Cup of Joe – June 17, 2023

“Fresh off grinding the House floor to a halt last week, hardline House conservatives are already gunning for a new fight: Forcing a government shutdown this fall if they don’t get desired spending cuts,” Punchbowl News reports.

Said Rep. Bob Good (R-VA): “We shouldn’t fear a government shutdown. If we shut it down in order to try to bring fiscal stability and fiscal solvency, that will save the country from an economic and fiscal standpoint for our kids and grandkids.”

“I’m not afraid of shutdowns. American life doesn’t halt because government offices are closed… We have to be serious about spending.”— Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), quoted by Politico.

“After narrowly avoiding a federal default, the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-led Senate are now on a collision course over spending that could result in a government shutdown this year and automatic spending cuts in early 2025 with severe consequences for the Pentagon and an array of domestic programs,” the New York Times reports.

“Far-right Republicans whose votes will be needed to keep the government funded are demanding cuts that go far deeper than what President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to in the bipartisan compromise they reached last month to suspend the debt ceiling, but such reductions are all but certain to be nonstarters in the Senate.”

“The signs of a split between House and Senate Republicans are growing as Capitol Hill barrels toward yet another major fight over the federal budget later this year,” Semafor reports.

“Facing pressure from hard right lawmakers, House Republicans have begun writing budget bills for next year that on paper would spend almost $120 billion less than the amounts outlined in the debt ceiling deal Congress passed this month, setting the stage for another showdown with Democrats in the Senate and the White House that has already prompted speculation about a potential government shutdown in the fall.”

“But Republicans on the Senate appropriations committee aren’t showing any interest in going along with the House’s effort.”

“The House Appropriations Committee is moving ahead to mark up spending bills at FY2022 levels, increasing the likelihood of a funding showdown with the Senate this fall,” Punchbowl News reports.

The Hill: “Senate Republicans are worried the House GOP’s decision to write government funding bills at levels below those laid out in the recently passed bipartisan debt ceiling bill will create a tough road for lawmakers to avert a government shutdown.”

“Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative appointed by Republican former President Donald Trump, but in a series of recent cases, he has spoken up about historical injustice in a way that seems at odds with Republican attacks on ‘woke’ history’s being taught in schools,” NBC News reports.

Rudy Giuliani told Newsmax that the “witness” who supposedly had all the information regarding an alleged $10 million bribe to Joe Biden and his family has died.

House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) told Fox News that another source in the GOP’s Biden family probe has been missing ― for the last three years.

Said Comer: “Unfortunately, nobody’s had any contact with him for the last three years. You know, MSNBC makes fun of me when I said that there are a lot of people that were involved in the Biden shenanigans that are currently missing. But with respect to this oligarch, we think we know where he is. He just hasn’t been seen in public in a long time, but we’re following the money.”

Donald Trump demanded on Truth Social that federal authorities return all the boxes of documents seized in the raid on Mar-a-Lago.

In speeches, social media posts, and friendly TV interviews, former President Donald Trump keeps clownishly making admission after admission that is admissible against him in the Mar-a-Lago case.

It’s been a running joke for a long time now that Trump is his own worst enemy (though that often bleeds into weird, excuse-making analyses by his adherents and by credulous reporters). But this is a different flavor of self-own.

The statements Trump has made in recent days could very well be used by Special Counsel Jack Smith at trial. They expand upon and reinforce some of the public statements that Trump already made that Smith ended up putting in the Mar-a-Lago indictment.

Jim Trusty, who dropped off of Donald Trump’s criminal defense team last week, is now withdrawing from Trump’s lawsuit against CNN, citing “irreconcilable differences” with his client.

A two-year criminal investigation into the Trump Organization’s valuations of a golf club in Westchester County, New York, has been closed, the county’s district attorney, CBS News reports.

“U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon issued her first order since former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith for allegedly mishandling classified information, instructing the parties to get the ball rolling to obtain security clearances for the lawyers who will need them,” CNN reports.

“By June 20, she wants the lawyers to file a notice confirming they have complied with her instructions.”

Aaron Blake: “Multiple polls focused on the Trump classified documents case suggest that many, if not most, Republicans don’t particularly appreciate the potential gravity of the situation or its details. And it can’t simply be explained by mere partisanship.”

“One of the inescapable facts of the situation is that Trump got himself in trouble not because he took the documents in the first place, but because he declined to return them. The indictment only charges conduct after the government subpoenaed Trump’s documents in May 2022. After that subpoena, Trump only returned some of his remaining classified documents before the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago turned up more. The Washington Post recapped how Trump’s fateful decision not to return the documents resulted from rejecting his lawyers’ advice.”

“But despite it being readily apparent that Trump didn’t do what the government asked, a new YouGov poll shows Republicans, by and large, maintain that he did. It shows 53 percent say Trump ‘cooperated in returning documents,’ with just 15 percent saying he didn’t.”

Mike Pence said he could not defend the federal criminal allegations against Donald Trump, CNBC reports. But he added: “I can’t believe that politics didn’t play some role here.”

Los Angeles Times: “Ever since the former president revealed last week that he had been indicted, he and his allies have put forward a number of legal and political arguments, and proliferated many falsehoods about the process. Some Trump surrogates have incorrectly claimed that he had declassified the documents and so did nothing wrong, while others have said that even if he did mishandle certain records, he’s not the first to do so.”

Fox News is finalizing a settlement with Abby Grossberg, the former senior producer who filed two explosive lawsuits against the network in March, CNN reports.

Tom Nichols: “I wrote about J. D. Vance during his Senate run back in 2021. I was appalled at his campaign and his rhetoric, but he has turned out to be even worse as a legislator than he was as a candidate.”

“A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, who posted dozens of secret intelligence reports and other sensitive documents on a gaming server, on six counts of retaining and transmitting classified national defense information,” the New York Times reports.

“The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday issued a split decision on a proposed six-week abortion ban in the state, allowing the procedures to remain legal until about the 20th week of pregnancy,” NBC News reports.

“The six justices on the state’s high court issued a 3-3 decision, failing to reach a majority regarding whether to overturn a lower court decision that had temporarily blocked GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds’ effort to reinstate a six-week abortion ban that had been passed in 2018.”

“House Democrats plan to introduce a discharge petition next week to try to force a vote on legislation to protect abortion access,” Axios reports. “The petition would force a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would codify a nationwide right to an abortion before viability.”

“Even if the discharge petition is signed by all 213 Democrats, it would still need five Republican signatures to force a vote.”

Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver a major speech in North Carolina on June 24 as part of the Biden administration’s plans to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, NBC News reports.

Bernie Kerik had a plan to keep former President Trump in office after losing the 2020 election — and he knew how much it would cost. Roughly.

Per an email surfaced in a defamation lawsuit brought against Rudy Giuliani, Kerik wrote to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in a Dec. 28, 2020 missive that he would need “between $5 to $8M” to put a plan into action that would pressure state legislators into throwing their electors behind Trump.

Philadelphia Inquirer: “That Trump had been in contact with Mastriano and other Pennsylvania legislative leaders in December 2020 has previously been reported in the media, and documented by the House Jan. 6 committee that investigated the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

“But the new emails reveal additional details about Trump’s pressure campaign in Pennsylvania and provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how it was received in Harrisburg. Election-related conspiracy theories and bad legal advice percolated quickly through the legislature.”

A federal judge has set a January 15, 2024 trial date for E. Jean Carroll’s other defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump, the Washington Post reports.

“Carroll, an author and advice columnist, won a $5 million verdict against Trump in a sexual assault and defamation lawsuit last month.”

“Carroll had filed an earlier lawsuit over comments Trump made about her in 2019, when he was president and she had first publicly accused him of the long-ago assault. That suit has been delayed by appellate litigation having to do with whether Trump is shielded from liability because he was president at the time he made those comments.”

“The White House is still working on an executive order for restricting U.S. investments in China that could imperil national security,” Semafor reports.

“But some House Republicans are already threatening to try and stop it, warning an overly broad approach could cause chaos for investors trying to follow the law.”

Florida state Sen. Joe Gruters (R) slammed Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) after the governor vetoed many Sarasota area projects that had been included in the state’s 2023-24 budget, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports.

Said Gruters: “The Governor is clearly upset I endorsed Donald Trump for President, and so he took it out on the people of Sarasota County.”

He added: “Simply because I support his political opponent, the governor chose to punish ordinary Floridians who want better water quality, less traffic congestion and increased resources for disabled children to find gainful employment. It’s mean-spirited acts like this that are defining him here and across the country.”

“The Pentagon plans to beef up training for its corps of officers who help execute foreign weapons sales, part of an effort to cut red tape and speed up sales to allies and partners, who complain along with others that the Pentagon is sluggish, ponderous and ineffective,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The vast amount of Americans’ personal data available for sale has provided a rich stream of intelligence for the U.S. government but created significant threats to privacy,” the Wall Street Journal reports.  “Commercially available information, or CAI, has grown in such scale that it has begun to replicate the results of intrusive surveillance techniques once used on a more targeted and limited basis.”

“With a swath of tax breaks and hints at more loans for small businesses, Chinese state planners this week started to respond to a problem already felt by many consumers and investors: the country’s economic recovery is in trouble,” the Financial Times reports.

“Several U.S. federal government agencies have been hit in a global cyberattack that exploits a vulnerability in widely used software,” CNN reports.  “It was not immediately clear if the hackers responsible for breaching the federal agencies were a Russian-speaking ransomware group that has claimed credit for numerous other victims in the hacking campaign.”

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

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