Cup of Joe – May 13, 2023

The Congressional Budget Office on Friday said that tax revenues and emergency measures after June 15 “will probably allow the government to continue financing operations through at least the end of July,” CNBC reports.

“The updated guidance otherwise reiterated the CBO’s earlier uncertainty about the debt ceiling during the first few weeks of June. Even though mid-June tax revenues could ease pressure on the Treasury through July, there’s still the risk of default in the first few weeks of June.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen downplayed the possibility that President Biden could essentially ignore the debt limit by invoking the 14th Amendment, calling the idea “legally questionable,” the New York Times reports.

Politico: “Key GOP lawmakers are signaling they want border policies in the mix as congressional leadership and the White House try to negotiate a debt ceiling deal, the day after Republicans passed a sweeping border and immigration bill.”

“It was a GOP wishlist that included restarting construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and placing new restrictions on asylum seekers.”

“Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) spoke by phone with President Joe Biden on Sunday night ahead of the debt limit negotiations this past Tuesday,” NBC News reports. “The conversation was initiated by McCarthy in hopes of improving the prospects of a deal.”

“A meeting planned for Friday between President Biden and top congressional leaders on the debt ceiling has been postponed until next week,” the Washington Post reports. “It was not immediately clear who had postponed the meeting or why, and accounts differed on the postponement’s significance.”

Punchbowl News: “The Biden administration’s negotiators and top leadership aides, who met for two hours on both Wednesday and Thursday, simply haven’t made enough progress to kick a menu of policy options up to the principal level.”

“It’s not that the staff-level negotiators — who we’ll list below — haven’t gotten anywhere. They’ve taken some modest steps in the right direction.”

“But several participants in the negotiations put it this way to us last night: If they were at this stage in the talks in February, everyone would be bullish that a deal is possible. However, as it’s only 20 days to a potentially catastrophic default for the U.S. government, they’re truly behind the eight ball.”

“Donald Trump was ordered Thursday to appear by video at a May 23 hearing in his Manhattan criminal case after a judge this week set rules barring him from using evidence in the case to attack witnesses,” the AP reports.

“Judge Juan Manuel Merchan scheduled the hybrid hearing — the former president on a TV screen, his lawyers and prosecutors in court — to go over the restrictions with Trump and to make clear that he risks being held in contempt if he violates them.”

“Merchan agreed to instruct Trump on the rules by video, rather than in person, after a prosecutor reminded him last week that bringing Trump to court would present mammoth security and logistical challenges.”

“The Justice Department said Thursday that it will ask a U.S. appeals court to stop former president Donald Trump from being questioned under oath on May 24 by attorneys for two former senior FBI employees who have alleged that they were targeted for retribution after the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” the Washington Post reports.

“Donald Trump’s comments Wednesday night about his handling of classified documents appeared to contradict statements by his lawyers, and provide potentially important evidence for federal prosecutors investigating whether to charge him with a crime,” NBC News reports.

Said former U.S. attorney John Fishwick: “Trump’s comments hurt him, and what he said is significant. Not only do they contradict his legal position, he admits to possession and knowledge of classified documents that he is taking from the White House. Jack Smith will make good use of last night’s town hall and it will help him button up his case.”

Newly released audio shows Rep. George Santos (R-NY) asking a documentarian for money to appear in a documentary project about him.

Paul Rosenzweig: “The charges against Santos, like those against Bannon, are a template for potential charges involving the Trump campaign. While personal profit is a robust motivation, so is maintaining the narcissistic fiction of a stolen election. Whatever the motivation, it is a crime to lie to those from whom you solicit money.”

“Bannon was pardoned by Trump for that crime. Santos faces criminal charges. Both are Trumpian fraudsters on a smaller scale. And so, perhaps, the Santos case is a trial run for these types of allegations. If so, Trump may yet face fraud charges as well.”

“House Republicans passed a symbolic bill Thursday that would clamp down on unemployment insurance fraud,” the HuffPost reports.  “And one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. George Santos (R-NY), demonstrated the need for the legislation by getting indicted for unemployment insurance fraud this week.”

Rep. George Santos (R-NY) “signed a deal with Brazilian prosecutors Thursday in which the New York Republican confessed to theft and agreed to pay restitution and fines if prosecutors agree to drop the criminal case against him, bringing a likely resolution in a case that has tailed the embattled politician for more than a decade,” the Washington Post reports.

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) returned to her post on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday and greenlit the passage of three judicial nominees that had been stalled during her lengthy health-related absence,” The Hill reports.

“Feinstein appeared roughly 90 minutes into the meeting to an ovation from senators and staff, and the nomination votes were held shortly after, putting the nominees on track for votes on the Senate floor in the coming weeks.”

“The Supreme Court on Thursday narrowed the scope of a federal anticorruption law by ruling in favor of an ex-aide to former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who was convicted of taking a bribe from a real estate developer,” the NBC News reports.

“The court in a 9-0 vote threw out Joseph Percoco’s conviction for accepting the $35,000 payment when managing Cuomo’s re-election campaign in 2014.”

“The court ruled that his conduct was not covered by the federal law that requires that ‘honest services’ be provided to the public. Percoco was not working for the government at the time, so he had no duty to provide honest services.”

“Donald Trump is appealing the $5 million judgment awarded by the Manhattan federal jury that found he sexually abused and defamed former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll,” CNN reports.

E. Jean Carroll is weighing whether to file a new defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump in the wake of his diatribe against her during a CNN town hall Wednesday night, when he said her claim of a decades-old sexual assault was “fake” and a “made-up story,” the New York Times reports.

“CNN’s town hall with Donald Trump beat the cable news competition, as expected, with an average of 3.12 million viewers,” Deadline reports.

“Fox News averaged 1.41 million viewers in the 8 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. ET time frame, while MSNBC posted 1.37 million.”

Brian Stelter: “The event outrated Fox and MSNBC, as expected, but these are not 2015/16 level numbers for Trump — not even close.”

Tara Palmeri spoke to  GOP consultant Matthew Bartlett, who attended Donald Trump’s town hall event in New Hampshire: “There were plenty of people in that room that were ardent supporters of President Trump, and no matter what he said, they were ready to jump out of their seats and applaud. But there were also people that sat there quietly disgusted or bewildered. In a TV setting, you hear the applause, but you don’t see the disgust. So Trump did not have the entire room on his side, make no mistake, even if it certainly came across that way on TV.

When I turned on my phone after the event, the text messages came flying in. You saw the coverage afterwards. People thought it was more of a rally than a town hall—maybe at one point even a debate between Kaitlan Collins and Donald Trump. But in that room, I remember walking out and people in the front row were like, He’s talking some crazy stuff, and I think a lot of these lawsuits are adding up. There was heavy skepticism. He kind of lost the audience at some point when he was rambling about January 6th and the back and forth around the tweets. And then there were some people that were like, This is vintage Trump. I’m so happy to see him stick it to CNN right in their face. So it was a mix.

Unfortunately, I think that when people hear applause on TV, they just assume that the entire room was on his side, but that just wasn’t the case…”

New York Times: “In little over an hour, Donald Trump suggested the United States should default on its debts for the first time in history, injected doubt over the country’s commitment to defending Ukraine from Russia’s invasion, dangled pardons for most of the Capitol rioters convicted of crimes, and refused to say he would abide by the results of the next presidential election.”

“The second-term vision Mr. Trump sketched out at a CNN town-hall event on Wednesday would represent a sharp departure from core American values that have been at the bedrock of the nation for decades: its creditworthiness, its credibility with international allies and its adherence to the rule of law at home…”

“The televised event crystallized that the version of Mr. Trump who could return to office in 2025 — vowing to be a vehicle of ‘retribution’ — is likely to govern as he did in 2020.”

“CNN’s prime-time broadcast of a raucous town hall with Donald Trump propelled a tsunami of criticism from inside and outside the network Thursday — and renewed questions about how the news media will handle the challenge of covering the serial falsehoods of the Republican Party’s leading candidate going into the 2024 election,” the Washington Post reports.

“At a time when CNN has been struggling to turn around viewership decline, the telecast proved to be a ratings disappointment, with Nielsen reporting just 3.1 million viewers overall. That was a big boost over CNN’s typical 8 p.m. telecast, but a smaller audience than CNN’s town hall with President Biden last summer (3.7 million) and six previous Trump town halls carried by Fox News — calling into question both CNN and Trump’s drawing power.”

Peggy Noonan: “Well, that was a disaster, a politically historic one. It situated Donald Trump as the central figure of the 2024 presidential cycle, certainly more compelling than the incumbent or the other competitors. It will have an impact on the campaign’s trajectory.”

“When it was over I thought, of CNN: Once again they’ve made Trump real.”

Alabama lawmakers have introduced a bill to allow women who obtain abortions to be prosecuted for murder, reports.

A Texas man was arrested for fatally shooting his girlfriend for traveling to Colorado to get an abortion, the Dallas Morning News reports.

“Republican lawmakers in Louisiana rejected legislation Wednesday that would add exceptions in cases of rape and incest to one of the strictest abortion bans in the country,” the AP reports.

“The U.S. Abrams tanks needed for training Ukrainian forces have arrived in Germany slightly ahead of schedule and are on their way to the Grafenwoehr Army base where the training will begin in two to three weeks,” the AP reports.

“Egypt has ignored U.S. requests to close its airspace to Russian military flights, Americanand Egyptian officials said, testing the limits of Washington’s ability to choke off Moscow’s supplies ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The U.S. and Ukraine persuaded countries including Turkey, Jordan and Iraq to cut access for at least some Russian military planes last year after the invasion of Ukraine, forcing Moscow’s aircraft to fly 2,000 extra miles and up to five hours further to reach strategic bases in Syria.”

“Russian authorities will launch construction of a village outside Moscow for conservative-minded Americans and Canadians next year,” the Moscow Times reports.

“A Texas state district judge on Wednesday sentenced Daniel Perry to 25 years in prison for shooting to death a man protesting police brutality,” the Texas Tribune reports. “Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged to pardon the former U.S. Army sergeant for the crime.”

“A federal judge in Virginia on Wednesday declared unconstitutional a set of federal laws and regulations that prohibit federally licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to 18- to 20-year olds, finding the measures violated the Second Amendment,” the Washington Post reports.

“Although 18- to 20-year-olds previously could buy handguns in private sales — or have a parent purchase a weapon for them — the decision Wednesday, if left unchallenged, would dismantle a legal framework that for decades has prevented licensed dealers from selling handguns ‘to teenagers.’”

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the country’s number two diplomat, is retiring, Reuters reports.  New York Times: “Ms. Sherman, 73, has been a fixture in foreign policy circles in Washington and capitals worldwide as the go-to diplomat for tough negotiations with U.S. rivals and adversaries: Iran, North Korea, Russia and, mostly recently, China.”

“Along the way, Ms. Sherman became a role model for women in foreign policy institutions.”

“An ex-prosecutor who once oversaw Manhattan’s yearslong investigation of former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined to substantively answer questions at a closed-door deposition Friday of the House Judiciary Committee,” the AP reports.  “Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) exited the meeting after roughly one hour and said Mark Pomerantz, the former prosecutor, repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment that protects people from providing self-incriminating testimony.”

“During his ill-fated run for U.S. Senate last year, Herschel Walker repeatedly declined to answer even simple questions about his policy stances, his background and how he would vote if elected,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.  “He appears to be taking a similar strategy as a defeated candidate as he faces new questions about his campaign finances.”

“Walker and his wife have declined to answer repeated questions from the AJC about accusations that he directed more than half a million dollars in campaign donations to one of his own businesses.”

“President Joe Biden’s pick for chief economist, Jared Bernstein, is one step closer to Senate confirmation to a post that will be key to White House efforts to steer the economy away from recession,” Politico reports.

“House Democrats and Republicans will hold a dinner at the Capitol next week with Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, which developed the popular artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT,” NBC News reports.

“A broadcast reporter pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge filed after he made a prank phone call using South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s personal cell phone number,” the AP reports.

“I look at a White nationalist as a Trump Republican. That’s what we’re called all the time, a MAGA person, that’s what I’m just that. Well, I agree that we should not be characterizing Trump supporters as White nationalists.” — Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), trying and failing on CNN to clarify his recent comments on white nationalists.

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

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