Cup of Joe – June 12, 2023

“Donald Trump, the only former president to ever face criminal charges, [made] his first public remarks Saturday since the release of a federal indictment accusing him of mishandling classified information, as he and his allies issue inflammatory calls to action and escalating attacks on law enforcement,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump encouraged supporters to assemble on Tuesday in Miami, where he is scheduled to appear in court.” Said his post on Truth Social: “SEE YOU IN MIAMI ON TUESDAY!!!”

Playbook: “The backdrop is an unmistakable rhetorical escalation from Trump’s supporters — and even some of his rivals inside the GOP — some of whom have not only attacked the Justice Department and special counsel Jack Smith but have cast Trump’s indictment as a politically apocalyptic moment.”

“Donald Trump vowed Saturday to continue running for president even if he were to be convicted as part of the 37-count federal felony indictment that was issued against him this week,” Politico reports.

Said Trump: “I’ll never leave. Look, if I would have left, I would have left prior to the original race in 2016. That was a rough one. In theory that was not doable.”

At a political event in Georgia, Donald Trump delivered “a grievance-laced takedown of what he said was a biased federal law enforcement apparatus,” NBC News reports.

Said Trump: “In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you — and I’m just standing in their way.”

He added: “The ridiculous and baseless indictment of me by the Biden administration’s weaponized Department of Injustice will go down as among the most horrific abuses of power in the history of our country,” he said. “Many people have said that; Democrats have even said it. This vicious persecution is a travesty of justice.”

Washington Post: “The 37-count federal indictment of former president Donald Trump unsealed Friday provides a vivid account of Trump’s actions at his homes in South Florida and New Jersey, and is based on information from a coterie of close aides, household staffers and lawyers hired to serve Trump in his post-presidency.”

Politico: “Each count of willful retention of records carries a maximum 10-year sentence. Obstruction charges each carry a 20-year maximum sentence. False-statements charges each carry a five-year maximum.”

“The federal indictment of former President Donald Trump has unleashed a wave of calls by his supporters for violence and an uprising to defend him, disturbing observers and raising concerns of a dangerous atmosphere ahead of his court appearance in Miami on Tuesday,” the New York Times reports.

“In social media posts and public remarks, close allies of Mr. Trump — including a member of Congress — have portrayed the indictment as an act of war, called for retribution and highlighted the fact that much of his base carries weapons. The allies have painted Mr. Trump as a victim of a weaponized Justice Department controlled by President Biden, his potential opponent in the 2024 election.”

“If you want to get to President Trump, you’re going to have to go through me, and 75 million Americans just like me. And most of us are card-carrying members of the NRA. That’s not a threat, that’s a public service announcement.”— Kari Lake, quoted by Insider, speaking at a convention of Georgia Republicans.

Axios: “If Trump is the GOP nominee next year, he essentially could be campaigning for his freedom — an unprecedented scenario in the United States. Winning the presidency would give him a chance to install sympathetic Justice Department officials, or even try to pardon himself if he’s convicted.”

“Such a pardon would be legally untested, but Trump, as president, was reported to have expressed interest in a self-pardon after his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election culminated in the riot at the Capitol.”

“Even if Trump isn’t the Republican nominee next year, some of his GOP rivals already are pledging to either pardon him or significantly restructure the Justice Department in ways that might help him if they win.”

Despite historically low approval ratings and a big majority of Americans believing the country is on the wrong track, Joe Biden has to be favored to win re-election.  That’s because Donald Trump will be on the ballot — whether Republicans want him there or not.  If Trump wins the Republican presidential nomination, the campaign will be about whether his criminal behavior is acceptable.

Trump is already facing more than 70 criminal counts in two jurisdictions. And more indictments are likely on the way.  If convicted before the election, Trump might even run on pardoning himself.  If Trump is not the Republican nominee, it’s almost certain the GOP candidate will pledge to pardon Trump if they win.  Nearly every Republican has come to Trump’s defense since his indictment in an attempt to inherit Trump’s support if he’s somehow forced from the race. And promising a pardon may be the eventual GOP nominee’s only way to ensure Trump’s supporters turn out to vote in a general election.

Biden has avoided commenting on Trump’s case, but he must recognize his good fortune.

“The criminal case against President Donald J. Trump over his hoarding of classified documents was randomly assigned to Judge Aileen M. Cannon,” the New York Times reports.

“The chief clerk of the federal court system there, Angela E. Noble, also confirmed that Judge Cannon would continue to oversee the case unless she recused herself.”

New York Times: “For all the detailed evidence laid out in the 38-count indictment accusing former President Donald J. Trump of holding onto hundreds of classified documents and then obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve them, one mystery remains: Why did he take them and fight so hard to keep them?”

“Mr. Trump’s motive for having thousands of presidential records — including more than 300 classified documents — at Mar-a-Lago, his combination residence and members-only club in Palm Beach, Fla., was not addressed directly in the 49-page indictment filed on Thursday in Miami. The charging document did not establish that Mr. Trump had a broader goal beyond simply possessing the material.”

“While finding a motive could certainly be useful for prosecutors should Mr. Trump end up at trial, it may not be necessary in proving the legal elements of the case against him. Nonetheless, why Mr. Trump held onto an extensive collection of highly confidential documents and then, prosecutors say, schemed to avoid returning them remains an unanswered question — even after nearly 15 months of investigation by the Justice Department.”

Washington Post: “An adviser said Trump probably would play up a narrative that he was a victim, asking supporters to rally around him as he takes on the FBI and the Justice Department, and criticizes the agencies in scathing terms for their lack of prosecution of President Biden’s son, Hunter, who is under federal investigation on allegations of tax evasion and lying in the purchase of a gun.”

“One adviser predicted a ‘ton of money’ would be raised for Trump from the prospect of federal prosecutors seeking to potentially imprison him for decades. The goal from Trump’s campaign, this person said, is to harden his political support among his base in coming weeks.”

“Former President Donald Trump’s indictment on charges of mishandling classified documents is set to play out in a federal court in Florida,” the AP reports.

“But about a thousand miles away, part of Trump’s defense is well underway in a different venue — the halls of Congress, where Republicans have been preparing for months to wage an aggressive counter-offensive against the Justice Department.”

“Former President Donald Trump’s indictment on charges of mishandling classified documents is set to play out in a federal court in Florida,” the AP reports.

“But about a thousand miles away, part of Trump’s defense is well underway in a different venue — the halls of Congress, where Republicans have been preparing for months to wage an aggressive counter-offensive against the Justice Department.”

New York Times: “Theodore Kaczynski, the so-called Unabomber, who attacked academics, businessmen and random civilians with homemade bombs from 1978 to 1995, killing three people and injuring 23 with the stated goal of bringing about the collapse of the modern social order — a violent spree that ended after what was often described as the longest and most costly manhunt in American history — died on Saturday in a federal prison medical center in Butner, N.C. He was 81.”

“Republican delegates in North Carolina voted Saturday at their annual convention to censure Thom Tillis, the state’s senior U.S. senator, for backing LGBTQ+ rights, immigration and gun violence policies,” the AP reports.

“Federal prosecutors are investigating conservative-backed efforts in Wyoming to infiltrate the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2020 election,” CNN reports.

The investigation appears to stem from a 2021 New York Times article that, citing interviews and documents, detailed “an undercover operation by conservatives to infiltrate progressive groups, political campaigns, and the offices of Democratic as well as moderate Republican elected officials during the 2020 election cycle.”

“A federal judge has cleared the way for District of Columbia Bar authorities to resume long-stalled disciplinary proceedings against Jeffrey Clark, a top ally in Donald Trump’s bid to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election,” Politico reports.

“Clark, an assistant attorney general in Trump’s Justice Department — whom Trump considered naming acting attorney general amid his final, frenzied bid to remain in power — had tied up those proceedings for nearly eight months as he sought to transfer the battle to federal court.”

“Garret O’Boyle, an FBI agent who was presented in a public hearing by House Republicans as a whistleblower, was suspended by the bureau because internal investigators had concluded that he leaked sensitive investigative information to the right-wing group Project Veritas,” NBC News reports.  “House Democrats are now accusing O’Boyle of lying to the committee and are referring the matter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.”

“Former Speaker Newt Gingrich testified Thursday before a federal grand jury investigating January 6, 2021,” CNN reports.  “Gingrich allegedly communicated with senior advisers to former President Donald Trump about television advertisements that relied on false claims of election fraud.”

“Tom Perez, a former secretary of labor and chair of the Democratic National Committee, will join the White House as a senior adviser and director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs,“ the Washington Post reports. “Perez will replace Julie Chavez Rodriguez who left the White House last month to run President Biden’s reelection campaign.”

“Gov. Ron DeSantis’ chief of staff was among the biggest political fundraisers helping launch DeSantis’ presidential campaign, an unusual instance of a highly influential taxpayer-funded aide’s doubling as a top political bundler,” NBC News reports.

“And part of the way he raised that money was by having other government officials help him solicit cash from lobbyists.”

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

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