Cup of Joe – January 24, 2023

President Biden “had hoped to put the mishandling of sensitive government files behind him. Instead, the emergence of another batch of classified material now has his own party upset at him,” Bloomberg reports.

“Rather than close ranks, Democratic allies responded with exasperation and growing concern to news over the weekend that FBI agents had recovered more secret documents from Biden’s home in Delaware. It’s the second such discovery since his lawyers declared the search had concluded.”

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Biden should be “embarrassed by the situation.”

“President Biden’s lawyers told the Justice Department in November that they had no reason to believe that copies of official records from his vice presidency had ended up anywhere beyond a think tank in Washington, where several classified documents had been found that month,” the New York Times reports.

“That assertion, the people said, was based on interviews with former officials who had been involved in the process of packing and shipping such material.”

Marcy Wheeler: “There are still key parts of Biden’s story that aren’t being explained, most importantly whether the documents discovered this month inside Biden’s house were discovered in storage or in an actively-used office. If DOJ knows that the difference between the two would be critical information for the public to know, then this story would only further degrade confidence in Biden’s lawyer on the part of DOJ.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the Associated Press that demands by House Republicans for spending cuts in return for backing an increase in the debt limit are “a very irresponsible thing to do” and risk creating a “self-imposed calamity” for the global economy.

“Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the Federal Reserve likely wouldn’t accept a $1 trillion platinum coin if the Biden administration tried to mint one to avoid breaching the debt limit, dismissing an idea that has been floated to circumvent Congress on the issue,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Some Biden administration officials and Democrats on Capitol Hill have discussed the possibility that the Treasury could use an obscure law authorizing platinum coins in the event of a potential default. Under the proposed scheme, the Treasury would mint a $1 trillion coin and deposit it at the Fed, and then draw the money to pay the country’s bills.”

Chuck Todd’s interview yesterday with Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) highlighted why the White House is pushing Republicans to outline the spending cuts they want in return for lifting the statutory debt limit.

TODD: Let me ask you this: Do you have one thing you’re ready to put on the table as a spending cut that you think both parties can accept?

MACE: Well I think – Well, obviously no cuts to Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security. That’s a nonstarter for either side. But otherwise, it’s up to — I would lean on the agency heads. Whether it’s one penny or five pennies, the Penny Plan does it with $0.05 on the dollar in five years.

But we can find some way to negotiate. And I believe we should go to the agency heads and say, “Where can you find cuts? Where can we do this?” and do it over the next decade. That’s a very responsible measure that we should all be discussing.

She couldn’t name a single spending cut.

The White House is betting House GOP leaders won’t either.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said she thinks abortion is the reason why Republicans did not pick up a larger majority in the House, urging lawmakers to find middle ground on the issue, The Hill reports.

Said Mace: “It’s the reason we didn’t get more of a majority. We should have had a dozen or two dozen seat majority this legislative session but we don’t because this is one of the issues that was top of mind for swing voters.”

Jeff Zients, who lead the Biden administration’s COVID response, has very little political experience. “His selection suggests that the president could lean on Mr. Zients to help run the government while other advisers focus on the politics of winning a second term,” the NYT notes.

“President Joe Biden persuaded Democrats in Congress to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change. Now comes another formidable task: enticing Americans to buy millions of electric cars, heat pumps, solar panels and more efficient appliances,” the AP reports.

“It’s a public relations challenge that could determine whether the country meets Biden’s ambitious goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.”

Washington Post: How Biden can meet his 100% clean electricity goal.

“A small Kansas town is reeling after a baby-faced 23-year-old manipulated procedural technicalities to reinstall himself as mayor in one night, seemingly taking a page from the playbook used by former President Donald Trump after he was voted out of office,” the Wichita Eagle reports.

“Only, this time, it worked.”

Dion Lefler: “To say this has been a tumultuous 18 hours or so is a gross understatement. Here’s how it went down.”

“Nearly a year after Russia’s invasion, the Ukraine crisis has permanently reshaped the global energy system and brought severe economic pain,” Axios reports.

“The worst-case scenarios haven’t come to pass, thanks to a mix of EU policies, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s miscalculations and pure luck. But the impact is apparent on every facet of the market, from natural gas to oil to low-carbon energy.”

“Germany’s foreign minister said on Sunday her government would not stand in the way if Poland wants to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, in a possible breakthrough for Kyiv which wants the tanks for its fight against Russia’s invasion,” Reuters reports.

The speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament, State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, said that governments giving more powerful weapons to Ukraine could cause a “global tragedy that would destroy their countries,” the AP reports.

Said Volodin: “Supplies of offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime would lead to a global catastrophe. If Washington and NATO supply weapons that would be used for striking peaceful cities and making attempts to seize our territory as they threaten to do, it would trigger a retaliation with more powerful weapons.”

“A former high-level FBI official has been indicted on charges that he conspired to violate U.S. sanctions on Russia by taking secret payments from a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, in return for investigating a rival oligarch,” the New York Times reports.

“The former official, Charles McGonigal, who had been the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division in New York before he retired in 2018, had supervised and participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Mr. Deripaska, the government said.”

“A jury on Monday convicted four members of the extremist group the Oath Keepers of seditious conspiracy,” NBC News reports.

“Prosecutors said the four defendants — Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo — used a ‘perverted version of American history’ to justify their actions on Jan. 6, 2021.”

Richard “Bigo” Barnett — the self-described “fucking idiot” who was photographed with his feet up on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk during the January 6 Capitol riot — was found guilty on all counts, CBS News reports.

It took the jury barely two hours to come to a decision.

The trial of the Proud Boys members, including leader Enrique Tarrio, continues  today in Washington, D.C.

Salt Lake City: A man identifying as a the founder of the local Proud Boy chapter was reportedly armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a 9mm handgun during a protest at an all-ages drag show Friday night.

San Diego: A YMCA closed Saturday in anticipation of protests over it allowing transgender residents access to locker rooms. “Around a half-dozen men wore hats and shirts representing the Proud Boys” during the protest, the local newspaper reported.  

“Days after he won his gavel in a protracted fight with hard-right Republicans, Speaker Kevin McCarthy gushed to a friend about the ironclad bond he had developed with an unlikely ally in his battle for political survival, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia,” the New York Times reports.

Said McCarthy: “I will never leave that woman. I will always take care of her.”

“Such a declaration from Mr. McCarthy would have been unthinkable in 2021, when Ms. Greene first arrived on Capitol Hill in a swirl of controversy and provocation. A former QAnon follower who had routinely trafficked in conspiratorial, violent and bigoted statements, Ms. Greene was then widely seen as a dangerous liability to the party and a threat to the man who aspired to lead Republicans back to the majority — a person to be controlled and kept in check, not embraced.”

“But in the time since, a powerful alliance developed between Ms. Greene, the far-right rabble-rouser and acolyte of former President Donald Trump, and Mr. McCarthy, the affable fixture of the Washington establishment.”

“If he sticks to it, will easily vindicate me and prove I moved the conference to the right during my first two years when I served in the minority with no committees.” — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), quoted by the New York Times, on promises made by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to become speaker.

“Look, this is 2018. I will tell you she has matured. I think she realizes she doesn’t know everything, and she wants to learn and become I think more of a team player. I think it’s incumbent upon more senior members to try to — she’s a member of Congress — bring her in and try to educate her that these theories that she has are not accurate.” — Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), on ABC News, when asked if Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) belongs on the Homeland Security and Oversight Committees, given her history of conspiratorial beliefs.

Politico: “Republicans are confronting a strategic dilemma as they prepare to unleash their new investigative powers on the Biden White House: Should they take a page from the Democrat-run Jan. 6 select committee?”

“GOP lawmakers spent the last 18 months decrying the Capitol riot panel as an illegitimate abuse of Congress’ investigative powers. House Republicans’ complaints ran the gamut, from the Jan. 6 committee’s wide-ranging use of subpoenas to its reliance on the Justice Department for criminal contempt charges against defiant witnesses to its demands that telecom companies turn over phone records.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) said his committee will zero in on Biden family finances in the “next phase” of his investigation into President Joe Biden’s classified documents and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings, the Washington Examiner reports.

Said Comer: “We’re trying to trace the money. We’ll be looking at bank statements. We’ll be looking at bank violations. That’s the next phase of our investigation because we’re trying to figure out who these anonymous sources are that are sending so much money to the Biden family schemes — the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Hunter Biden’s artwork.”

“In parts of the West Wing and Capitol Hill, they’re known as ‘The 18’ – the 18 House Republicans elected in districts where voters supported President Joe Biden over Donald Trump. His aides are putting together plans to squeeze and shame them in the hopes of peeling off a few key votes over the next two years,” CNN reports.

“To the president and House Democratic leaders, they are the path back to the majority in 2024, and maybe even to some actual governing in between. Democrats are already making plans to pressure these Republicans to break with their party – and let their Biden-supporting voters back home know about it if and when they don’t.”

Washington Post: “Republican officials in New Mexico knew that Solomon Peña, the man police accused last week of orchestrating shootings into the homes of four Albuquerque Democrats, had served nearly seven years in prison for his role in smash-and-grab thefts before he lost his bid as the GOP nominee for a state House seat.”

“They also knew that Peña was a fervent proponent of the view that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Authorities said Peña was persuaded that his own election in November had been stolen — despite being defeated by nearly 50 points — and targeted the homes of officials who refused to entertain demands that his loss be reversed.”

“After Peña’s arrest, Republican leaders condemned the attacks, which included a spray of bullets into a 10-year-old’s bedroom, and acknowledged that the former candidate’s criminal history should have been a red flag. There was far less apparent interest in a reckoning over Peña’s beliefs in widespread voter fraud, a false theory pushed relentlessly by former president Donald Trump and his supporters.”

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R) said that he is optimistic ahead of his trial on a federal racketeering charge and looks forward to telling his side of the story, the AP reports.  Said Householder: “It should be a very good six weeks for me.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) nominated Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) to the Intelligence Committee in a letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Saturday first obtained by Punchbowl News.

Axios: “McCarthy has said he will deny Schiff’s and Swalwell’s nominations to the committee, though Jeffries told McCarthy in the letter that doing so would run ‘counter to the serious and sober mission of the Intelligence Committee’ and would lay bare Republican’s ‘apparent double standard’ in designating committee assignments.”

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

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