Cup of Joe – March 22, 2023

Bloomberg News has a few other logistical details on former President Trump’s potential arrest: “While Trump will get fingerprinted and have his mug-shot taken, he won’t be marched before cameras in handcuffs or placed in a holding cell, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. He’ll likely remain in the custody of the Secret Service agents assigned to his protection detail, the person said.

If the Manhattan grand jury votes to indict Trump, the indictment would remain under seal until it is formally presented to the court, the person said. Bragg’s office could announce it at a news conference if he gets the court’s permission to make it public, the person said. 

Law-enforcement authorities would likely call Trump’s lawyer as a courtesy, asking him to surrender to detectives working with Bragg at his lower Manhattan offices, which are in the same building as Merchan’s courtroom, the person said.”

“Republicans on Monday braced for the impact of the impending indictment of former President Donald Trump, with his allies on Capitol Hill flexing their investigative powers to target the prosecutor pursuing Mr. Trump while the leading rival for the 2024 G.O.P. presidential nomination, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, took his first swipe at Mr. Trump’s personal conduct,” the New York Times reports.

“Fulton County prosecutors leading the criminal investigation into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia are now looking to question one of Trump’s attorneys as part of the probe,” ABC News reports.

“Law enforcement officials said Monday they were preparing for possible unrest related to the potential indictment of former president Donald Trump, who could face criminal charges in Manhattan as soon as this week,” the Washington Post reports.

“In places including New York, Atlanta and Palm Beach, Fla., authorities reviewed their options to respond to demonstrations after Trump over the weekend called for protests to oppose what he called his looming arrest. Trump’s language echoed his rhetoric before his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.”

A law enforcement source told Fox News Monday “that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and different branches of law enforcement discussed the logistics of closing down streets and putting lights up with generators, extra barriers, and extra police.”

“The source said law enforcement does not expect the former president to be arraigned until next week as the Manhattan grand jury – which has been meeting secretly to hear evidence for weeks – has another witness on Wednesday.”

Associated Press: “The next steps in a grand jury process shrouded in secrecy remained unclear, and it was uncertain if additional witnesses might be summoned.”

“Donald Trump asked his followers to sign a petition denouncing his potential arrest in New York,” Insider reports. “But signing this petition leads people straight to a page where they’re asked to give $3,300 or other suggested amounts of cash to his 2024 campaign.”

Playbook: “The return of the hush money caper to the white-hot center of American politics has a lot of people scratching their heads and puzzling over some basic questions: Of all the Trump scandals, why is this the one that’s going to get him arrested? Didn’t authorities already rule out any culpability for Trump in that case? And isn’t Bragg’s legal theory hopelessly flawed?”

“To understand how one of the OG Trump scandals returned from the dead to ensnare Trump seven years after Daniels got her $130,000, we need to review the case’s complicated history.”

Tom Nichols: “Donald Trump threatened to summon a mob—for the second time in two years—to his defense…. The last time he rallied his faithful supporters this way, they stormed the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in death and destruction and many, many prison sentences.”

“Trump himself upped the ante by saying, in effect, that it doesn’t matter what’s in the indictment. Instead, he is warning all of us, point-blank, that he will violate the law if he wants to, and if you don’t like it, you can take it up with the mob that he can summon at will. This is pure authoritarianism, the flex of a would-be American caudillo who is betting that our fear of his goons is greater than our commitment to the rule of law. Once someone like Trump issues that kind of challenge, it doesn’t matter if the indictment is for murder, campaign-finance violations, or mopery with intent to gawk: The issue is whether our legal institutions can be bullied into paralysis.”

 “Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Monday moved to quash the final report of the special purpose grand jury that is recommending indictments for those who meddled with Georgia’s 2020 presidential election,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

An online prayer session organized by a pro-trump Christian group ran into technical difficulties, causing Donald Trump, who was the guest of honor on the call, immediately blamed it on the “radical left,” Insider reports.

Punchbowl News: “The extent to which House Republicans are backing Trump has been necksnapping. Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s conference has been the base of Trump’s support among elected officials. And now they are using the powers afforded to them as the majority to back the former president.”

Politico: House “Republicans are embracing a familiar role: Acting as a defensive line against former President Trump’s perceived political enemies.”

“President Biden issued the first veto of his presidency on Monday, turning back a Republican effort to bar investment managers from incorporating climate and social considerations into their decisions,” the New York Times reports.

“The rule that the president vowed to protect is an obscure investing principle known as E.S.G. — shorthand for prioritizing environmental, social and governance factors. It had been a widely accepted norm in financial circles for almost 20 years until Republicans recently started assailing it as “woke capitalism” that injected Democratic and liberal values into financial decisions. More than $18 trillion is held in investment funds that follow E.S.G. principles.”

“The veto came amid a flurry of other presidential signings — including one that put Mr. Biden at odds with the left wing of his party — that illustrated how the president was positioning himself as a centrist in an era of divided government with an election year approaching.”

Alexander Burns: “For all his unusual strengths, Trump is defined these days more by his weaknesses — personal and political deficiencies that have grown with time and now figure to undermine any attempt to exploit the criminal case against him.”

“His base of support is too small, his political imagination too depleted and his instinct for self-absorption too overwhelming for him to marshal a broad, lasting backlash. His determination to look inward and backward has been a problem for his campaign even without the indictment. It will be a bigger one if and when he’s indicted.”

Heather Cox Richardson: “As a number of people have pointed out, Trump rallied his supporters in late 2020 around the idea that a key election had been stolen. His supporters are likely to find the idea that he must be protected over financial crimes committed in New York, possibly related to a sexual encounter with an adult film actress, less compelling.”

“And then there is the issue that those who turned out to support him in January 2021 found themselves on the hook for crimes, all on their own, without his help. Just today, a jury found four more people affiliated with the Oath Keepers guilty of conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an official from doing their duty, destruction of government property, and civil disorder. The jury found two others guilty of entering and remaining on restricted grounds. Meanwhile, Trump spent the day “truthing” on social media.”

“So, if Trump’s influence is waning and he is perhaps facing indictments—remember, there are a number of investigations outstanding, and for all that Trump is talking about an indictment about his hush-money payment, we do not know what any of them will turn up—what direction should Republicans who signed on with Trump now jump?”

Associated Press: “No elected Republican has done more to restrict abortion rights in the U.S. than Donald Trump. But in the early days of the 2024 presidential contest, no Republican has worked harder to avoid the issue than the former president.”

Politico: “The banking turmoil is sparking not only external scrutiny but also internal soul-searching at the Fed, raising fundamental questions about the central bank’s effectiveness at supervising the industry, whether the sweeping post-crisis laws and regulations were even sufficient, and if their partial rollback in 2018 undermined the ability of regulators to stop the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and other lenders.”

Bloomberg: “Ten days before Signature Bank collapsed, the House Republican overseeing an inquiry into the bank’s failure was inside its boardroom on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Patrick McHenry was there to raise thousands of dollars from bank executives.”

Insider: “On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee will announce whether or not it will raise interest rates once again as part of its ongoing fight against skyrocketing inflation. It comes after weeks of chaos in the banking industry — federal regulators shut down Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) last Friday and announced a bailout for the bank’s depositors 48 hours later.”

New York Times on Why People Are Worried About Banks: “At the end of last year U.S. banks were facing more than $600 billion of unrealized losses because of rising rates, federal regulators estimated.

Those losses had the potential to chew through more than one-third of banks’ so-called capital buffers, which are meant to protect depositors from losses, according to Fitch Ratings. The thinner a bank’s capital buffers, the greater its customers’ risk of losing money and the more likely investors and customers are to flee.

But the $600 billion figure, which accounted for a limited set of a bank’s assets, might understate the severity of the industry’s potential losses. This week alone, two separate groups of academics released papers estimating that banks were facing at least $1.7 trillion in potential losses.

“Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain has mothballed his predecessors’ projects, large and small, from Liz Truss’s trickle-down tax cuts to Boris Johnson’s revamped royal yacht. But one of Mr. Sunak’s most symbolic changes since taking over as prime minister five months ago has received less attention: retiring the slogan ‘Global Britain,’” the New York Times reports.

“No longer does the phrase, a swashbuckling relic of Britain’s debate over its post-Brexit role, feature in speeches by cabinet ministers or in the government’s updated military and foreign policy blueprint that it released last Monday.”

“In its place, Mr. Sunak has hashed out workmanlike deals on trade and immigration with Britain’s nearest neighbors — France and the rest of the European Union. In the process, analysts and diplomats said, he has begun, for the first time since Britain’s departure from the European Union, to chart a realistic role on the global stage.”

 “A formerly well-connected Republican donor, accused of plying petite, vulnerable teenage girls with cash, liquor and gifts, goes on trial Tuesday on federal charges of sex trafficking minors,” the AP reports.

“Anton ‘Tony’ Lazzaro is charged with seven counts involving “commercial sex acts” with five minors ages 15 and 16 in 2020, when he was 30 years old. His indictment touched off a political firestorm that led to the downfall of Jennifer Carnahan as chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota.”

“When TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies before Congress on Thursday, he plans to unveil new internal data that suggests the popular video-sharing app is far more enmeshed in Americans’ daily lives than anyone realizes,” NBC News reports.

“TikTok currently says about 100 million people in the U.S. are regular users of the app. But when Chew testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, he will say that number has now reached 150 million.”

 “The Biden administration is accelerating its efforts to pursue trade agreements that bypass Congress as it seeks to counter China, but the moves have sparked a fight with lawmakers that threatens to upend the president’s trade strategy at a critical point of rising global competition,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Tensions have boiled over in recent days amid the administration’s push to forge a free-trade deal on critical minerals to resolve a dispute with the European Union over electric-vehicle subsidies, the latest in a string of such pacts that skirt congressional approval.”

 “The turmoil at Sarasota Memorial, one of Florida’s largest public hospitals, began last year after three candidates running on a platform of ‘health freedom’ won seats on the nine-member board that oversees the hospital. Board meetings, once sleepy, started drawing hundreds of angry people who, like the new members, denounced the hospital’s treatment protocols for Covid-19,” the New York Times reports.

“An internal review last month found that Sarasota Memorial did far better than some of its competitors in saving Covid patients’ lives. But that did little to quell detractors, whose campaign against the hospital has not relented. By then, the hospital had become the latest public institution under siege by an increasingly large and vocal right-wing contingent in one of Florida’s most affluent counties, where a backlash to pandemic policies has started reshaping local government.”

Read the Chicago Tribune’s new deep-dive into the constitutional sheriffs movement as a group of Illinois sheriffs refuse to follow or enforce the state’s new assault weapons ban.

Politico: “The last time all 100 senators were on the floor voting together was more than seven months ago. And it’s starting to take a toll on both parties.”

Saudi Arabia on Monday freed a 72-year-old American citizen it had imprisoned for more than a year over old tweets critical of the kingdom’s crown prince, the AP reports.

 “A rare and often deadly fungus is spreading rapidly across the U.S., federal researchers said, raising pressure to find new treatments for severe fungal disease,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) “will introduce a bill that would withdraw normal trade relations treatment on products made in China — a move that could significantly alter the U.S. and China’s complex economic relationship,” Politico reports.

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

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