Cup of Joe – December 16, 2022

David Corn finds former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows wasn’t truthful in his recent memoir.

“His book says nothing about Trump’s multiple efforts after Election Day to overturn the results. Missing from these pages: Trump pressuring Georgia election officials to ‘find’ him enough votes to win that state (an effort in which Meadows participated); the fake electors scheme; Trump’s attempt to force the Justice Department to declare the election corrupt; the crazy conspiracy nutters who met with Trump and pushed him to seize voting machines; Trump muscling his vice president to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory; Trump’s refusal to take steps to quell the January 6 riot; and much more.”

“Also missing: any mention of the hundreds of text messages Meadows received from Republican elected officials and conservatives who pled with him to take drastic—and perhaps illegal—steps to undo the election results.”

Harry Litman: “Don’t ask don’t tell how @TPM got its hands on the Meadows texts, but they’ve performed a real public service. The texts are totally damning and show not just Meadows but lawmakers (34 of them!) and others all willingly conspiring in the Big Lie attempted coup. Utterly shameful.”

Joyce Vance: “The burdens of proof are different in courts of law & the court of public opinion. Whether any of these members of Congress are ever prosecuted, the text messages are compelling evidence there were elected officials willing to disregard the Constitution to hold power.”

Jonathan Chait: “Text messages to and from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows around the time of the January 6 insurrection, obtained by Talking Points Memo, confirm the impression. Meadows and his allies in Congress truly believed the election was stolen and truly believed they could and should steal it back. In these messages, Republicans can be seen over and over again repeating wild conspiracy theories about voting machines …”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Texts show Georgia Republicans sharing election conspiracy theories to aid Trump”

City & State PA: “A timeline of Scott Perry’s texts following the 2020 election”

Sarah Posner: “Newly revealed texts between Allen and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, published while the hearing was in progress, dramatically show how deeply Christian nationalist ideology runs through the Republican Party, and how it continues to underlie Republicans’ ongoing denial that Jan. 6 was a violent attempt to overthrow the government.”

Greg Sargent: And text messages from House Republicans to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, unearthed by Talking Points Memo, show members of Congress scheming in the run-up to Jan. 6 to overturn Trump’s loss in all kinds of ways, with one even calling for Trump to declare martial law.

What all this means is that the insurrectionist spirit will run strong in next year’s GOP-controlled House, which would be likely to try to help with any effort by Trump — or an imitator — to subvert the 2024 presidential election. Under current law, if a GOP-controlled state legislature appointed electors for the Republican nominee in defiance of the state’s popular vote, the GOP House could count those electors, leading to a stolen election or constitutional crisis.

“The chair of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 said that the panel’s final hearing may include evidence that has not yet been made public,” Axios reports.

“The committee aims to capture the nation’s attention one last time as it previews its sprawling final report and accompanying criminal referrals and legislative recommendations.”

The hearing is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. ET.

Rep. Ralph Norman told Axios that he, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Bob Good and Matt Rosendale will vote on McCarthy’s speaker bud as a group of 5 — they’ll all be yes’s or no’s and decide together. Said Norman: “We all operate as five … we come as five.”

“Norman added that there are others beyond the five of them who are considering voting no McCarthy and haven’t said so publicly.”

The Hill offers seven scenarios for Kevin McCarthy’s Speakership vote — ranked from least to most likely. Spoiler alert: He’s most likely to win an outright majority after making a series of concessions.

New Gingrich points out that the longest speaker election in House history was “when Nathaniel Banks was chosen in 1855 after 133 ballots. That agonizing fight took two months of voting. Imagine the C-SPAN audience it would have generated.”

“So, now, we have a new struggle between Speaker-designate Kevin McCarthy and the handful of members who are trying to take advantage of the narrow Republican majority by blackmailing their colleagues to get their way.”

“I use the word blackmailers deliberately. They are trying to exploit the vulnerability of their House Republican colleagues to get what they want – even if it is not what the rest of the conference wants. They are not just shaking down McCarthy, they are shaking down their fellow House members who voted for him.”

Playbook: “There is a give-a-mouse-a-cookie fear that if he negotiates right now, conservatives will just move on to new demands in the weeks before the Jan. 3 speakership vote.”

“The entire dynamic illustrates that even if McCarthy wins the gavel, he is going to be pulled between two factions of his conference that disagree more ferociously on strategy than on policy itself. While conservatives are expected to embrace shutdown fights and debt ceiling brinkmanship, the larger group of pragmatists will want to govern.”

Washington Post: “At its weekly lunch, the Republican Governance Group, which includes nearly 50 members, agreed to oppose any House rules package that includes a motion to vacate, according to a member who participated in the discussion and spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private talks. Their opposition would easily doom any attempt by the right to force McCarthy’s hand.”

Playbook: “But the backstory of the moderates’ flex, and especially the McCarthy camp’s quiet encouragement of their opposition — reported here for the first time — provides a rare window into the strategy McCarthy will employ to try to get the gavel, and also how he will likely govern if he does.”

“By using moderates as a critical tool for countering conservatives, McCarthy appears to be carefully positioning himself to say to his right flank: Sorry, your own colleagues won’t support such a demand. Having them play ‘bad cop’ on anything from the motion to vacate to, possibly, a future debt ceiling showdown, for example, could set McCarthy up to be seen as the ‘good cop’ — a reasonable dealmaker trying to find a path forward between warring factions.”

“The Senate is sprinting to clear a one-week funding patch that would avert a government shutdown on Friday at midnight, but timing remains uncertain as any one senator could delay the legislation,” Politico reports.

“For about a year, Donald Trump’s confidants, advisers and boosters have worried that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was positioning himself to get to the right of the former president over the issue of Covid vaccines,” NBC News reports.

“DeSantis, who is mulling whether to challenge Trump in the 2024 Republican primary for president, deepened those suspicions Tuesday.”

“At a roundtable he convened of Covid vaccine skeptics and opponents — including his own surgeon general — he formally called on the state Supreme Court to impanel a grand jury to investigate whether pharmaceutical companies criminally misled Floridians about the side effects of vaccines, a position at odds with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“In the last two days, Ron DeSantis sought a grand jury to investigate Covid-19 vaccines, questioned a new federal law protecting same-sex marriages and won a legislative victory that will hit the pocket books of lawyers,” Politico reports.

“And there will be more steps by DeSantis to lure conservatives to his side in the coming weeks and months ahead. There are already rumblings that state lawmakers will hold special legislative sessions between now and March to tackle issues such as guns and abortion.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “announced Tuesday that he is forming a new state committee to counter policy recommendations from federal health agencies — a decision that medical professionals said will further politicize medicine in the Sunshine State,” the Washington Post reports.

A prominent donor and ally of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was found dead of an apparent suicide in a parking lot in North Florida last week, the Orlando Weekly reports.

The Florida Times Union says investigators were scrutinizing the man’s alleged sexual misconduct.

“The grim conditions FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is encountering in the Bahamas prison where he’s currently being held could change his attitude on extradition to face fraud charges in the US,” Bloomberg reports.

“Despite its bucolic name, Fox Hill is known for overcrowding, poor nutrition, inadequate sanitation and substandard medical care, according to a 2020 US State Department report. The report described rat and maggot infestation as well as tiny cells with only buckets for toilets.”

“One person said Bankman-Fried’s relatives called the prison Tuesday night to ask whether vegan meals could be delivered to him.”

The Economist: “Russia is massing men and arms for a new offensive. As soon as January, but more likely in the spring, it could launch a big attack from Donbas in the east, from the south or even from Belarus, a puppet state in the north. Russian troops will aim to drive back Ukrainian forces and could even stage a second attempt to take Kyiv, the capital.”

“Those are not our words, but the assessment of the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, General Valery Zaluzhny. In an unprecedented series of briefings within the past fortnight the general, along with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, and General Oleksandr Syrsky, the head of its ground forces, warned us of the critical few months ahead.”

Said General Zaluzhny: “The Russians are preparing some 200,000 fresh troops. I have no doubt they will have another go at Kyiv.”

Washington Post: Russia is destroying Ukraine’s economy, raising costs for U.S. and allies.

“China’s leader Xi Jinping has in recent months tried to put public distance between Beijing and Moscow as Russia has suffered defeats in its war on Ukraine,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Behind the diplomatic appearances, however, Mr. Xi is deepening his long-term bet on Russia.”

After teasing a “major announcement” on his social media platform yesterday, Donald Trump rolled out a set of digital trading cards featuring his image.

So they’re basically NFTs for $99 each.

“Beijing has been hit with a significant, and spreading, outbreak – a first for the Chinese capital since the beginning of the pandemic, a week after leaders eased the country’s restrictive Covid policy,” CNN reports.

“With Covid-19 running rampant after President Xi Jinping’s government swiftly abandoned its zero-tolerance policy, the Communist Party is still insisting its strategy will ‘stand the test of history,’” Bloomberg reports.

“In a front-page commentary on Thursday totaling over 11,000 Chinese characters, the People’s Daily newspaper — the party’s main mouthpiece — called on citizens to ‘unswervingly’ trust the nation’s leaders. It added that Xi’s Covid Zero policy ‘won precious time’ in controlling the outbreak, saying that China is now ‘not afraid of the continuous mutation of the virus.’”

Meanwhile, another Bloomberg piece notes Xi hasn’t commented on Covid since major changes.

“Chinese social media users posted their final screenshots of a nationwide Covid location tracking app after the government announced Monday that it was deactivating the once-mandatory service,” Semafor reports.

New York Times: “One of the most confounding mysteries of the pandemic remains: Some people have never had Covid, this season or ever.”

“While many people may have avoided infection through precaution or luck, ‘never Coviders,’ scientists believe, are truly out there: People who are naturally immune and whose genetics could hold clues for treatment.”

“Attorney disciplinary regulators recommended Rudy Giuliani be disbarred after a Washington, DC Bar committee announced a preliminary finding that he likely violated at least one attorney practice rule in pressing Donald Trump’s failed legal challenge to President Joe Biden’s 2020 win in Pennsylvania,” Bloomberg reports.

“The Senate passed by unanimous consent a bill that would ban federal employees from downloading or using the social-media app TikTok on government devices, in the face of mounting national-security concerns,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The legislation would still have to pass the House and be signed by the president to become law. A similar bill passed the Senate in a previous Congress but never moved forward in the House.”

“The House on Wednesday passed a bill that would remove a bust at the U.S. Capitol of Roger B. Taney, the chief justice who authored the majority Supreme Court opinion protecting slavery in Dred Scott v. Sandford,” the Washington Post reports.

“The House passed the measure by voice vote, and it now heads to President Biden for his signature. The Senate had passed it by voice vote last week.”

“If signed into law, as expected, the bill would direct the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library to remove Taney’s bust not more than 45 days after the bill is signed into law. The bill would also direct the committee to replace Taney’s bust with one of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice.”

“Congressional Republicans confronted sharp internal divisions Wednesday, with clashes over government spending and party leadership underscoring looming challenges in the GOP as it prepares to take control of the House in January,” the Washington Post reports.

“House Republicans met Wednesday to discuss party rules that will govern their narrow majority next year, including a push by staunch conservatives dangling demands over Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) in exchange for votes to support his bid to become the next speaker. The tensions threaten to delay the start of basic House functions, such as proposing legislation and jump-starting investigations into the Biden administration.”

“A pair of progressive organizations operating in complete secrecy spearheaded a $32 million campaign during the midterms to push back against former President Donald Trump’s ‘Stop the Steal’ movement,” Politico reports.

“The effort was undertaken by two newly created groups: Pro-Democracy Center and Pro-Democracy Campaign. Those groups operated in states across the country as the election system faced unprecedented pressure from Trump and his allies, who falsely said that the 2020 election was stolen.”

“Supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro burned buses, clashed with police and tried to force their way into the Federal Police headquarters in the capital, Brasília, on Monday night after one of their own was detained,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The UK government will imminently announce an oceans-protection package to ban single-use plastic cutlery in England,” Bloomberg reports.

“The plan — first reported by the Financial Times — extends UK bans on plastic items after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government outlawed plastic straws and stirrers in 2020.”

“A court in Turkey sentenced the mayor of Istanbul, the country’s most populous city, to two years and seven months in prison Wednesday on charges of insulting members of Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council,” the AP reports.

“The court convicted Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and also imposed a political ban that could lead to his removal from office.”

“Peru’s fragile interim government yesterday declared a 30-day national state of emergency in an attempt to quell violent protests that erupted after former president Pedro Castillo’s failed attempt last week to seize extraordinary powers,” the Financial Times reports.

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

0 comments on “Cup of Joe – December 16, 2022

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: