Cup of Joe – March 23, 2023

“The Manhattan grand jury that has been hearing evidence about Donald Trump’s involvement with a hush-money payment to a porn star will not meet on Wednesday, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, suggesting that any indictment of the former president would come Thursday at the earliest,” the New York Times reports.

New York Times: “Behind closed doors at Mar-a-Lago, the former president has told friends and associates that he welcomes the idea of being paraded by the authorities before a throng of reporters and news cameras. He has even mused openly about whether he should smile for the assembled media, and he has pondered how the public would react and is said to have described the potential spectacle as a fun experience.”

“No one is quite sure whether his remarks are bravado or genuine resignation about what lies ahead…”

“As he waits for a likely criminal indictment — making him the first current or former American president to face criminal charges — Mr. Trump has often appeared significantly disconnected from the severity of his potential legal woes, according to people who have spent time with him in recent days.”

Tucker Carlson pleaded with Joe Biden to stop the possible indictment of Donald Trump for the sake of America, the Daily Beast reports.

Said Carlson: “America will never be the same… You’ve got to hope that for the sake of the country, the Biden White House, which will be running against Trump, will put the country above partisanship and stop this.”

He added: “And that Merrick Garland at the DOJ will issue a very public statement saying that this is wrong—which it is—and therefore preserve for our grandchildren our justice system.”

“Communications between adult-film star Stormy Daniels and an attorney who is now representing former President Donald Trump have been turned over to the Manhattan district attorney’s office,” CNN reports.

“The exchanges – said to date back to 2018, when Daniels was seeking representation – raise the possibility that the Trump attorney, Joe Tacopina, could be sidelined from his defense of the former president in a case pertaining to Trump’s alleged role in a scheme to pay hush money to Daniels.”

“Prosecutors in the special counsel’s office have presented compelling preliminary evidence that former President Donald Trump knowingly and deliberately misled his own attorneys about his retention of classified materials after leaving office, a former top federal judge wrote Friday in a sealed filing,” ABC News reports.

“Donald Trump is fighting a federal judge’s determination that his communications with attorney Evan Corcoran — amid a grand jury probe of Trump’s handling of classified documents — likely contain evidence of a crime,” Politico reports.

“Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign issued a statement Tuesday attacking special counsel Jack Smith and the judge who issued the sealed ruling, Beryl Howell. The statement followed increasingly detailed news reports about Howell’s determination that Corcoran could be forced to testify and turn over related documents because prosecutors had shown sufficient evidence of an alleged effort to mislead investigators.”

 “A Fox News producer who has worked with the hosts Maria Bartiromo and Tucker Carlson filed lawsuits against the company in New York and Delaware on Monday, accusing Fox lawyers of coercing her into giving misleading testimony in the continuing legal battle around the network’s coverage of unfounded claims about election fraud,” the New York Times reports.

“The producer, Abby Grossberg, said Fox lawyers had tried to position her and Ms. Bartiromo to take the blame for Fox’s repeated airing of conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems and its supposed role in manipulating the results of the 2020 presidential election. Dominion has filed a $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox. Ms. Grossberg said the effort to place blame on her and Ms. Bartiromo was rooted in rampant misogyny and discrimination at the network.”

The New York Times published a new piece last night that details a lawsuit battle between a Tucker Carlson show producer and Fox News. The producer, Abby Grossberg, alleges in her complaint that Fox News’ attorneys have tried to force her and host Maria Bartiromo to shoulder the blame for the network’s repeated airing of false claims about Dominion Voting Systems and the 2020 election results — lies that will be at the center of a court hearing in the Dominion lawsuit case against Fox today. 

New York Times: “The report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations says that global average temperatures are estimated to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels sometime around ‘the first half of the 2030s,’ as humans continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas.”

New York Times: “Two criminal defendants have asked the Supreme Court to decide whether remote testimony against them violated the Sixth Amendment’s confrontation clause.”

Wall Street Journal: “A review of the websites of more than 3,500 companies, organizations and government entities by the Toronto-based company Feroot Security found that so-called tracking pixels from the ikTok parent company were present in 30 U.S. state-government websites across 27 states, including some where the app has been banned from state networks and devices.”

Matthew Yglesias: “The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank is in part a story of mismanagement and poor regulatory supervision, but it’s also in an important sense a consequence of the decision by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks to fight inflation by raising interest rates. Which in turn should put on the table the long-ignored question of why exactly interest rate hikes have become the world’s preferred anti-inflationary measure.”

“A big part of the answer is simply that raising interest rates is a thing that central banks have the legal authority to do, and there’s widespread belief that it makes sense to delegate macroeconomic stabilization to central bankers. But if you step back from that aspect of institutional design, there’s a strong argument that taxes are a superior inflation-fighting tool, one that would slow inflation in a more direct and more predictable manner. If the main problem with fiscal policy as an anti-inflationary measure is that the main inflation-fighting institution isn’t allowed to use it, then maybe optimal policy would involve adding a fiscal dimension to the Fed’s authorities.”

“After all there is something deeply perverse about raising interest rates to slow the economy only to flip around and do bailouts to prevent interest rates from slowing the economy too much.”

Rich Lowry: “If Donald Trump’s Truth Social post about his impending arrest made it feel like our politics was about to reach another level of insanity, just wait.”

“The impending Alvin Bragg prosecution offers a taste of what our national politics will be like post–November 2024 if Donald Trump wins the presidency again.”

Kevin Williamson: “It is precisely the sort of thing one would expect from a delusional bedlamite who invented an imaginary friend to lie to the New York Post about his sex life and then named his youngest son after said imaginary friend. A federal prison is not the only kind of facility one can imagine Donald Trump locked up in.”

“I don’t know whether he is mentally ill in a medical sense any more than I know whether Joe Biden is cognitively impaired in a medical sense, but I do know that, in the colloquial sense of the word crazy, he is as crazy as a sack of ferrets.”

“Nearly two weeks after a fall that left him with a concussion and a broken rib, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke on the phone with at least three of his Republican colleagues on Tuesday, expressing a desire to get back to the Capitol but not sharing an exact timeline for his return,” the Washington Post reports.

“The conversations mark the first time McConnell has spoken directly with anyone on his leadership team — apart from exchanging text messages — since his fall. McConnell had also not spoken directly with President Biden and Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), who both called shortly after the accident.”

Wall Street Journal: “Republicans have maintained they will pass a budget that aims to eliminate the deficit after 10 years. With cuts to Medicare and Social Security off the table, such a plan would require deep reductions in other parts of the federal budget. GOP members mostly expect to see a Republican budget plan at the end of April or in May.”

Texas Tribune: “Almost a year after Texas’ deadliest school shooting killed 19 children and two teachers, there is still confusion among investigators, law enforcement leaders and politicians over how nearly 400 law enforcement officers could have performed so poorly. People have blamed cowardice or poor leadership or a lack of sufficient training for why police waited more than an hour to breach the classroom and subdue an amateur 18-year-old adversary.”

“But in their own words, during and after their botched response, the officers pointed to another reason: They were unwilling to confront the rifle on the other side of the door.”

Two former CIA officials told Insider that the George W. Bush administration misrepresented intelligence to assert a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. In fact, the evidence assembled by the CIA suggested that no such connection existed.

New York Times: “Fallout from the failures has shaped a generation of politicians and policymakers. The war deeply damaged the reputation of the intelligence agencies and heightened skepticism of military leaders. It empowered politicians willing to harness that skepticism — from Nancy Pelosi, who was first elected speaker of the House in a surge of antiwar sentiment in 2007, to Donald J. Trump, who in 2015 denounced the war as ‘a tremendous disservice to humanity’ and slammed its Republican architects.”

“But the greatest legacy of the Iraq war is a desire to never do it again, there or anywhere. Two decades later, there is a growing aversion to intervening overseas, among not only Democrats but also Republicans.”

“CNN’s new chairman, Chris Licht, debuted a novel experiment last month to revive his network’s flagging prime-time ratings, betting that viewers would tune in for a mix of exclusive interviews and specials dedicated to hot-button topics like fentanyl abuse and the war in Ukraine,” the New York Times reports.  “Viewers have had other ideas.”

“Since Mr. Licht’s 9 p.m. experiment, “CNN Primetime,” began airing several times a week on Feb. 22, viewership has fallen below what the network was drawing in the time slot just a few months ago.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) criticized the U.S. military on March 17 as insufficiently “lethal,” claiming that top leaders are forcing service members to be too “woke,” the American Independent reports.  As an example, he claimed that a Navy ship tracking a Chinese vessel had had to abandon that mission because of a mandatory training program about transgender people.

New York Times: “The story of the hunt for Covid’s origin is partly about the stonewalling by China that has left scientists with incomplete evidence, all of it about a virus that is constantly changing. … But the story is also about politics and how both Democrats and Republicans have filtered the available evidence through their partisan lenses.”

“The intense political debate, now in its fourth year, has at times turned scientists into lobbyists, competing for policymakers’ time and favor.”

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

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