Cup of Joe – March 1, 2023

“Speaker Kevin McCarthy faced questions from his leadership team Monday night over his plans to publicly release security footage from January 6, 2021, – a process that he said could take some time to disseminate widely even as Fox News host Tucker Carlson has had an early glimpse,” CNN reports.

“While GOP leaders are supportive of the move to release the footage – which was one of the many concessions McCarthy made in his bid to become speaker – some lawmakers in the closed-door leadership meeting asked whether sensitive security protocols or certain evacuation routes would be exposed by taking that step.”

“House Republicans are moving to provide defendants in Jan. 6-related cases access to thousands of hours of internal Capitol security footage, a move that could influence many of the ongoing prosecutions stemming from 2021’s violent attack,” Politico reports.

Rolling Stone: “When House speaker Kevin McCarthy gave Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a leading Jan. 6 revisionist, exclusive access this month to a vast archive of unseen surveillance footage of the deadly Capitol riot, he — expectedly — pissed off the left. But the Republican lawmaker’s move didn’t just infuriate his liberal counterparts, who accused him and Fox of working to rewrite history and potentially even inviting new ‘security risks.’”

“McCarthy’s gift to Carlson immediately triggered a right-wing media feud, and drew the scorn of multiple high-profile Donald Trump allies. And it quickly led to McCarthy getting legally threatened by the former president’s favorite election-attacking pillow mogul, who’s using a pair of extremely pro-Trump lawyers — one of whom sued the Jan. 6 Committee.”

“Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the conservative media empire that owns Fox News, acknowledged in a deposition that several hosts for his networks promoted the false narrative that the election in 2020 was stolen from former President Donald Trump,” the New York Times reports.  Said Murdoch: “I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight.”

Rupert Murdoch’s own deposition in a defamation case against Fox News was absolutely devastating for his media empire.  Murdoch’s admission under oath — that he knew Fox News hosts were telling lies about non-existent election fraud in 2020 — was a gift to Dominion Voting Systems, the company that brought the lawsuit.

This exchange with a Dominion lawyer was particularly damning:

LAWYER: It is fair to say you seriously doubted any claim of massive election fraud?

MURDOCH: Oh, yes.

LAWYER: And you seriously doubted it from the very beginning?


And yet Fox News personalities — Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo and others — continued to push the idea that Donald Trump might have been denied victory because of massive election fraud.  Their own texts show they knew these claims to be false. And now we learn Murdoch himself knew it too. Murdoch’s testimony also shows that every top executive at Fox News was deeply involved in how to deal with Trump’s lies and with the hosts who were parroting those lies. But their goal was never to report the truth — it was to stop losing viewers.

As Rick Wilson eloquently summed up: “They knew Trump lost. They knew there was not then (nor is there now) a scintilla of fraud. They knew, and lied. Over, and over, and over. They chose guests they knew were lying. They allowed story meetings promoting a massive, dangerous lie that reduced faith and belief in the American system.”

The entire top level of Fox management knew their lies were leading to danger for this nation…. They knew the lies were lies. They fed and fed the beast. None of this is a surprise to anyone paying attention and possessing a high school education, but it probably is a surprise to many Fox News viewers.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a member of the  Fox Corporation  board of directors, said in a deposition that he had told Rupert Murdoch and Murdoch’s son Lachlan, the chief executive officer, that “Fox News should not be spreading conspiracy theories,” the New York Times reports. Said Ryan: “Fox was trying to navigate this dynamic between a core group of Trump loyalists who were ignoring the truth.”

Court documents show that Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch gave Donald Trump’s son-in-law advance access to Joe Biden’s campaign ads before the 2020 election — apparently showing them to him before they aired.

Rupert Murdoch and one of his top executives privately disparaged Rudy Giuliani as he pushed conspiracy theories about voter fraud in the 2020 election, Insider reports.

Said Col Allan, a former editor in chief of the New York Post: “He’s unhinged. Has been for a while. I think booze has got him.”

“Murdoch and Allan appeared to be discussing a bizarre press conference Giuliani held on November 7, 2020, at the Four Seasons garden center outside Philadelphia, which had apparently been mistakenly booked in a mixup with the Four Seasons hotel in the city.”

Donald Trump is furious with his former ally Rupert Murdoch after the media mogul made admissions that some of his Fox News hosts “endorsed” lies that the 2020 election had been “stolen,” the Daily Beast reports.

Said Trump: “Why is Rupert Murdoch throwing his anchors under the table, which also happens to be killing his case and infuriating his viewers, who will again be leaving in droves—they already are.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) claimed that she was attacked by an “insane” woman and “screamed at by her adult son” while eating at a restaurant.  She added: “People used to respect others even if they had different views. But not anymore. Our country is gone.”

This is the same woman who attacked school shooting survivors on the streets and kicked reporters frequently, not to mention hectoring the President during speechs. You get what you give, Marj.

“A bipartisan group led by Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is considering gradually raising the retirement age to about 70 as part of their legislation to overhaul Social Security,” Semafor reports.

“Other options on the table include changing the existing formula that calculates monthly benefits from one based on a worker’s average earnings over 35 years to a different formula that’s based instead on the number of years spent working and paying into Social Security.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) is set to sign a bill that will make drag performances illegal in the state, but a photo emerged showing Lee in drag during high school, the International Business Times reports.

The picture shows the governor in drag costume posing alongside three other women.

Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN) claims he’s a trained economist, but in reality, he only took one community college course on the subject—and he got a C, WTVF in Nashville reports.

Los Angeles Times: “According to the draft law introduced last week in Idaho’s House Ways and Means Committee, if lethal injection is unavailable within five days of the state issuing a death warrant or if a court finds it unconstitutional, the state can use firing squads as an alternative form of execution.”

After the foreperson of the Fulton County grand jury investigating Donald Trump and a push to overturn the 2020 election spoke out in several headline-making interviews, the judge overseeing the case told ABC News on Monday that jurors “can talk about the final report.”

But the judge said the matter can get “problematic” if jurors start to “synthesize the testimony” and the group’s thoughts on it.

“The Supreme Court is meeting Tuesday to hear two cases challenging President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan,” the AP reports.

“At stake: forgiveness of up to $20,000 in debt for more than 40 million Americans. Nearly half of those people could have their federal student debt wiped out entirely.”

“Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority seemed deeply skeptical on Tuesday of the legality of the Biden administration’s plan to wipe out more than $400 billion in student debt because of the coronavirus pandemic,” the New York Times reports.

“During the first of two arguments on the program, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. indicated that the administration had violated separation-of powers principles by acting without sufficiently explicit congressional authorization to undertake one of the most ambitious and expensive executive actions in the nation’s history.”

Washington Post: “The court’s liberal justices, meanwhile, expressed skepticism over whether the six Republican-led states that brought the first case are specifically harmed by President Biden’s debt-relief program, which they must be in order to have legal grounds to stop it.”

“Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday ordered officials to tighten control of the border with Ukraine after a spate of drone attacks that Russian authorities blamed on Kyiv delivered a new challenge to Moscow more than a year after its full-scale invasion of its neighbor,” the AP reports.

Washington Post: “Republican divisions will be on full display during hearings by the House Armed Services Committee and the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee as lawmakers interrogate Biden administration officials over the state of the war and plans for future support.”

“Republicans have generally broken into three camps on Ukraine, although two of the positions are mostly from the same people, who are trying to quell the intraparty dissent by focusing on how the money is spent and lambasting President Biden for not doing enough.”

“The Ukraine conflict is the most just war of my lifetime. Basically starting with the Vietnam War, and also including the wars that we declared in Afghanistan and in Iraq, the Ukraine war is the most just war that I’ve ever seen or felt. Truly, this war is righteous.” — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), in an interview with Semafor.

“The Biden administration is wooing former Soviet republics in Central Asia, expanding its efforts to prevent Russia from circumventing Western sanctions while providing an opportunity for those countries to ease their reliance on Moscow,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

A new Morning Consult poll finds 44% of U.S. adults said that they believed Covid-19 came from a lab in Wuhan, China, compared to just 26% who said the virus occurred naturally. The poll was conducted just days before an Energy Department report revealed it believed a lab leak sparked the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wall Street Journal editorial: “The U.S. Department of Energy has concluded that the Covid-19 virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China, doesn’t mean the case is definitive. But it is more evidence that the media and public-health groupthink about Covid was mistaken and destructive.”

President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Julie Su to be his next Labor secretary, Politico reports.

“John Kerry, the nation’s top international climate envoy, has told President Biden he will stay in his role at least through this year’s United Nations climate summit in Dubai, which begins in late November,” the Boston Globe reports.

Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) is leaving her temporary role as a senior official in the Biden administration, but she made clear Monday she intends to stay involved in public policy as she returns to Georgia, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Said Bottoms:  “It’s time for me to get back home, get back to my family and focus on the future.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee won’t vote on advancing Eric Garcetti’s stalled nomination to be U.S. ambassador to India, Punchbowl News reports.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) placed a hold on his and other nominations, saying there are still “open questions” about sexual assault allegations against one of Garcetti’s aides.

Daily Beast: “When the Federal Elections Commission rejected a recent Freedom of Information Act request related to Donald Trump’s ‘recount’ expenses after the 2020 election, the campaign watchdog had a conspicuous reason for turning down the petition: Trump’s political spending after he left the White House is currently the subject of an FEC enforcement matter.”

“President Biden is preparing to run for re-election with a relentless, aggressive focus on the economy — convinced the data cuts in his favor, even as vast swathes of the public remain skeptical that conditions have improved,” Axios reports.

“If GDP holds steady and the record unemployment stays low, Biden plans to ride a healthy economy to a second term.”

“But if the economy enters a deep recession before November 2024, the president will have spent precious political capital demanding credit when voters might be more inclined to hand out blame.”

“The Biden administration on Monday announced a wide crackdown on the labor exploitation of migrant children around the United States, including more aggressive investigations of companies benefiting from their work,” the New York Times reports.

“The development came days after The New York Times published an investigation into the explosive growth of migrant child labor throughout the United States. Children, who have been crossing the southern border without their parents in record numbers, are ending up in punishing jobs that violate child labor laws, The Times found.”

The “Gang of 8” will be briefed Tuesday on the documents with classified markings that were found at the residences and offices of former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, CBS News reports.

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

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