Cup of Joe – December 15, 2022

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) urged White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to invoke “Marshall law” on January 17, 2021, three days before Joe Biden was set to take office, TPM reports. Said Norman: “Mark, in seeing what’s happening so quickly, and reading about the Dominion law suits attempting to stop any meaningful investigation we are at a point of no return in saving our Republic !! Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!”

The White House condemned Rep. Ralph Norman’s call for “Marshall Law” first revealed by TPM: “Plotting against the rule of law and to subvert the will of the people is a disgusting affront to our deepest principles as a country,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates told TPM. “We all, regardless of party, need to stand up for mainstream values and the Constitution, against dangerous, ultra MAGA conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric.”

Responding to the Meadows Texts, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) told The State newspaper that he called for “Marshall Law” out of “frustration” and took the opportunity to spell “martial law” correctly:

“Obviously, Martial Law was never warranted,” Norman said. “That text message came from a source of frustration, on the heels of countless unanswered questions about the integrity of the 2020 election, without any way to slow down and examine those issues prior to the inauguration of the newly elected president.”

CNN, which first documented some of the Meadows texts earlier this year, reports that the Justice Department has fought in secret court proceedings to obtain the text messages from Rep. Scott Perry’s phone, which was seized by the FBI. As TPM reported this week in the Meadows Texts series, Perry was deeply involved in the scheme to overturn the 2020 election.

The Justice Department has tried to gain access to Republican Rep. Scott Perry’s text messages as part of a criminal investigation into 2020 election interference, facing off with his lawyers in a secret court proceeding after seizing his phone, CNN observed at the courthouse and sources familiar with the investigation said.

Local outlets picked up on the involvement of area members of Congress:

Alabama: “Mo Brooks reportedly described as ‘ringleader’ of effort to overturn election in Mark Meadows texts”

North Carolina: “In the latest disclosure, the website Talking Points Memo obtained some 450 texts between Meadows and Republican members of Congress — including Reps. Ted Budd and Greg Murphy of North Carolina — and published many on Monday.”

South Carolina: “SC’s Ralph Norman faces calls to resign over martial law text message to Mark Meadows”

Tennessee: “Rep. Mark Green Messaged Mark Meadows About Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election”

Pennsylvania: “Report: Meadows’ Texts Show Perry, Keller, Kelly Efforts To Reverse Trump 2020 Defeat”

Stephen Colbert: “These members of Congress communicating with Meadows were — and it’s not my place to editorialize — stupid, evil traitors who were trying to do crimes against democracy, for which they should be punished with decades of jail time.”

The January 6 Committee will meet on Monday at 1 p.m. to vote on potential recommendations to the Justice Department to prosecute suspects for their roles, USA Today reports.

The second of two seditious conspiracy trials of members of the Oath Keepers involved in the Jan. 6 attack is set to start today in federal court Washington, D.C. The first trial ended last month with convictions on several major charges, including against group leader Stewart Rhodes.

The judge overseeing the upcoming trial of five Proud Boys involved in the Jan. 6 attack has declined to dismiss the charges against them, including seditious conspiracy.

“Congressional negotiators announced late Tuesday they had reached agreement on a ‘framework’ for fiscal year 2023 spending, clearing the way for passage of an omnibus appropriations package before Christmas,” Politico reports.

“Appropriators are not expected to reveal detailed top-line spending levels until a bill is written and filed, but negotiators had largely settled on a $858 billion defense budget while haggling over the nondefense number. The parties had been roughly $26 billion apart, with Republicans refusing to exceed the $1.65 trillion in total discretionary spending in President Joe Biden’s budget request.”

“Notably absent from the statements touting the deal: Any mention of the House GOP, whose leaders have pressed (at least publicly) for a short-term extension, giving their incoming majority more influence.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) “said Tuesday that he doesn’t expect lawmakers to include any tax provisions in a must-pass spending bill lawmakers hope to move before quitting for the year,” Politico reports.

“That would dash the hopes of Democrats still trying to squeeze through at least a piecemeal expansion of the Child Tax Credit.”

“It would also mean those still hoping to move a number of other provisions dealing with corporate taxes, the gig economy and retirement may have to wait until next year — when negotiations will only become harder once Republicans take control of the House.“

“House GOP leadership is urging Republicans to vote against a short-term government funding bill lawmakers are hoping to quickly pass ahead of a looming shutdown deadline,” The Hill reports.

CNN: “McCarthy’s comment blindsided McConnell, according to multiple senators. While the House GOP leader had signaled privately – including at a White House meeting – that he’d be open to a large spending deal to finish this year’s business, Republicans were not expecting him to take aim at McConnell even if he publicly came out against the package. But as McConnell continually worked behind the scenes to cut a massive funding deal – effectively clearing McCarthy’s decks for the next Congress – the House GOP leader increasingly voiced his strong opposition against it.”

“It was just the latest split between two GOP leaders who have been at odds over a range of issues this past Congress. Bills to bolster the nation’s infrastructure, new gun safety programs and a ramp up of semi-conductor chip production all became law with McConnell’s support and over McCarthy’s opposition.”

“Weird thing about the speaker vote on Jan. 3 — it will essentially function in a House without rules,” Politico reports.

“The speakership election happens before the House sets the rules for the 118th Congress, meaning the vote operates outside of the chamber’s standard operating procedures. When a speaker candidate is elected on the first ballot without too much drama, that’s not a big deal.”

“But Jan. 3, 2023 could have a lot of drama, and many members doubt it will all be settled on the first ballot.”

“Former President Donald Trump has been working the phones, personally pitching right-wing lawmakers on voting to make Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader he has called ‘My Kevin,’ the speaker of the House,” the New York Times reports.

“Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, the most outspoken far-right member of his conference, is publicly vouching for Mr. McCarthy. The California Republican has made private entreaties and public promises to win over his critics, including floating the impeachment of a member of President Biden’s cabinet.”

“And yet, Mr. McCarthy, who is toiling to become speaker next year when the GOP assumes the majority, has so far been unable to put down a mini-revolt on the right that threatens to imperil his bid for the top job.”

NBC News: Can the “Never Kevin” caucus hold the line?

Punchbowl News: “The story of today – the story of this political moment – is the right squeezing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.”

“This is evident everywhere you look, including in this NYT story, which illustrates former President Donald Trump failing to break the logjam between McCarthy and his conservative detractors.”

“After disappointing midterm elections, Republicans in Congress had hoped to quickly focus their attention on attacking President Biden and preparing to investigate his administration. But ongoing dissent within the GOP ranks is a reoccurring theme sucking up most of the oxygen on Capitol Hill, forcing party leaders to address the discontent,” the Washington Post reports.

“The dynamic is a preview of how the emboldened right flank of the Republican Party might exercise leverage next year in the closely divided chambers — even as moderate Republicans say the electorate wants Congress to get things done.”

HuffPost: “Schumer has been helping President Joe Biden outpace past presidents with his judicial confirmations. The Senate has confirmed 96 of Biden’s lifetime federal judges as of Tuesday. That’s more than Donald Trump (85) and Barack Obama (62) had confirmed by this point in their presidencies. If the Senate tops 100 confirmations by the end of the year, which is Schumer’s goal, Biden will surpass former President George W. Bush, too.”

“Perhaps more remarkable is the diversity Biden’s already put onto the courts. Of his 96 judges, 75% are women, 68% are people of color, 48% are women of color and 24 are Black women. That’s a huge departure from the nation’s breathtakingly white, male federal judiciary.”

“These judges will forever be categorized as Biden appointees. But Schumer has been instrumental in ushering them all through. He already considers his record of confirming Biden’s judges one of his greatest accomplishments as Senate majority leader.”

“Consumer prices rose last month at the slowest 12-month pace since December 2021, closing out a year in which inflation hit the highest level in four decades and challenged the Federal Reserve’s ability to keep the U.S. economy on track,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The Labor Department on Tuesday said that its consumer-price index climbed 7.1% in November from a year ago, down sharply from 7.7% in October—building on a trend of moderating price increases since June’s 9.1% peak.”

“President Biden on Tuesday sought to capitalize on positive economic news that inflation numbers are cooling, arguing that his policies are helping stabilize an economy battered by a global pandemic and a war in Ukraine, after months of facing a political battering for rising prices,” the Washington Post reports.

“Rising gas prices and food costs, combined with warnings of a recession on the horizon, created a noxious political picture for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. But the party emerged stronger than anticipated, and Biden is now seeking to reframe the economic narrative ahead of announcing his own reelection plans early next year.”

Bloomberg: “Stock futures suddenly spiked more than 1%. Trading in Treasury futures surged, pushing benchmark yields lower by about 4 basis points. Those are major moves in such a short period of time — bigger than full-session swings on some days.”

“And they should get scrutinized by regulators, long-time market observers say, even if a leak is only one of several possible explanations.”

“The Federal Reserve approved an interest-rate increase of 0.5 percentage point and signaled plans to keep raising rates at its next few meetings to combat high inflation,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The decision Wednesday marked a step down after four consecutive larger increases of 0.75 point and raised the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 4.25% and 4.5%, a 15-year high.”

Donald Trump promised that he would be making a “Major Announcement” on Thursday. Although he didn’t explicitly say what it would be about, he did say that “America needs a superhero!”

John White: “In many ways, the Republican Party’s history with Donald Trump harkens back to its experience with another demagogue, Joseph McCarthy.”

“For years, Republicans refrained from criticizing McCarthy for fear of alienating their most loyal supporters.”

Jonathan Martin: “Just under a month since Donald Trump announced his third consecutive White House bid, some of his loudest advocates are nowhere to be found…”

“The collective quiet also underscores how yesterday’s conventional wisdom can turn stale fast. For all the talk about how Republican politicians are scared of Trump, all but one of the party’s senators are dodging his candidacy while most Democratic lawmakers fall in line behind President Joe Biden’s presumed reelection bid.”

“That’s in part because, after the midterms, Trump has the whiff of a loser and Biden is riding high.

“However, there’s something bigger at play.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the upcoming massive year-end spending package will include a revamp of an obscure law that Donald Trump tried to exploit to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Politico reports.

He also said anticipated additional Ukraine aid would make it into the deal, though he did not specify an amount.

“Federal prosecutors accused FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who made nearly $40 million in political contributions in the 2022 election cycle, with violating multiple campaign finance laws,” CNBC reports.

“The indictment says Bankman-Fried and others violated numerous federal campaign finance laws, including giving contributions ‘in the names of other persons.’”

“I would like to start by formally stating, under oath: I fucked up.”— Sam Bankman-Fried, quoted by Reuters, in written testimony he planned to give before a House committee before he was arrested.

Twitter suspended an account that actively tracked Elon Musk’s private jet, Axios reports.  “The suspension raises questions about Musk’s commitment to free speech on Twitter, a value he has directly linked to his takeover of the platform.”

“Elon Musk, who implored his army of Twitter followers to vote Republican in the 2022 midterms, did not vote in the election,” the Daily Beast reports.

New York Times: “To cut costs, Twitter has not paid rent for its San Francisco headquarters or any of its global offices for weeks… Twitter has also refused to pay a $197,725 bill for private charter flights made the week of Mr. Musk’s takeover.”

“Twitter’s leaders have also discussed the consequences of denying severance payments to thousands of people who have been laid off since the takeover.”

“The aggressive moves signal that Mr. Musk is still slashing expenditures and is bending or breaking Twitter’s previous agreements to make his mark.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) “announced bipartisan legislation to ban China’s popular social media app TikTok, ratcheting up pressure on owner ByteDance Ltd amid U.S. fears the app could be used to spy on Americans and censure content,” Reuters reports. “The legislation would block all transactions from any social media company in or under the influence of China and Russia.”

“The Biden administration is finalizing plans to send the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine that could be announced as soon as this week,” CNN reports.

“Ukraine has been calling for the US to send the advanced long-range air defense system that is highly effective at intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles as it comes under a barrage of Russian missile and drone attacks that have destroyed key infrastructure across the country. It would be the most effective long-range defensive weapons system sent to the country and officials say it will help secure airspace for NATO nations in eastern Europe.”

Washington Post: “To varying degrees, residents of Kyiv are contemplating the once unthinkable possibility that their city could be targeted by a nuclear bomb.”

“Ominous references by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he is prepared to use ‘all necessary means’ to win in Ukraine and frequent chatter on Russian TV talk shows advocating the use of nuclear weapons have given grounds for the concerns.”

Robert O’Brien, former national security adviser to Donald Trump, said the Russians appeared committed to releasing Paul Whelan and another imprisoned American to improve relations between Washington and Moscow following a meeting in October 2020, The Hill reports.

But the Russians “reneged on the deal that would have freed Whelan and Trevor Reed after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election.”

Said O’Brien: “Once we lost the election, the Russians lost all interest.”

Gov. Kate Brown (D) “announced on Tuesday afternoon that she would commute the sentences of all 17 individuals on Oregon’s death row to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the latest in her end-of-term string of clemency decisions,” the Oregonian reports.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh attended a private holiday party on Friday night at the home of Matt Schlapp, who is chairman of the Conservative Political Action Coalition, Bloomberg reports.

Attendees included Stephen Miller, whose group America First Legal Foundation has interests in cases now pending before the court.

“Karen Bass was sworn in as the first female mayor of Los Angeles on Sunday and vowed to build consensus among elected leaders as Angelenos contend with racial tensions, surging homelessness and a new rise in coronavirus cases,” the New York Times reports.

Los Angeles Times: “Bass used her history-making moment to emphasize her place within a constellation of barrier-breaking California women. The first Black woman elected mayor of Los Angeles was joined by the first female vice president, the first woman to lead the California Senate and California’s first female lieutenant governor.”

“For a century prior to 2015, no member had attempted to remove a speaker from office by offering a ‘motion to vacate the chair.’ Then conservative hardliners used the arcane procedure to help oust former Speaker John Boehner, and nothing has ever been the same,” Punchbowl News reports.

“Speaker Paul Ryan, Boehner’s successor, always faced the threat of such a motion being filed if he alienated hardliners. Any single member could do so and get a vote. When Speaker Nancy Pelosi took office, she changed the rule so that only a party leader could do it at the behest of a majority of their lawmakers.”

“But 21 days before the election of the next speaker, it’s becoming ever more clear that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy may have to restore the motion to vacate to the old standard if he wants to be speaker.”

“The last Confederate statue in Richmond was removed on Monday, and the remains beneath it of Ambrose P. Hill, the Confederate lieutenant general who was memorialized, were set to be transferred to a cemetery,” the New York Times reports.

Eurointelligence: “It is unsurprising that the most optimistic news of our times is not from politics or economics, but science. The western world is scraping the barrel with policies designed to improve the lives of people. In most western countries, politics is reduced to an exercise of redistribution of income. The biggest social changes we have experienced in the last century are from scientific and technical innovation. The biggest was, arguably, that of the transistor in 1947, followed by the integrated circuit in 1960.”

“Nuclear fusion is possibly of even a bigger scale. It constitutes a cheap supply of unlimited energy. Its development would constitute the single biggest step forward in our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission. There is no space for the likes of Vladimir Putin in a world powered by nuclear fusion. It may take a long time until this technology is ready for deployment, but the scientific breakthrough will have many immediate effects.”

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

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