Cup of Joe – December 18, 2022

New York Times investigation shows how Donald Trump stored classified documents in high-traffic areas at Mar-a-Lago, where guests may have been within feet of the materials.

Bloomberg’s Zoe Tillman teases out some new information about special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation: a new DC federal grand jury handling Jan. 6 matters was impaneled on Sept. 15 for a six-month term after an earlier grand jury expired. With a six-month term, the new grand jury will be available to hear evidence until March 2023.

“The House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the National Archives on Tuesday requesting a review to determine whether former president Donald Trump has retained any additional presidential records at his storage facility in Florida,” the Washington Post reports.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) says the storage facility and other properties “may contain presidential records that were not the focus of the search and therefore have not been turned over to the federal government.”

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), incoming Republican chairman of the House Oversight Cmte, says he isn’t planning to investigate the Jan. 6 investigators, NBC News reports.

Said Comer: “We’ve got a pretty lengthy list of investigations and probes and that’s not on the list.”

“Three men were sentenced Thursday to serve a minimum of seven to 12 years in prison for providing material aid to terrorists and being members of a gang in connection with the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” the Detroit News reports.

Detroit Free Press: “The men, the prosecution said, ultimately were seeking to inspire a U.S. civil war known as the boogaloo, and even though their plans were thwarted by law enforcement, they succeeded in intimidating office holders, potential candidates, and residents.”

“Thousands of people rallied in Turkey on Thursday to oppose the conviction and political ban of Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, chanting slogans criticising President Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party before elections next year,” Reuters reports.

“The House voted on Thursday to allow Puerto Ricans to decide the political future of the territory, the first time the chamber has committed to backing a binding process that could pave the way for Puerto Rico to become the nation’s 51st state or an independent country,” the New York Times reports.

“The measure, which has the support of the White House, has little chance of becoming law in the short term. It is all but certain to fall short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster in the Senate, where most Republicans are opposed, and there is little time left under this Congress before the G.O.P. takes control of the House in early January, likely burying the effort for at least the next Congress.”

“But the bipartisan vote — the bill passed 233 to 191 — was a symbolic statement by the House that Puerto Rico’s status as a colonial territory was both untenable and unwanted by many of its voters.”

“Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has a simple message for Republican investigators lining up to grill him on climate change and electric vehicles: Bring it on,” Axios reports.

“The anticipated GOP hearings next year will give the former South Bend mayor the very thing he needs — attention — to raise his profile in a crowded Democratic field in 2024 if President Biden decides not to run.”

“Buttigieg is the rare Democrat who not only agrees to appear on conservative media like Fox News, but actually seems to enjoy it. The hearings will give him another platform he’s eager to use.”

An Idaho woman who is miscarrying — but has been denied an abortion because of state law — has been documenting herself getting sicker.  It’s very distressing to watch.

Washington Post: “Antiabortion advocates had hoped the June decision would significantly decrease the number of abortions in the United States. But abortion rights activists have ramped up efforts to funnel abortion pills — a two-step regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol — into states with strict new bans, working with rapidly expanding international suppliers as well as U.S.-based distributors to meet demand.”

“Now many conservatives are complaining that the abortion bans are not being sufficiently enforced, even though much of the illegal activity is happening in plain sight, as abortion rights advocates seek to reach women in need. Leaders interviewed on both sides of the debate had not heard of any examples of people charged for violating abortion bans since Roe fell, a crime punishable by at least several years in prison across much of the South and Midwest.”

Politico: “Though their target list is still under discussion, Democrats in the upper chamber have made clear that they intend to use their investigative authority — newly acquired thanks to their functional 51st Senate seat — as a counterpoint to House GOP probes of Hunter Biden’s business dealings and the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

“They’re also mulling picking up the baton from House Democrats on two fights: scrutinizing the oil industry’s culpability for climate change and obtaining former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, according to senators.”

Former Rep. Joe Kennedy III, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, is the clear favorite to become the new U.S. Envoy to Northern Ireland, Irish Central reports.  The Irish Times says a decision on a replacement is close.

Politico: “The revival of one of the government’s most popular and widely used pandemic programs comes as the administration prepares for another potential winter surge.”

The NCAA has chosen Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) as its next president, The Athletic reports.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) “can’t stay out of legal trouble, but this time it’s his own lawyers suing him,” the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

“Cawthorn hired The Bopp Law Firm in Indiana to represent him. Now, the law firm is accusing Cawthorn of breach of contract for failing to pay $193,297. That total does not include the 1.5% interest rate being added monthly since January or fees due for the expense of trying to collect overdue payments.”

Georgia state Rep.-elect Daniel Rampey (R) was arrested Thursday after authorities said he burglarized a residence where he works, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.

Said Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith: “We had a couple of instances of him on video taking the items and today we had one as well. We actually filmed him going into the residence and taking the items.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) “laid out his proposed changes the two-year state budget Thursday, asking lawmakers to enact another $1 billion in tax relief, including a corporate tax rate cut,” the AP reports.

“A veteran Georgia Republican operative who is slated to be chief of staff for incoming Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA) was arrested last month for allegedly kicking a dog,” Politico reports.

“Employees at the Texas Department of Public Safety in June received a sweeping request from Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office: to compile a list of individuals who had changed their gender on their Texas driver’s license and other department records during the past two years,” the Washington Post reports.

The U.S. National Archives released a new trove of files related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. President Biden authorized more than 70% of the roughly 16,000 remaining files on JFK’s death to “now be released in full.”

“A Florida pastor and his son were arrested Wednesday on charges of fraudulently obtaining more than $8 million in federal Covid relief funds and attempting to use some of the money to buy a luxury home near Walt Disney World,” NBC News reports.

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

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