Cup of Joe – May 24, 2023

“Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his top GOP allies have turned very bearish on debt-limit negotiations with the White House, saying publicly and privately that the two sides aren’t close to an agreement with just nine days left until a potential default,” Punchbowl News reports.

“Now, there are good days and bad days in negotiations. And using harsh or negative rhetoric is a well-known tactic to pressure the other side and keep your supporters in line.”

“But this is clearly a bad day.”

Monday seemed to be a good day. “Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden ended their face-to-face meeting on Monday still short of a deal to avoid a U.S. debt default that could come as soon as June 1,” Politico reports.

“Yet McCarthy described the tone of the meeting ‘better than any other’ discussion, adding that negotiators for both parties will continue working.”

“President Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress approached this year’s debt-ceiling drama with a consistent mantra: They would absolutely never, ever, under any circumstances, negotiate over raising the country’s borrowing level,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“But now they are very much negotiating on the debt limit, just about a week before the June 1 date when the Treasury Department estimates the U.S. could run out of measures to avoid default.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent another letter to congressional leaders this afternoon, telling lawmakers it is “highly likely” the U.S. government will default in early June, and as early as June 1, if the debt limit is not raised.

Politico: “As the talks lurch closer to the Treasury Department’s default deadline, it should not be forgotten that McCarthy’s speakership is still on the line.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) says he has “no plans” to discuss the removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from his leadership position as negotiations over raising the debt ceiling continue with no immediate end in sight, the Washington Examiner reports.

CNN: “Perhaps this indifference is because investors have seen this drama before. They know how it ends: with politicians waiting until the last minute before giving in and finally raising the debt ceiling before disaster strikes.”

“No one wants to see markets panic, needlessly shrinking the 401(k) plans, nest eggs and college savings plans of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, there is a growing sense that a bit of market mayhem might be necessary.”

“Congressional Democrats are having second thoughts about taking back unspent coronavirus funds as part of a debt limit deal, concerned that doing so could have serious consequences for myriad public health initiatives,” Axios reports.

“The Treasury Department has asked federal agencies whether they can make upcoming payments at a later date, as senior Biden officials search for fresh ways to conserve cash and prevent the U.S. government from facing an unprecedented default,” the Washington Post reports.

“With a deadline looming in less than two weeks, the White House is looking for ways to buy more time for President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to cut a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling, which sets a legal limit on government borrowing. Without additional borrowing, a fresh burst of tax revenue or new ways to slow spending, the federal government expects to miss a payment for the first time in modern history in early June.”

During the House GOP conference today, Republicans conducted a 15-minute fundraising auction for chapstick used by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Politico reports.  The winner was Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), whose winning bid was $100,000.


“Special counsel Jack Smith issued a subpoena in April to Donald Trump’s company seeking any records going back to 2017, when he became president, of any business deals struck in seven foreign countries,” the Washington Post reports.

“But the inquiry produced little that wasn’t already publicly known.”

“Prosecutors sought information on any real estate and development deals reached in China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.”

The only known foreign deal consummated in that time was in Oman and came after he left office. Trump had publicly claimed he would stop doing foreign deals while in office.

This was the same subpoena that the NYT previously reported was seeking information on Trump’s dealing with the Saudi-backed LIV pro golf tour.

The report was not able to piece together why the Trump Org’s foreign business dealings would be relevant to the former president’s unlawful possession of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. A gentle reminder that subpoenas can be used not only to uncover wrongdoing but to rule it out. It’s not known publicly what, if anything, the Trump Org produced in response to the subpoena.

“E. Jean Carroll, who this month won $5 million in damages from former President Donald Trump, is now seeking a ‘very substantial’ additional amount in response to his insults on a CNN program just a day after she won her sexual abuse and defamation case,” the New York Times reports.

“Ms. Carroll’s filing Monday in Manhattan federal court seeks to intensify the financial pain for Mr. Trump. The jury in her civil case found him liable on May 9 for sexual abuse and defamation.”

CNN has its own follow-up to the Guardian on Special Counsel Jack Smith obtaining “dozens of pages” of notes that Trump attorney Evan Corcoran took during his representation of the former president in the Mar-a-Lago documents case:

The notes provide more insight into Trump’s thinking and actions during a critical time frame as the special counsel pursues its criminal investigation into Trump’s handling of classified material and the possibility he obstructed the investigation. …

The notes the DOJ has obtained reflect conversations between Corcoran and Trump after May 11 and through June 3, 2022, in which the attorney explained that the subpoena meant Trump would need to return all records marked classified to the government, sources said.

“Harlan Crow, the Texas billionaire and GOP megadonor with close ties to Clarence Thomas, refused to answer questions from a Senate committee about his years of gifts to the Supreme Court justice,” Bloomberg reports.

Donald Trump defended his hesitancy to back a national abortion ban, arguing “exceptions are very important” to restrictions put in place, The Hill reports.

Said Trump: “If you don’t have the exceptions, it’s very, very hard — and I think that’s been proven — it’s very, very hard to win an election.”

He added: “Now I don’t say you do it for that, you do it for other reasons, moral reasons. You do it for what you really believe, but it still is a very, very difficult thing to overcome, I would say, from the standpoint of an election.”

“A Russian court extended until at least Aug. 30 the pretrial detention of Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter deemed by the U.S. to be wrongfully held,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Hypersonic weapons could be ‘catastrophic’ for the most potent aircraft carrier group in the US fleet, according to war game simulations run by a team of military planners in China,” the South China Morning Post reports.

“Over 20 intense battles, Chinese forces sank the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier fleet with a volley of 24 hypersonic anti-ship missiles, in a simulation run on a mainstream war game software platform used by China’s military.”

“Rep. James Comer (R-KY) on Monday inadvertently implied that House Republicans’ high-profile investigation into President Joe Biden’s family members and their finances is actually about helping Donald Trump win the presidency in 2024,” the HuffPost reports.

Said Comer: “You look at the polling, and right now Donald Trump is 7 points ahead of Joe Biden and trending upward, Joe Biden’s trending downward. And I believe that the media is looking around, scratching their head, and they’re realizing that the American people are keeping up with our investigation.”

“The Justice Department kept open the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s family foundation for nearly all of President Donald J. Trump’s administration, with prosecutors closing the case without charges just days before he left office,” the New York Times reports.

“Newly released documents and interviews with former department officials show that the investigation stretched long past when F.B.I. agents and prosecutors knew it was a dead end. The conclusion of the case, which centered on the Clinton Foundation’s dealings with foreign donors when Mrs. Clinton served as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, has not previously been reported.”

Daily Beast: “Last week, [CNN] suffered its lowest-rated week since June 2015, averaging just 429,000 total daily viewers from Monday-Friday.”

“CNN was also down double digits compared to the same week last year in both total viewership and in the key advertising demographic of viewers ages 25-54. MSNBC more than doubled CNN’s daily audience, drawing 976,000 total viewers, while Fox News averaged 1.4 million.”

“State legislators around the country have passed more laws expanding gun access than they have measures on gun control in the year since the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead,” Axios reports.

“Numerous police officers lured to new jobs in Florida with cash from Governor Ron DeSantis’s flagship law enforcement relocation program have histories of excessive violence or have been arrested for crimes including kidnapping and murder since signing up,” The Guardian reports.

To understand how the right wing’s manufactured culture clash over transgender rights came into being, two seminal stories over the past six weeks:

NYT: How a Campaign Against Transgender Rights Mobilized Conservatives

AP: Many transgender health bills came from a handful of far-right interest groups

“A Florida restaurant that puts on what it calls family-friendly drag performances sued Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida on Monday to halt enforcement of a new law banning minors from attending such shows,” Reuters reports.

“The driver of a U-Haul who crashed into a security barrier in Lafayette Square near the White House Monday night was arrested on multiple charges, including threatening to kill or harm a president, vice president or family member,” CNN reports.

NBC News: “A Nazi flag was seized by authorities at the scene of the incident, which left no one injured.”

“Donald Trump will appear remotely in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday so that a judge can warn him not to share evidence provided to his lawyers as part of pretrial discovery in his criminal prosecution on charges of falsifying business records,” the Washington Post reports.

“New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan has imposed a protective order on Trump and his defense team, barring them from publicly circulating — including on social media — evidence that is not already in the public domain.”

“Such orders are not uncommon. But in this case, prosecutors have expressed particular concern that Trump would try to intimidate witnesses by publicly posting information he gleans from the documents or that he would attempt to rally supporters to commit violence using information he obtained during the discovery process.”

“Pakistani authorities Monday arrested a key associate of former Prime Minister Imran Khan just hours after she was released from custody as authorities pressed on with a crackdown on Khan’s supporters,” the AP reports.

The Trump Organization finished dead last in an Axios Harris survey of brand reputations.

“Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, long a proponent of mental health awareness, has issued a warning that social media use is a main contributor to depression, anxiety and other problems in the nation’s teenagers,” NBC News reports.

In case you were wondering, an adviser to President Biden told Axios that the campaign will absolutely not join Truth Social.

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

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