonishing amount of evidence — none of it good for Trump.

Donald Trump reacted to news last night that one of his aides told the FBI they had been ordered to move boxes of classified documents by Trump himself.

Said Trump: “There Is no ‘crime’ having to do with the storage of documents at Mar-a- Lago, only in the minds of the Radical Left Lunatics who are destroying our Country and were just forced by the Courts to give me back much of what they took (STOLE?) during their unprecedented and unnecessary break in of my home.”

Washington Post: “Within the Justice Department and FBI, the witness’s account has been a closely held secret as agents continue to gather evidence in the high-stakes investigation. In addition to wanting to keep the information they have gathered so far under wraps, people familiar with the situation said, authorities are also concerned that if or when the witness’s identity eventually becomes public, that person could face harassment or threats from Trump supporters.”

A clue from the New York Times: “The footage showed Walt Nauta, a former military aide who left the White House and then went to work for Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago, moving boxes from a storage room that became a focus of the Justice Department’s investigation.”

“A bevy of legal experts, reacting to new explosive reporting about the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation, is convinced there is now enough evidence to charge former President Donald Trump with crimes,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“Donald Trump in the final days of his presidency repeatedly threatened to out government sources involved in the Trump-Russia investigation, an anti-Deep State revenge fantasy he still obsesses over to this day,“ Rolling Stone reports.

“Ultimately, top intelligence officials and other Trump lieutenants talked him out of publicizing the sources’ identities before he left the White House, the sources say. Instead, Trump’s team bargained him down to vetting a series of heavily redacted reports that they argued would help safeguard the work and safety of Russia-related informants.”

“But a third source familiar with the situation says that this obsession with outing the confidential sources is ongoing. The former president, the source says, still sporadically talks about the need to get ‘the names’ out into the public record.”

Josh Marshall: “The latest news out of the Mar-a-Lago case, which Josh Kovensky explains here, really makes it hard to see how the government can avoid charging Trump with a crime even if they’d prefer not to. The government appears to have clear, corroborated evidence that after receiving subpoenas for the retrieval of classified documents, Trump directly ordered a resort employee to remove the records from the storerooms where the government’s investigation focused and to his personal residence.

In other words, if this is true, Trump wasn’t simply resisting returning documents he claimed to believe were his. There wasn’t some confusion about whether all the documents had been returned. Rather, Trump was taking affirmative steps to hide the documents from government investigators.

There have been hints that something like this had happened. But just how the government knew this hasn’t been clear. They appear not only to have surveillance tapes but the testimony of the Mar-a-Lago employee who did the moving.“

Once again, the January 6 Committee laid out a devastating case that Donald Trump planned to declare victory after the election — no matter the actual result.

It was entirely premeditated.

We saw new testimony from Jason Miller, Cassidy Hutchinson and Alysa Farrah all saying that Trump knew and acknowledged in various conversations that he lost the election. Said Trump, in front of Hutchinson: “I don’t want people to know we lost… This is embarrassing. Figure it out. We need to figure it out. I don’t want people to know that we lost.”

In the weeks following, Trump maliciously repeated the lie that he won over and over again. His intent was to deceive.

We also saw video of Roger Stone from a documentary film, where says that Trump should prematurely declare victory. Stone then added: “Fuck the voting, let’s get straight to the violence.” It’s no wonder Stone decided to plead the Fifth when testifying before the committee.

We also heard about a tip about the Proud Boys received by the FBI and relayed to Secret Service in the days before the January 6 attack: “Their plan is to literally kill people. Please please take this tip seriously and investigate further.”

The White House had more than enough warning to cancel the January 6 rally at the Ellipse, due to credible threats of violence reported by Secret Service. But they chose to continue because it was part of the plan to disrupt the counting of electoral votes.

There was also more testimony on how Trump refused to tell the rioters to go home or otherwise make them disperse from the Capitol.

The stunning video of congressional leaders — Democrats and Republicans — trying to get help to stop the rioters only emphasized Trump’s dereliction of duty.

If you’ve watched the previous hearings — or read Political Wire regularly — not much of this hearing was new or surprising. But putting it all together was devastating and incredibly convincing. It was masterful.

The committee’s conclusion is clear: Donald Trump made a plan to stay in office before Election Day and he was the “central cause” of the violence we saw on January 6.

As Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) stated at the start of the hearing: “None of this would have happened without him.”

That’s why the committee voted unanimously to subpoena Trump. But that’s as far as Congress can go.

Indicting Trump will be up to the Justice Department.

Two former Trump administration officials — Marc Short and Kash Patel — were seen Thursday at the Washington, DC, federal courthouse where the grand jury investigating the January 6 US Capitol attack meets, CNN reports.

The January 6th Committee plans to vote to subpoena former President Donald Trump during today’s hearing, NBC News reports. Trump will almost certainly fight the subpoena despite his repeated pleas on social media for “equal time.”

Playbook: “Since the very first hearing of the House Jan. 6 committee, the panel has vowed to do three things:(1) correct the historical record of the aftermath of the 2020 election; (2) present the case that former President Donald Trump was at the center of a scheme to overturn the results of a free and fair election; and (3) outline an ongoing attack on American democracy.”

“This afternoon, they’re set to tie all three together in what is expected to be the committee’s final televised hearing.”

Politico: Why January 6 is mostly absent from the midterms.

“A member of the Oath Keepers who traveled with the group to Washington D.C. ahead of the Jan. 6 riot described a massive stockpile of firearms and other weaponry that allies had stashed in an Arlington, Va. hotel,” Politico reports.

Said Terry Cummings: “I had not seen that many weapons in one location since I was in the military.”

A Connecticut jury awarded $965 million to the Sandy Hook families and an FBI agent on Wednesday in their defamation lawsuit against far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, whose supporters terrorized the families over his ghoulish lies claiming the shooting was a hoax.

What probably didn’t help Jones’ case was him snarling during one of the hearings last month that he was “done saying I’m sorry” for lying about the shooting. This was Jones’ second Sandy Hook defamation trial. A jury in a different Sandy Hook lawsuit in Texas ordered Jones to pay almost $50 million to the plaintiffs in August. Jones still has a third defamation trial to go through. It’ll be held in Texas and is expected to begin before the end of the year.

Washington Post: “Within hours of the shooting, Jones was telling his audience that it was staged as a pretext for confiscating guns. Within days, he began to suggest that grieving parents were actors. In the years that followed, he repeatedly said the massacre was faked.”

The price for peddling conspiracy theories just went way up.

“This must be what Hell’s like, they just read out the damages. Even though you don’t got the money.” — Alex Jones, quoted by NBC News, upon learning that he owes roughly $1 billion in damages to Sandy Hook victims.

“Alex Jones is a far more reputable source of information than Rachel Maddow. One of them is censored by the regime. The other promoted by it.” — Ohio U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance (R), on Twitter on September 5, 2021.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) comments on the $1 billion verdict against Alex Jones: “No matter what you think of Alex Jones all he did was speak words. He was not the one who pulled the trigger. Were his words wrong and did he apologize? Yes. That’s what freedom of speech is. Freedom to speak words. Political persecution must end.”

David French: “Defamation isn’t protected speech. The message sent is that lying about the parents of murdered children has legal consequences, including compensatory and punitive damages. It’s basic American law.”

“A Texas sheriff has certified that the nearly 50 migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were victims of a crime,” WGBH reports.

“That certification is a key step in qualifying them for a special visa they would not have otherwise been eligible for… The documents are key parts of applications for U-visas, which are reserved for crime victims, or people who witnessed crimes.”

“A federal watchdog is investigating whether Florida improperly tapped coronavirus aid to fly migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, part of a widening government inquiry into states that put their pandemic dollars toward controversial immigration crackdowns,” the Washington Post reports.

“If Ukraine is admitted into the U.S.-led NATO military alliance, then the conflict in Ukraine would be guaranteed to escalate into World War Three, a Russian Security Council official was quoted as saying on Thursday,” Reuters reports.

Washington Post: “The person most likely to own Twitter next month has proposed solving the war in Ukraine by letting Russia keep territory, won praise from a top Chinese diplomat for suggesting China take control of Taiwan, and welcomed a widely followed celebrity back to Twitter who had just had his Instagram account suspended for threatening Jews — all within the past week.”

Lawrence Freedman: “Everything that now happens in this war, including the murderous missile attacks on Ukrainian cities, has to be understood in terms of the logic of Putin’s exposed position as a failed war leader. He is desperately trying to demonstrate to his hard-line critics that he is up to the task…”

“In most countries, and not just democracies, leaders who fail badly in war will not stay in power for long. Yet the consensus view has been that Putin will avoid this fate. This view is starting to be challenged without anyone having much of an idea about how he might go and what will replace him.”

“Prices consumers pay for a wide variety of goods and services rose more than expected in September as inflation pressures continued to weigh on the U.S. economy,” CNBC reports.

“The consumer price index for the month increased 0.4% for the month, more than the 0.3% Dow Jones estimate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On a 12-month basis, so-called headline inflation was up 8.2%, off its peak around 9% in June but still hovering near the highest levels since the early 1980s.”

“Federal Reserve officials signaled they are more concerned about doing too little to rein in soaring US inflation than doing too much and doubled down on plans to tighten monetary policy so it constrains the economy,” the Financial Times reports.

“Retirees who are confronting higher prices due to record high inflation may get some welcome news this week when the Social Security Administration announces the cost-of-living adjustment for 2023,” CNBC reports.

“The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan senior group, estimated last month that the COLA could be 8.7% next year. That would make it the highest increase in decades, topping this year’s 5.9% annual cost-of-living adjustment, which was the largest in about 40 years.”

Jonathan Chait: “The chaos of the Trump presidency has given way to a period of rethinking on the right, the result of which is a political and intellectual infrastructure determined to carry out his despotic impulses in a more systemized and, its supporters hope, victorious fashion. They may not call it fascism or semi-fascism, but this is only because the word has become a universally recognized slur since World War II. To most Americans, fascist simply means ‘bad,’ and nobody self-identifies as ‘bad.’”

“People imagine democracy and fascism as a simple binary, leaving them unable to acknowledge political systems that reside in the vast space between the two. But this middle ground between Reagan and Mussolini is where the Republican Party’s most influential ideologists and power brokers are consciously heading.”

“Semi-fascism contains many features of democracy, like contested elections and permissible criticism of the ruling party, but without the liberal guardrails that maintain democracy’s openness and stability, such as a judiciary, bureaucracy, and news media that are empowered and motivated to check abuses of power. Thus semi-fascism has a nasty tendency to slide into something more like the outright version, in which effective public opposition to the ruling party becomes impossible.”

“The U.S. attorney overseeing the long-running investigation into President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, has a depth of experience in handling politically sensitive cases and built a reputation as an evenhanded prosecutor,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

David Weiss, “nominated by then President Donald Trump, was confirmed in 2018 to be Delaware’s U.S. attorney. While Attorney General Merrick Garland has replaced most of Mr. Trump’s appointees to U.S. attorney posts, he has kept Mr. Weiss, allowing him to continue heading the politically charged probe.”

Norm Ornstein: “If there is one timeworn cliché about elections, it is that the next one is the most significant in our lifetime. There is reason to believe it is true this time. Although the outcomes remain uncertain, one thing is clear: If Republicans win control of the House of Representatives, the country will face a series of fundamental challenges much greater than we have had in any modern period of divided government, including a direct and palpable threat of default and government shutdown.”

“The Republican majority will be more radical, reckless, and willing to employ nuclear options to achieve its goals than any of its predecessors have been, and its leadership, starting with McCarthy, will be either compliant or too weak to head off catastrophe.”

“The final expected trial of special counsel John Durham’s probe took an unexpected turn Wednesday, with Durham grilling and rebuking his own witness after the witness seemed to bolster the defense of Igor Danchenko, a key Steele dossier source,” CNN reports.

“The dynamic was surprising because it was Durham’s first witness. And at times, while Durham personally questioned the witness, he strayed from the narrow case against Danchenko and focused more on the FBI’s mistakes in 2016 as it investigated then-candidate Donald Trump.”

Bill Bishop: “Cases are rising again, new Omicron variants have entered the country, Shanghai is seeing more targeted lockdowns, and official media are making clear dynamic zero-Covid is the correct policy and is not going away. I don’t have any other word to describe the situation other than grim.”

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports a top executive at one of China’s most prominent biotech companies said it was “mind-boggling” that Beijing had not allowed sales of Covid-19 vaccines using technology pioneered by Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer.

“Days before the New York attorney general filed a lawsuit accusing Donald J. Trump and his company of fraud and seeking to shut down some of their business in the state, Mr. Trump’s lawyers created a new company in Delaware,” the New York Times reports.

“The new company’s name had a familiar ring to it: the Trump Organization, the same name as his old company, now threatened by the lawsuit. And on Sept. 21, the day the suit was filed, the new Delaware company filed paperwork in New York, seeking to be recognized there as the Trump Organization II.”

“Those maneuvers were detailed for the first time in a court filing on Thursday from the attorney general, Letitia James, who raised the prospect that Mr. Trump was seeking an end run around some of her lawsuit’s harshest potential punishments.”

Reuters: “As the United States enters the final stretch to November’s midterm elections, Reuters documented multiple incidents of intimidation involving an expanding army of election observers, many of them recruited by prominent Republican Party figures and activists echoing Trump’s false theories about election fraud.”

A Michigan activist who promoted false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump has begun working in the Macomb County clerk’s office, the Detroit News reports.

“A federal judge has denied former President Trump’s motion to pause the proceedings of a defamation suit against him from a woman who has accused him of rape while appeals over the case play out, setting him up for a deposition next week,” The Hill reports.

As Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) gears up for his first campus visit today, University of Florida students are recoiling at the idea of the Nebraska senator becoming the school’s new president, the Florida Alligator reports.

Sasse is taking heat over his past statements against the LGBTQ community, especially his negative sentiments toward the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015.

Tampa Bay Times: “The law keeps the early part of presidential searches secret as a way to attract high-caliber applicants who don’t want to jeopardize their current jobs. But it also requires universities to lift that confidentiality when ‘a final group of applicants’ emerges.”

“Instead, UF officials announced one finalist, U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, and have refused to release the names of a dozen people they interviewed after reaching out to hundreds of possible candidates.”

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

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