Cup of Joe – May 7, 2023

“Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents have obtained the confidential cooperation of a person who has worked for him at Mar-a-Lago, part of an intensifying effort to determine whether Mr. Trump ordered boxes containing sensitive material moved out of a storage room there as the government sought to recover it last year,“ the New York Times reports.

“Through a wave of new subpoenas and grand jury testimony, the Justice Department is moving aggressively to develop a fuller picture of how the documents Mr. Trump took with him from the White House were stored, who had access to them, how the security camera system at Mar-a-Lago works and what Mr. Trump told aides and his lawyers about what material he had and where it was, the people said.”

The NYT story echoes some of CNN’s reporting from the day before about investigators’ suspicions that the surveillance video at MAL was tampered with:

Prosecutors have also issued several subpoenas to Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, seeking additional surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago, his residence and private club in Florida, people with knowledge of the matter said. While the footage could shed light on the movement of the boxes, prosecutors have questioned a number of witnesses about gaps in the footage, one of the people said.

But hoping to understand why some of the footage from the storage camera appears to be missing or unavailable — and whether that was a technological issue or something else — the prosecutors subpoenaed the software company that handles all of the surveillance footage for the Trump Organization, including at Mar-a-Lago.

Like the CNN story Wednesday, the NYT connects prosecutors suspicions about the video to grand jury testimony yesterday by a father-son duo who works for Trump:

And they recently subpoenaed Matthew Calamari Sr., the longtime head of security at the Trump Organization who became its chief operating officer. His son, Matthew Calamari Jr., who is the company’s corporate director of security, was subpoenaed some time ago, according to a person familiar with the activity.

Both would have insight into the security camera operation, according to people familiar with the matter. Both Calamaris appeared before the grand jury gathering evidence in the case on Thursday. CNN first reported that prosecutors planned to question them.

“Donald Trump for months has been telling people close to him that he plans to bring back his infamous ‘Muslim ban’ if he’s reelected in 2024,” Rolling Stone reports.

“Banning Muslims from entering the United States is a longstanding obsession of Trump’s… But the former president appears to be unsatisfied with merely reinstating the ban as it existed during his presidency. More recently, Trump has privately discussed adding more countries, including Afghanistan, to the list of majority-Muslim countries whose citizens he’s seeking to ban from the United States.”

“The longest-serving Muslim mayor in New Jersey said he was stunned after he got a call Monday afternoon disinviting him from an annual Eid al-Fitr celebration at the White House while he was in his car just miles away from the event,” the Asbury Park Press reports.  “Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed Khairullah said he was informed that the Secret Service denied him security clearance and he could no longer attend the gathering of prominent Muslim leaders and President Joe Biden.”

“A group of senators is preparing to unveil a bill that would allow U.S. border agents to continue expelling migrants without court hearings even after a public health order that has authorized these expulsions during the coronavirus pandemic expires next week,” CBS News reports.

“In a statement, Republican North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis said he was planning to introduce the proposal with independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema due to a lack of confidence in the Biden administration’s plan to handle the expected rise in migration to the southern border when Title 42 lifts.”

“President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Gen. C.Q. Brown, the Air Force’s top officer and the first Black person to lead any branch of the military, to succeed Gen. Mark Milley as the next Joint Chiefs chair,” Politico reports. “If confirmed, Brown would become the second Black Joint Chiefs chair in the nation’s history, after the late Colin Powell.”

“Neera Tanden will replace Susan Rice as the head of the Domestic Policy Council,” Axios reports. “It further boosts Tanden in the Biden White House after she started the administration with a failed confirmation battle to lead the Office of Management and Budget.”

President Biden is planning to nominate former Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2022, as his ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, Axios reports.

Charlie Sykes: “No publicly traded company would consider naming Trump to an executive position, or even to a position on its board. None of his billionaire friends would trust him with their money. Even in our debased political culture, the cascade of rape allegations and indictments would force Trump’s resignation as a senator, governor, or legislator.”

“Trump would not be allowed to own an NFL, NBA, or MLB team, and no one would even think of giving him a management job at a local Burger King. It’s impossible to imagine him being given any position of authority at any school or university in the United States.”

“Hamilton thought that he had fireproofed the presidency from mountebanks and charlatans because we would seek out only the best and the brightest among us. Instead, we have apparently saved our lowest standards for the presidency.”

“Top aides to President Biden have clashed with Hunter Biden’s team over strategies for dealing with the legal battles and Republican attacks that surround the president’s son,” Axios reports.

“The tensions led Hunter — without involving the president’s top aides — to hire prominent lawyer Abbe Lowell in December, as part of a plan to take a more combative approach than the White House and Hunter’s previous lawyer had taken.”

“Hunter’s team also is moving toward creating a legal defense fund, and hiring ethics advisers for it. High-level Democrats and others are worried about the idea of the president’s son soliciting money to pay for his legal troubles.”

“President Biden, racing to upgrade the government’s artificial-intelligence expertise and role, is calling the leading architects of generative AI to Washington today to discuss guardrails for the powerful technology,” Axios reports.

“The U.S. has almost no AI-specific regulations on the books. The European Union is plowing ahead with a wide-ranging AI act.”

“President Biden is reorienting swaths of the federal government to focus on implementing the sweeping legislation he signed into law in his first two years in office and directing his senior advisers to guard against the waste and fraud that have bedeviled previous government programs,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Biden is staking his reputation—and legacy—on spending nearly $2 trillion in taxpayer money efficiently and effectively. Done well, the effort could reshape the economy and help him win a second term. Any mistakes could threaten Mr. Biden’s 2024 re-election odds amid a pledge by congressional Republicans to conduct rigorous oversight of the administration’s spending spree.”

“Republican state senators in Oregon didn’t show up to work on Wednesday, denying the Democrats who control the chamber a quorum and casting doubt on planned votes later this week on legislation pertaining to gun safety, abortion rights and gender-affirming health care,” the AP reports.

“A former Trump campaign staffer who was subpoenaed by the Department of Justice as part of its investigation into the plot to overturn the 2020 election, is currently serving on the House committee overseeing U.S. elections,” Politico reports.

“The House Administration Committee’s employment roster shows Thomas Lane is earning a $155,000 salary in his role as elections counsel. His LinkedIn page confirms his employment began a few months ago.”

Elon Musk threatened to reassign the @NPR Twitter handle “to another company,” NPR reports.

“In an email sent at 2:19 a.m. EST after the story was originally published, Musk wrote a message without any text in the body but with this subject line: ‘You suck.’”

“House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) has taken his biggest gamble yet, subpoenaing records from the FBI that he claims could show that then Vice President Joe Biden allegedly received bribes from a foreign national in exchange for policy favors,” Punchbowl News reports.

“In the bevy of investigations that Comer has launched, this one carries the most risk. The Kentucky Republican is now raising accusations of alleged criminal actions by Biden based on an anonymous whistleblower. This claim can only be backed up by an FBI document that will be difficult to obtain. Of course, if Comer can’t get the document, he can try to convince the whistleblower to testify in a hearing.”

For what it’s worth, Gerald Rivera isn’t buying it.

“British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives were facing a bleak set of local election results on Friday with voters punishing his party after a year of political scandals, surging inflation and stagnant economic growth,” Reuters reports.

“While governing parties often struggle at mid-term elections, the council results in England will be the largest, and possibly last, test of voter sentiment before the next general election which is expected to be held next year.”

David Frum: “Altogether, Britain is expected to be the worst performing of the world’s 20 biggest economies this year. The British government’s official forecaster predicts that after-inflation household incomes will decline by an average of 7.1 percent over the three years ending in spring 2024. On the present trajectory, Britain will not return to 2019 levels of disposable income until 2027. By 2024, the average British household will likely have a lower living standard than the average household in Slovenia. On present trends, the average British household will be poorer than the average in Poland by 2030.”

“The pandemic has not helped, but the slowdown of the British economy cannot be explained by Covid. Italy has suffered more deaths from Covid than any other major European country has, yet its economy had mostly recovered to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021.”

“Britain is now paying the price for its decision to leave the European Union.”

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

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