Cup of Joe – May 19, 2023

Politico: “The shifting sentiment reflected some welcome optimism on Capitol Hill, as Washington approaches the two-week mark before the U.S. could fumble into a full-on economic disaster. Though both sides remain far apart, lawmakers from both parties acknowledged that if anyone can cut a deal in time, it’s the group of advisers now at the table.”

New York Times: “The federal government is essentially living paycheck to paycheck, making the X-date hard to pin down.”

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said the U.S. government “probably” will not default on its debts, Bloomberg reports.

“An optimistic President Joe Biden declared Wednesday that he is confident the U.S. will avoid an unprecedented and potentially catastrophic debt default, saying talks with congressional Republicans have been productive as he prepared to leave for a global summit in Japan,” the AP reports.

“President Biden left for Japan on Wednesday for a meeting of the leaders of seven major industrial democracies who get together each year to try to keep the world economy stable,” the New York Times reports.

“But as it turns out, the major potential threat to global economic stability this year is the United States.”

“When Mr. Biden lands in Hiroshima for the annual Group of 7 summit meeting on Thursday, the United States will be two weeks from a possible default that would jolt not only its own economy but those of the other countries at the table. It will fall to Mr. Biden to reassure his counterparts that he will find a way to avoid that, but they understand it is not solely in his control.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Biden’s 11th hour Quad snub a disappointment, a mess and a gift to Beijing.

“Speaker Kevin McCarthy got what he wanted out of Tuesday’s debt limit talks at the White House — the chance to go one-on-one against President Biden,” the New York Times reports.

“The speaker, who believes he has been treated dismissively by the White House and congressional Democrats, won an agreement that his representatives would now negotiate directly with Mr. Biden’s top lieutenants. The change minimized the role of the rest of the congressional leadership and put him and the president more directly in control of high-stakes discussions over averting a disastrous default.”

“Now Mr. McCarthy is playing at the highest level, like speakers of both parties before him.”

President Biden “signaled openness this morning to including new work requirements for social safety-net programs in the debt-limit compromise, bucking House Democrats who have said this is a non-starter for them,” Punchbowl News reports.

“Now, what Biden appears to be saying is that he may give Republicans a modest win on work requirements — potentially on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — satisfying their desire to take a whack at social safety-net programs. But Biden does not appear open to a large-scale rewrite of work requirements as part of this bill. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said that the debt-limit bill needs to include work-requirement language and that this is a red line for him.”

Politico: “Biden’s willingness to speak openly about support for modest measures that Democrats traditionally oppose signals that negotiations are narrowing in on specific policies and that the White House is comfortable with some concessions.”

Josh Marshall: Sen. Josh Hawley says that if he were Joe Biden he consider simply ignoring the debt limit. “Because I would just be like, ‘Listen, I’m not gonna let us default. So end of story. Y’all will do whatever you want to do.’ But I’m not necessarily giving him that advice. It’s against my interest.”

I don’t normally care what Josh Hawley says one way or another. But I’m interested in this case because I’m trying to figure out whether he just genuinely thinks this or whether this is an inadvertent expression of what I suspect a lot of congressional Republicans are thinking but can never say: namely that they wish this would end and that Joe Biden will end it for them.

“Top aides to President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) continued negotiating directly over the debt ceiling and the federal budget Wednesday, but Democrats in both chambers of Congress started pushing for unilateral options that could head off a catastrophic default without the need for talks with Republicans, a sign of growing anxiety among liberal lawmakers over the contours of a possible deal,” the Washington Post reports.

“Some Senate Democrats were circulating a letter urging Biden to prepare to invoke the 14th Amendment to resolve the debt ceiling standoff without involving Congress.”

Politico: “It still seems like the Senate is on track to go on recess this weekend, and possibly as soon as today, with a big asterisk.”

“If the chamber goes home, there’s guidance that senators need to be ready to come back to potentially vote on a debt deal. It’s all fluid, but that’s our informed guess as of this morning.”

“The National Archives has informed former president Donald Trump that it is set to hand over to special counsel Jack Smith 16 records which show Trump and his top advisers had knowledge of the correct declassification process while he was president,” CNN reports.

“The 16 presidential records, which were subpoenaed earlier this year, may provide critical evidence establishing the former president’s awareness of the declassification process, a key part of the criminal investigation into Trump’s mishandling of classified documents.”

CNN: New evidence in special counsel probe may undercut Trump’s claim documents he took were automatically declassified

JustSecurity: Trump’s Most Pivotal, Incriminating Admission on CNN

Politico: Tim Parlatore, an attorney representing former President Trump in the Mar-a-Lago investigation, has resigned in another shakeup in the tumultuous legal team.

Bloomberg: “A person familiar with the situation who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly said that several witnesses were scheduled to appear before the grand jury in the election probe into the early summer, an indication that prosecutors are still gathering evidence.”

“Ray Smith III, a lawyer who represented President Donald Trump in litigation aimed at reversing Georgia’s 2020 election results, has indicated he may be a target of Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis’ criminal probe,” Politico reports.

In a letter to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) dated May 16, five Democratic members of the House who are Jewish called for the censure of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) for his staff’s ties to notorious neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes.

The five members are Reps. Seth Magaziner (RI), Daniel Goldman (NY), Jared Moskowitz (FL), Rebecca Balint (VT), and Greg Landsman (OH).

TPM: “The Republican Jewish Coalition slammed Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) following a TPM report that detailed substantial evidence tying Gosar’s digital director, Wade Searle, to Neo-Nazi leader Nick Fuentes.”

TPM: “Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, called on Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to apologize for allowing ‘hate to seethe from his office’ following a TPM report that detailed evidence tying Gosar’s digital director, Wade Searle, to Neo-Nazi leader Nick Fuentes.

TPM’s scoop on the links between Nick Fuentes and Rep. Paul Gosar’s staff continues to reverberate:

Haaretz: Jewish House Democrats Demand House Speaker to Censure Rep. Paul Gosar

Arizona Mirror: A Paul Gosar aide is reportedly a white nationalist. Gosar has long associated with racists.

Jerusalem Post: US congressman’s staffer found to be follower of white supremacist Nick Fuentes

Haaretz: Jewish Groups Slam Rep. Gosar After Staffers Revealed as Followers of White Supremacist Fuentes

Vice: Hard-Right Republican’s Staffer Reportedly a White Nationalist Groyper

Arizona Republic: Rep. Paul Gosar blasted by Jewish groups after 2 staffers linked to white supremacist

Times Of Israel: Key aide to Republican Arizona congressman is white nationalist activist

Mediaite: ADL Calls For ‘Full Investigation’ Into GOP Rep. Paul Gosar Staffer’s Reported Links to Neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes

Arizona Republic: Rep. Paul Gosar staffer is a devotee of neo-Nazi white nationalist

The Independent: One of far-right Rep Paul Gosar’s top aides pledged his loyalty to white supremacist Nick Fuentes, report finds

The oral arguments yesterday before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the abortion pill case were a complete fiasco. TPM’s Kate Riga listened in on what passed for judicial proceedings. Not feeling enough dismay this morning? Give it a read.

“A federal appeals court on Wednesday seemed prepared to limit access to a key abortion medication first approved more than two decades ago, expressing deep skepticism that the government followed the proper process when it loosened regulations to make the pill more readily available,” the Washington Post reports.

“A panel of three judges, all of whom have previously supported other types of abortion restrictions, peppered lawyers for the government and the drug manufacturer with questions about why the Food and Drug Administration has allowed mifepristone to be prescribed by a medical professional other than a doctor and sent directly to patients by mail.”

Donald Trump took credit in a Truth Social post for the abortion bans that have resulted from the Dobbs decision, including 6-week prohibitions.

Said Trump: “I was able to kill Roe v. Wade… Without me there would be no 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, or whatever is finally agreed to. Without me the pro Life movement would have just kept losing.”

“A Midwest antiabortion group used cellphone location data to target online content to visitors of certain Planned Parenthood clinics,” the Wall Street Journal reports. 

“The campaign used a common digital-advertising technology called geofencing to extract the unique device identifiers of phones carried into Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers… It then used those device IDs to target those people on popular social-networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat with antiabortion messaging.”

“All three social networks said the ads violated their policies and said future such campaigns would be rejected.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) told CNN the Republican Party will stumble in the 2024 elections if it pushes bans on abortion.

Said Mace: “We suffered in 2022 and I do believe we’ll suffer in 2024 if we don’t have a message that shows compassion to women, both for women’s rights and the right to life. You can balance the two.”

“South Carolina House members approved a controversial bill late Wednesday that would ban most abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, after having spent the last two days in contentious debate on the legislation,” CNN reports.

“In the 11 months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Republicans have underperformed in federal, judicial, statewide and local elections across the country,” Axios reports.

“Abortion isn’t the only factor driving their election woes, especially in local races. But a toxic party brand can easily trickle down-ballot, and the GOP so far hasn’t been able to navigate the voter backlash that began with a New York special election last August.”

Aaron Blake: “Democrats have overperformed the 2020 presidential results by an average of six points across 18 state legislative races this year. (And again, that was a good election for them.) They’ve also beaten their 2016 margins by an average of 10 points.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis “signed four bills into law Wednesday that will deeply disrupt the lives of transgender people in the state, whether it be over access to healthcare, bathroom use, lessons about LGBTQ+ topics, or pronouns in schools,” Insider reports.

The Messenger: “Courts also will be given temporary emergency jurisdiction to step in and halt sex reassignment procedures for out-of-state children in Florida.”

“The Supreme Court on Wednesday left in place for now Illinois’s new ban on the purchase and sale of AR-15-style weapons and large ammunition magazines, the court’s first consideration of gun control legislation since its conservative majority made it more difficult for governments to justify such restrictions,” the Washington Post reports.

“The court without comment turned down a request from a gun shop owner from Naperville and a national gun rights organization to keep both the state and local laws from being implemented while legal battles continue.”

“Confidence in the Supreme Court sank to its lowest point in at least 50 years in 2022 in the wake of the Dobbs decision that led to state bans and other restrictions on abortion,” the AP reports.

Jim Jordan’s sham “weaponization” committee was dealt a blow when the FBI revoked the security clearances of three agents “who either took part in the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, or later expressed views about it that placed into question their ‘allegiance to the United States,’” the NYT reports.

Two (Marcus Allen and Stephen Friend) of the three agents are set to testify in Jordan’s circus ring today as among the so-called “whistleblowers” that House GOPers have been touting for months. Allen, Friend, and Brett Gloss have all been suspended by the FBI.

The details of each agent’s actions on and around Jan. 6 or in subsequent investigations are almost hilariously bad – were it not all so serious.

Taking a step back for a moment, I just can’t emphasize enough how preposterous it is that a significant chunk of the Republican “Deep State” rhetorical argument is predicated on the FBI – the FBI! – being a haven of lefties out to get Donald Trump. That undergirded the propaganda around Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation and report, the defenses to Special Counsel Jack Smith’s two probes, the earlier defenses to the Mueller probe, and the list goes on and on.

The FBI, as I repeat at every opportunity, has never in its history had a Democratic director. Like most law enforcement, it skews conservative. To the extent the FBI has inappropriately involved itself in politics in recent years, it was in harboring anti-Clinton animus.

The rhetorical construct of the “Deep State” should topple over under the weight of its own ridiculousness.

“The House on Wednesday punted the question of whether Rep. George Santos (R-NY) should be removed from Congress, referring an expulsion resolution to the Ethics Committee and shielding Republican lawmakers from having to weigh in on the matter directly,” The Hill reports.

“The Justice Department has privately asked the House Ethics Committee to hold off on its own probe into the freshman lawmaker,” Punchbowl News reports. raditionally, the Ethics Committee has deferred to the Justice Department in such matters.”

“But in the Santos case, the Ethics Committee has refused to comply with DOJ’s request… Instead, the Ethics panel is pressing ahead with its own Santos investigation.”

“Naysa Woomer, the communications director for embattled Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), has resigned,” Scripps News reports.

Said Woomer, in a statement: “With respect for my colleagues, the people of New York, and most importantly, myself, I am honored to tender my resignation.”

She added a comment directed at Santos: “Unfortunately, you never took one point of professional advice given.”

The resignation came after a video showed Woomer rooting for Santos to be expelled because “he’s not a good person.”

The woman escorting Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) around the Capitol this week is Nancy Corinne Prowda, the eldest daughter of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Politico reports.

“By all accounts, the arrangement is rooted in a long and friendly relationship between Feinstein and the Pelosis — twin pillars of San Francisco politics. But among some of those who are aware, it has also raised uncomfortable questions about whether Nancy Pelosi’s political interests are in conflict with Feinstein’s personal interests.”

“The intrigue surrounds the future of Feinstein’s seat. Pelosi has endorsed Rep. Adam Schiff, her longtime protege and former hand-picked House Intelligence Committee chair, to succeed Feinstein after her sixth and final term ends next year. Schiff is a household name in California and already has a $15 million campaign cash advantage over his nearest competitor.”

“But if Feinstein were to bow to pressure and retire early, Schiff’s advantage could disappear. Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged to appoint a Black woman to serve out her term, and one of Schiff’s declared opponents, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), would fit the bill.”

“Air Force officials caught Airman Jack Teixeira taking notes and conducting deep-dive searches for classified material months before he was charged with leaking a vast trove of government secrets, but did not remove him from his job,” the New York Times reports.

“A personal computer in Russia was used to breach Metro’s computer network earlier this year after the transit agency repeatedly was warned that cybersecurity deficiencies left its systems open to information theft and national security threats,” the Washington Post reports.

video shows Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) removing an activist from a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) “has filed to divorce her husband of two decades,” the Daily Beast reports.

“The April 25 filing seeks to dissolve her marriage to Jayson Boebert, with whom she shares four sons. An affidavit of service indicated that Jayson Boebert appeared to be caught off guard by the court proceedings. He chased away a process server with an expletive-laden tirade and let his dogs loose when he was served with the divorce papers.”

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said that President Biden has “mental challenges,” citing what he’s seen from the president on television, The Hill reports. Said Buck: “I think that Joe Biden has some mental challenges at this point. I think that Donald Trump has some ethical challenges at this point.”

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough told the Hacks On Tap podcast that he’s confident President Biden “is still cogent.”

Said Scarborough: “Because I’ve said a few things about him on my show and I’ve written a couple of op-eds and he’ll wake me up when I’m gone, when I’m asleep at 8:30 at night, because Mika and I, of course, wake up 4:30 in the morning and I’ll just go. Hello? Yes, sir.”

He added: “And about an hour later, he will give he will aggressively and very effectively give me point by point by point about how my op-ed was flawed.”

“By the way, you want to meet some gay people… go to the Republican caucus meeting in the United States Senate… I am just saying, they are throughout the Republican Party in South Carolina.”— Joe Scarborough, on Morning Joe.

Several Fox News stars have let Tucker Carlson know they’re interested in ditching the conservative cable news channel to join his upcoming endeavors, Variety reports.

New York Times: “Supporters and detractors alike say Tucker Carlson’s political power was rooted in his ability to place people and ideas from the vanguard of right-wing politics in front of the largest conventional conservative audience in media.”

“Whether he can play a similar role as a conduit between the far right and the mainstream without Fox is perhaps the biggest question raised by Mr. Carlson’s hints about his next move.”

Josh Marshall: One other point on Trump/Russia as we put the sad tale of the “Durham Report” to bed.

The Russian government intervened in the 2016 presidential election to assist Donald Trump. The Trump campaign was repeatedly informed of this assistance, welcomed it, asked for more of it and took numerous affirmative steps to profit from the assistance. While we can never know with certainty, given the closeness of the election there is every reason to believe that that assistance provided Trump with the margin of victory to become President. The fruits of that subversion campaign dominated much of the final months of the election.

Given the narrow bounds of the subsequent investigation, there is almost certainly much more we still don’t know about the cooperation between the two sides. But in any normal universe the proven facts alone would have fatally discredited Trump’s presidency and led to his forced resignation or removal from office.”

John Bolton noted that Donald Trump has long touted what he says are strong relationships with high profile leaders on the world stage, but they actually think he’s a “laughing fool,” Politico reports.

Said Bolton: “I have been in those rooms with him when he met with those leaders, I believe they think he’s a laughing fool. And the idea that somehow his presence in office would have deterred Putin is flatly wrong.”

The Upshot: “This pattern, visible in an Upshot analysis of census microdata, is startling in retrospect. Major coastal metros have been hubs of the kind of educated workers coveted most by high-powered employers and economic development officials. Economists have lamented the growing coastal concentration of their wealth. A politics of resentment in America has fed on it, too. These urban centers have become a class of their own — ‘superstar cities’ — with outsize impact on the American economy fueled by the clustering of workers with degrees.”

“But it appears in domestic migration data that, years after lower-wage residents have been priced out of expensive coastal metros, higher-paid workers are now turning away from them, too.”

 “Some defense and congressional officials believe the White House is laying the groundwork to halt plans to move U.S. Space Command’s headquarters to Alabama in part because of concerns about the state’s restrictive abortion law,” NBC News reports.

“US Attorney Rachael Rollins, the trailblazing reform prosecutor who made history as the first Black woman to serve as the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, announced Tuesday afternoon that she is stepping down amid two federal government ethics probes, capping a tenure that had been marked by both turmoil and praise,” the Boston Globe reports.

“Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $75 million to sexual abuse victims of Jeffrey Epstein to settle a lawsuit filed last year in Manhattan,” the New York Times reports.

The World Meteorological Organization is now warning that a developing El Niño pattern will push global average temperatures above the 1.5 degree Celsius benchmark set by the Paris Climate Accords – at least temporarily.

Cranston, Rhode Island city councilman Matthew Reilly (R) was arrested Monday morning after he was reportedly caught smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine in his car, WPRI reports.

“Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s top policy official who was narrowly confirmed by the Senate after a tough confirmation battle two years ago, is set to leave his post in July,” Politico reports.

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

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