Cup of Joe – June 23, 2023

“The House on Wednesday took the rare step of censuring one of its own members, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, over his criticisms of then-President Donald Trump and his role in leading the first impeachment inquiry into the former president,” NBC News reports.

Punchbowl News: “Up until this point, censures have been reserved for members who committed serious crimes or transgressions. Luna’s resolution accuses Schiff of abusing his power and misleading the public. But in truth, it may be simply due to the hatred of Schiff within the GOP. House Republicans first attempted to censure Schiff in 2019.”

The final vote was 213-209, with Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) and the five GOP members of the House ethics panel voting “present.” he censure resolution was sponsored by freshman Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL).

“Adam Schiff launched an all-out political campaign built on baseless distortions against a sitting U.S. president,” Luna said.

There was no legitimate basis for the censure or the Ethics Committee referral. This was pure political payback for Schiff’s role in the first Trump impeachment and other investigations. Schiff was required to stand in the well of the House chamber and receive a verbal rebuke, whereupon Democratic members surrounded him in support and started chanting “SHAME!”

Speaker Kevin McCarthy lost control of the House floor after the vote to censure Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), with Democrats loudly chanting, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) lambasted her GOP colleagues on Wednesday for supporting a censure of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), claiming the lawmakers “look miserable” because they are just following “puppeteer” Donald Trump’s orders, the Daily Beast reports.

Said Pelosi: “Today we are on the floor of the House where the other side has turned this chamber—where slavery was abolished, where Medicare and Social Security and everything were instituted—they’ve turned it into a puppet show. A puppet show.”

Amid all this sniping between Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) over impeaching President Biden, three sources familiar with the exchange told the Daily Beast that Greene called Boebert a “little bitch” on the House floor today.

“She has genuinely been a nasty little bitch to me.”— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), quoted by Semafor, not backing down from calling Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) a “little bitch” on the House floor.

Los Angeles Times: “The censure was a victory for Donald Trump, who had called for primary challenges to any Republicans who voted against it, and an indication of the former president’s continued hold on the GOP.”

“But Schiff, a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Dianne Feinstein, who is retiring, didn’t fight particularly hard against the effort to formally chastise him. He told The Times he initiated no conversations with Republicans in the last week to sway their votes; he’s called the censure a ‘badge of honor’ and has already begun using the free publicity to fuel his Senate campaign.”

“A surprise effort by hard-right House Republicans to impeach President Joe Biden has been sidelined for now, but the ability of GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert to force the issue to a House vote demonstrates the ever-escalating challenge Speaker Kevin McCarthy faces in controlling his Republican majority,” the AP reports.

“Instead, McCarthy negotiated a deal with Boebert, the Colorado Republican, to send the Biden impeachment resolution for review to the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, fending off a vote for some time.”

Punchbowl News: “Comer won’t say whether his probe will ultimately lead to Biden’s impeachment. The Kentucky Republican doesn’t expect to release a report until later this summer or fall.”

“But many House Republicans are convinced that they’ll eventually vote to impeach Biden during this Congress. The only question to them is when and what are the charges.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post notes that a Biden impeachment vote would put vulnerable Republican House members in a tough spot ahead of 2024.

“A new budget proposal from the largest House GOP faction is reigniting a battle over the future of Social Security and Medicare, leaving them at odds with former President Trump and prompting attacks from the White House,” Semafor reports.

“Last week, the 176-member Republican Study Committee detailed changes it would make to entitlement programs in an effort to extend their lifespan. For Medicare, it would begin offering seniors assistance to help buy private health coverage that competes against government insurance plans; it would also gradually raise the Social Security eligibility age to 69 for those who aren’t close to retiring.”

Edward Luce: “Modi is trampling on too many rights to mention — religious freedom at the forefront. Yet the U.S.tate Department is as quiet about those as it is loud in condemning the transgressions of others in lesser positions on the global chessboard. This can only deepen cynicism about the gap between what America says and does. In an era where the global south is up for grabs, such double standards do little for U.S. credibility.”

Playbook: “And that, of course, is the crux of Biden’s decision: Though the war in Ukraine is the most immediate pressing foreign policy issue Biden faces day to day, India’s cozying up to Russia and its democratic backsliding can be forgiven in exchange for a long-term gamble that showering Modi with love — and trade deals and weapons sales, which will be announced today — will strengthen a U.S.-India partnership to contain China.”

“President Joe Biden praised his own experience in foreign policy on Monday, saying it was the equal of anyone — including veteran diplomat Henry Kissinger,” Bloomberg reports.  Said Biden: “I’m going to say something outrageous. I think I know as much about American foreign policy as anybody living, including Dr. Kissinger.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) absolutely skewered special counsel John Durham in testimony today. ep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) did too.  Fox News legal analyst Jonathan Turley said that Durham “looks about as comfortable as a Benedictine monk in a strip club. He has this look a disbelief on his face. He’s said, look I reported the facts you can reach your own conclusions.”

Elon Musk announced that the words “cis” and “cisgender” are now “considered slurs” on Twitter.

“Prosecutors in the federal criminal case against Donald Trump have shared their first batch of evidence with the former president’s legal team, including the grand jury testimony of his co-defendant, according to a court filing docketed late Wednesday,” The Messenger reports.

“Special counsel Jack Smith has begun producing evidence in the Mar-a-Lago documents case to Donald Trump, according to a Wednesday court filing that hints that investigators collected for the case multiple recordings of the former president – not just audio of an interview Trump gave at Bedminster for a forthcoming Mark Meadows memoir,” CNN reports.

“Prosecutors in the filing used the plural ‘interviews’ to describe recordings of Trump – made with his consent – obtained by the special counsel that have now been turned over to his defense team. It is unclear what the additional recordings may be of or how relevant they will be to the Justice Department’s case against the former president, though the recordings include the Bedminster tape where Trump speaks about a secret military document to a writer and others, the prosecutors said in the filing.”

Legal experts took note of how quickly Special Counsel Jack Smith is turning over pre-trial materials, including grand jury witness testimony, to Trump, another sign that Smith is determined to try to get this case to trial before the 2024 election.

“Federal prosecutors investigating Donald Trump’s retention of national security material were examining evidence within weeks of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago last year that he might have handled classified documents at his Bedminster club in New Jersey,” The Guardian reports.

“The indications of classified documents at Bedminster so alarmed prosecutors that they focused part of the investigation on whether Trump might have transported the materials or disclosed their contents there in addition to refusing to return them to the government.”

“A former FBI intelligence analyst from Dodge City, Kansas, who kept hundreds of classified documents at her home, including in her bathroom, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison by a federal judge in Kansas City on Wednesday for violating the same part of the Espionage Act that former President Donald Trump is accused of breaking,” the Kansas City Star reports.

“The sentencing for willful retention of national defense information was the first since a federal grand jury indicted Trump earlier this month, accusing him of hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, keeping boxes of documents not only in a storage room but in a ballroom and bathroom as well.”

“The escalating feud between former President Trump and his one-time Attorney General Bill Barr is reaching a fever pitch, with Trump’s indictment on federal charges last week adding accelerant to what had already been a fiery break between the two men,” The Hill reports.

“Barr has been among the most prominent conservatives or former Trump administration officials to publicly criticize their former boss’s behavior and vouch for the strength of the federal indictment against him, undercutting defenses offered up by Trump and his allies.”

“The Biden administration is grappling with how to identify artificial intelligence that poses a threat to national security, a central challenge as the U.S. moves to curb investment in advanced technology companies in China,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“A federal judge says Gov. Jim Justice has to provide financial information in a long-running lawsuit, finding no merit in Justice’s position that such disclosures could be used against him in his run for U.S. Senate,” West Virginia Metro News reports.  “U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark of Delaware issued an oral order today that Justice has to issue full written responses and produce all responsive documents in a dispute over paying a judgement of nearly $2 million to the Xcoal supply company.”

New York Times: “The Fed has spent the past 15 months locked in an aggressive war against inflation, raising interest rates above 5 percent in an attempt to get price increases back down to a more normal pace. Last week its officials announced that they were skipping a rate increase in June, giving themselves more time to see how the already enacted changes are playing out across the economy.”

“But Mr. Powell emphasized that it was too early to declare victory in the battle against rapid price increases.”

Donald Trump once again called for imposing the death penalty on drug dealers during a Fox News interview.  Bret Baier pointed out that would have meant executing Alice Johnson, the woman who the former president famously granted clemency and featured in a Super Bowl Ad.  Trump responded: “No, no, no. Under my, oh, under that? Uh, it would depend on the severity.”

“The Utah school district that drew national headlines for banning the Bible has now reversed that decision,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports. “The highly anticipated reversal comes about one month after a review committee of staff and parents appointed by the district was initially determined that the Bible contained ‘vulgarity or violence’ and should have access limited to just high schools.”

“A federal judge on Wednesday set a court date of July 26 for Hunter Biden to make his initial court appearance related to the plea deal he agreed to Tuesday,” ABC News reports.

“President Joe Biden on Monday will kick off another administration-wide road show touting his economic agenda — a three-week counterpoint to the messaging coming out of the intensifying Republican presidential race,” NBC News reports.

A Donald Trump supporter who drove a stun gun into the neck of a D.C. police officer who was abducted by the mob during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol shouted “Trump won” after being sentenced to 12.5 years in prison on Wednesday, NBC News reports.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General has launched a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the destruction of Secret Service text messages that may have been relevant to inquiries about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot,” NBC News reports.

Houston Chronicle: “[Republican Senator Ted Cruz] is touting past efforts to reach across the aisle to designate new federal highways, invest in space exploration and pass protections for women in military academies.”

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

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