Cup of Joe – June 3, 2023

“The U.S. economy continued to crank out jobs in May, with nonfarm payrolls surging more than expected despite multiple headwinds,” CNBC reports.

New York Times: “The robust hiring suggests that employers remain eager for workers even in the face of high interest rates and economic uncertainty. Many are still bringing on employees to meet steady consumer demand, especially for services. And rather than lay off workers — which would signal deeper cracks in the labor market — a large swath of companies have been content to limit their head count through attrition.”

“An open question is whether employers can continue to rebuff economic challenges — and for how long.”

New York Times: “The president’s approach to the negotiations — and especially their aftermath — reflects a half-century of bargaining in Washington. When someone has been around the track as long as Mr. Biden has, resisting the temptation to spike the ball and claim victory can be critical to actually securing the victory in the first place.”

“From the start of the clash with Mr. McCarthy’s Republicans, Mr. Biden has followed the instincts he has developed through long, hard and sometimes painful experience.”

“A week ago, House Democrats were furious at what they saw as an abdication of the political battle in the negotiations with Republicans on a debt-and-budget deal,” the Washington Post reports.

“Yet, when the final vote was finally held late Wednesday, Democrats delivered 165 votes — almost 80 percent of the caucus — in favor of the Biden-led compromise. That’s a bigger haul than Republicans, who provided 149 votes, or two-thirds of their caucus.”

President Biden addressed the nation from the Oval Office last night “on averting default and the Bipartisan Budget Agreement,” Punchbowl News reports.

“President Biden on Friday commended Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for his role in reaching an agreement on the debt ceiling, highlighting a rare moment of bipartisanship between the White House and the GOP-controlled House,” The Hill reports.

Said Biden: “I want to commend Speaker McCarthy. You know, he and I and our teams, we were able to get along and get things done.”

He added: “We were straightforward with one another, completely honest with one another, respectful of one another. Both sides operated in good faith, both sides kept their word.”

New York Times: “The 99-page measure suspends the $31.4 trillion borrowing limit until January 2025. It cuts federal spending by $1.5 trillion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, by effectively freezing some funding that had been projected to increase next year and then limiting spending to 1 percent growth in 2025.”

“But it also contains a number of side deals that never appear in its text but that were crucial to forging the bipartisan compromise, and that allowed both sides to claim they had gotten what they wanted out of it. To try to ensure that Congress abides by the agreement, negotiators used a time-tested technique that lawmakers have turned to for decades to enforce efforts to reduce the deficit: the threat of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts if they do not finish their work.”

The Economist: “Any journalist, save this one, could tell you: a little deadline pressure can be helpful. But this principle can, like most, be taken to insanity.”

“Consider the pathological case of Congress under divided government, which often functions by wiring time bombs and sitting idly by until the countdown ticks close to zero. The present showdown over the debt ceiling, a statutory limit on the amount of money the Treasury can borrow, illustrates this worryingly well.”

Dan Pfeiffer: “Everyone, go take a cold shower. McCarthy did the bare minimum required and didn’t get fired (yet) in the process. If folks want to say McCarthy exceeded historically low expectations, fine; but treating him as some conquering hero or the second coming of Lyndon Baines Johnson is ridiculously over the top.”

“The way the media treats McCarthy is part of the broader and very annoying habit of grading Republicans on a curve. The GOP gets participation trophies from the press, while Democrats are often held to much higher standards.”

Tara Palmeri: “Of course, the 20 will continue to fume that the debt-ceiling agreement is not ideologically pure enough. But using the motion-to-vacate nuclear option to kick McCarthy from speakership, at this point, would be received as little more than a MAGA temper tantrum, rather than a principled stand.”

Said one GOP consultant: “They’re not going to do it just to do it. They’re either going to have to get something from McCarthy, or an ouster’s going to be more planned out.”

“As with the speakership battle, where it only became clear afterward how many promises McCarthy had made privately to secure the vote, the debt ceiling drama might have a long tail. Sources I spoke to were adamant that McCarthy now has to give his critics some new shiny bauble to placate them—though even they don’t know what that bauble is quite yet.”

“The revelation that federal prosecutors have a recording of former President Donald Trump discussing a highly sensitive document in his possession after he left office underscores the weight of the evidence that the special counsel Jack Smith is assembling as he approaches a decision about whether to bring criminal charges,” the New York Times reports.

During the Iowa “town hall” broadcast, Trump was asked by Sean Hannity about the July 2021 recording of him touting a classified document in an interview after leaving office. The recording has emerged as a key bit of evidence in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Mar-a-Lago documents investigation. Trump responded: “I don’t know anything about it. All I know is this: Everything I did was right.”

Harry Litman: The DOJ’s classified documents case was already dire for Trump. Now it looks even worse

NYT: Recording of Trump Underscores Growing Evidence in Documents Case

Philip Bump: Why a recording of Trump discussing classified documents would be important

Just Security released a model prosecution memo in the Donald Trump classified documents case.

Their conclusion: “There is sufficient evidence to obtain and sustain a conviction here, if the information gleaned from government filings and statements and voluminous public reporting is accurate.”

“Attorneys for Donald Trump turned over material in mid-March in response to a federal subpoena related to a classified U.S. military document described by the former president on tape in 2021 but were unable to find the document itself,” CNN reports.

“Prosecutors issued the subpoena shortly after asking a Trump aide before a federal grand jury about the audio recording of a July 2021 meeting at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. On the recording, Trump acknowledges he held onto a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence will not be charged in the discovery of classified documents at his Indiana home, NBC News reports.  Pence plans to announce a presidential bid next week.

“An Atlanta-area investigation of alleged election interference by former president Donald Trump and his allies has broadened to include activities in Washington, D.C., and several other states — a fresh sign that prosecutors may be building a sprawling case under Georgia’s racketeering laws,” the Washington Post reports.

“Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched an investigation more than two years ago to examine efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his narrow 2020 defeat in Georgia. Along the way, she has signaled publicly that she may use Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute to allege that these efforts amounted to a far-reaching criminal scheme.”

Tim Alberta spent stretches of the past year shadowing Chris Licht, the new boss at CNN, who harbored ambitions of rehabilitating the journalism industry.

His lengthy account — based on interviews with nearly 100 of his own reporters — shows it didn’t work.

“House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) is moving to hold FBI director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress, escalating a fight over Biden bribery allegations that Republicans acknowledge have not been verified,” Axios reports.

“The document Comer is seeking is called an FD-1023, which is used to memorialize interviews with sources and does not inherently indicate wrongdoing.”

“The FBI is scheduled to bring an internal law enforcement document that some Republicans claim will shed light on an allegation that then-Vice President Joe Biden was involved in a criminal scheme with a foreign national to Capitol Hill on Monday for House Oversight Chair James Comer and ranking Democratic member Rep. Jamie Raskin to review,” CNN reports.

“While the document contains the allegations made by an unnamed whistleblower, it doesn’t provide proof that they are true… The FBI and prosecutors who previously reviewed the information couldn’t corroborate the claims.”

“House Republicans are asking the Justice Department to turn over information about special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Donald Trump, including details on whether any FBI employees on the case have investigated the former president,” The Hill reports.

“The United States did not sanction the recent press conference by its ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, in which he revealed an alleged arms sale to Russia,” the Mail & Guardian reports.

“Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most famous opposition leader, on Friday shared letters showing how he has poked fun at prison authorities for several months with a host of bizarre requests for a kimono, a balalaika, a beetle and even to keep a kangaroo,” Reuters reports.

“The requests were turned down by the maximum security IK-6 penal colony at Melekhovo, about 115 miles east of Moscow.”

“I don’t want reality.”— Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), quoted by The Guardian, while questioning a witness about the teaching of race.

Today Marjorie Taylor Greene announced on Twitter that at her request Speaker Kevin McCarthy is providing unrestricted access to Jan. 6 surveillance tapes to discredited journalist John Solomon, a Jan. 6 conspiracy theorist named Julie Kelly and another unnamed party.

Oliver Darcy: “Right-wing media favorite John Solomon disclosed on Thursday that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given him ‘unfettered access’ to the Jan. 6 surveillance tapes.”

“The fact that McCarthy is releasing the surveillance footage to right-wing media and hiding it from news organizations says a lot about him. McCarthy, who is very familiar with the horror that unfolded at the Capitol that day, knows that the media personalities he is giving the tapes to will use it to push bogus conspiracy theories about what happened. He knows that they will use the footage to rewrite the history of that day. And yet, he still provides them with the tapes while withholding it from news organizations.”

Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, “has resigned from the social media company, which has faced criticism for lax protections against harmful content since billionaire Elon Musk acquired it in October,” Reuters reports.

“An email to Twitter returned an automated reply with a poop emoji.”

“A man who briefly worked as an aide to U.S. Rep. George Santos says he got his job after sending a series of payments to one of the Republican’s top deputies,” the AP reports.

“Derek Myers, 31, told staff of the House’s ethics subcommittee during an interview Wednesday that while he was trying to get a job in Santos’ congressional office in late January, he sent at least seven $150 payments to Santos’ director of operations, Vish Burra.”

“Myers shared details about the payments, including receipts and text messages.”

Kari Lake (R) announced that she is once again mounting a legal challenge against her loss in 2022’s Arizona gubernatorial elections, the Daily Beast reports. Lake says that her team “now have the video” to support claims of misconduct in Maricopa County. She added: “I will never back down. That election was stolen from the people and there will be no way that I back down from that. I just won’t, because it’s wrong, what happened.”

“The stage was decorated with a swastika and a picture of Hitler. The speakers started ranting. There were only 15 of us, but we went into action. We … threw some of them out the windows…Most of the Nazis panicked and ran out. We chased them and beat them up…We wanted to show them that Jews would not always sit back and accept insults.” – Meyer Lanski, gangster, remembering breaking up meetings of the pro-Nazi German-American Bund in Yorkville on New York’s Upper Eastside in the 1930s.17

Roger Stone told documentary filmmakers about his influence over Donald Trump by explaining how he psychologically manipulates the former president into saying whatever he wants him to say, the Daily Beast reports.

Said Stone: “I have a 40-year record of being able to convince the big man to do what’s in his best interest. He’s not easy to deal with. It’s complicated. He resents any implication that he is handled or managed or directed.”

He added: “You have to say, ‘Remember that night when we were in Buffalo. And you gave that speech, and God, it had to be 10,000 people, the biggest crowd they’d ever seen. And you said XYZ, and the place went crazy, remember that? I don’t know where you came up with that line, but it’s one of the best things.’”

More: “Doesn’t fucking matter that he never said it—doesn’t matter. It’s time-consuming, but it works. I did it for 30 years.”

Matthew Taylor: “For those who may have intermittently followed Stone’s oddball, cynical career at the heart of modern Republican politics, this declaration of piety might sound odd and new. But Stone’s rhetoric reflects an identity shift he has undertaken over several years: Though he was raised Catholic, Stone claims he experienced a born-again awakening following a conversation with the evangelist Franklin Graham at a January 2020 revival meeting.”

“He’s been sharing this story for years now, including in an interview last March with Charisma magazine, an influential publication among Charismatics and Pentecostals. Stone now identifies as a ‘nondenominational Christian.’”

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

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