Cup of Joe – July 7, 2023

A new Politico/Ipsos poll finds most Americans — including a large number of Republicans — believe that the trial in the pending federal case against Donald Trump for mishandling classified documents should occur before the GOP primaries and well before the general election.

“Authorities on Wednesday unsealed additional portions of a search warrant affidavit used to win permission to scour Donald Trump’s Florida home last summer — a search that uncovered more than 100 classified documents and paved the way for the former president’s indictment last month on charges of mishandling national security secrets,” the Washington Post reports.

“The new version of the affidavit still keeps a number of investigative details secret. But it reveals more about what agents had learned by the time they executed the search at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, including specifics of how security camera footage captured a key Trump aide moving boxes both before and after he was questioned by the FBI.”

“The information fills in some blanks about the high-stakes investigation but does not substantively change the public understanding of the 38-count indictment filed last month against Trump and the aide, Waltine Nauta.”

“Special Counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office as recently as May as part of his investigation into the events leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” the Arizona Republic reports.

“The inquiries highlight the key role Arizona played in the 2020 presidential election, where Joe Biden edged out Trump by 10,457 votes — the narrowest margin in the nation.”

After two previous delays, Trump co-defendant Walt Nauta is scheduled to be arraigned in South Florida today. Nauta’s arraignment was postponed the two previous times because he had not yet obtained local counsel.

Still no indication in the court docket that Nauta has obtained a lawyer who practices in federal court in South Florida. Stay tuned. If Nauta still doesn’t have local counsel today, it’s possible the magistrate judge will assign him a public defender rather than delay arraignment again.

Is this all part of Trump’s strategy to delay and drag out the proceedings? It’s certainly consistent with that. We should get a better idea later today of how elaborate of a stall strategy Trump is preparing. Trump is due to respond today to the government’s proposed schedule for pre-trial proceedings and a January 2024 trial date.

Donald Trump suggested on Truth Social that Special Counsel Jack Smith was a “crackhead.”

The Biden administration immediately took steps Wednesday to appeal the inane holiday ruling by a federal judge in Louisiana that bought hook-line-and-sinker the right-wing conspiracy theories that conservatives are censored on social media.

Look for the administration to also seek a stay of the injunction imposed by the lower court, which prevents several different components of the federal government from having contact with social media companies.

TPM: Wild Ruling On Social Media Companies Is Latest Instance Of Trump Judge Setting Nationwide Policy

JustSecurity: Restricting the Government from Speaking to Tech Companies Will Spread Disinformation and Harm Democracy

Philip Bump: A deeply ironic reinforcement of right-wing misinformation

The Jan. 6 defendant arrested near former President Obama’s DC home is clearly a danger to the public, a judge said in court Wednesday, but questioned whether the current charges against him are insufficient to detain him pre-trial. The judge recessed the proceeding and plans to take it back up today.

The man came to DC after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) offered to let Jan. 6 defendants review surveillance footage from the Capitol. He ended up near the Obama residence after former President Trump recently posted on Truth Social what he claimed was the Obamas’ address. He was arrested with two guns and 400 rounds of ammunition in his van.

The man, a military veteran, may be suffering from mental health issues arising from his Iraq War service, the judge noted.

Facing potential disbarment in Georgia, Kraken attorney Lin Wood has received approval from the Georgia bar disciplinary authorities to retire, ending the proceedings against him and assuring effectively the same result as disbarment: Wood can no longer practice law anywhere.

“Law enforcement officials confirmed on Wednesday that cocaine was found at the White House over the weekend,” Politico reports.

“But one official familiar with the investigation cautioned that the source of the drug was unlikely to be determined given that it was discovered in a highly trafficked area of the West Wing.”

“Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, staring down an 18-year prison sentence for seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, said his trial laid out a blueprint for how special counsel Jack Smith will convict former President Donald Trump,” the Washington Times reports.

Said Rhodes: “You’re going to get railroaded. You’re going to be found guilty if you try to go to trial. So everyone’s been demoralized and more likely to take a plea deal and agree to ‘test-a-lie’ against President Trump.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia has placed “objects resembling explosives” on the roof of several buildings at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told us this week that the United States shouldn’t sell advanced American fighter jets to Turkey until Ankara ends its blockade of Sweden’s NATO accession,” Punchbowl News reports.

“Securing Sweden’s accession to NATO has been a top priority for the United States in the run-up to next week’s summit, seeing it as yet another symbol of strength for the West amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. But Turkey’s objections over unrelated matters are preventing Sweden’s formal admittance, which requires ratification from all NATO members.”

“A group of former senior U.S. national security officials have held secret talks with prominent Russians believed to be close to the Kremlin — and, in at least one case, with the country’s top diplomat — with the aim of laying the groundwork for potential negotiations to end the war in Ukraine,” NBC News reports.

“In a high-level example of the back-channel diplomacy taking place behind the scenes, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with members of the group for several hours in April in New York.”

“On the agenda of the April meeting were some of the thorniest issues in the war in Ukraine, like the fate of Russian-held territory that Ukraine may never be able to liberate, and the search for an elusive diplomatic off-ramp that could be tolerable to both sides.”

“Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is in St. Petersburg and his Wagner troops have remained at the camps where they had stayed before a short-lived mutiny against Moscow, the president of Belarus said Thursday,” the AP reports.

“Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko helped broker a deal for Prigozhin to end his rebellion on June 24 in exchange for amnesty and security guarantees for himself and his soldiers and permission to move to Belarus.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) “took to Twitter to celebrate that great American patriot Patrick Henry,” the Kansas City Star reports.  Wrote Hawley: “Patrick Henry: ‘It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.’”

“The problem? Henry never said that. The quote is false. Made up.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) “is calling lawmakers back to the Iowa Capitol for a rare special session to pass new abortion restrictions after suffering a defeat at the Iowa Supreme Court last month,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature on Wednesday voted to stop Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration from requiring seventh graders to be vaccinated against meningitis,” the AP reports.

“The state Senate and Assembly, with all Republicans in support and Democrats against, voted to block the proposal. There is no current meningitis vaccination requirement for Wisconsin students.”

Meta will officially release Threads — a text-based Twitter competitor based on Instagram — tomorrow.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D), “a former public school educator, used his broad partial veto authority this week to sign into law a new state budget that increases funding for public schools for the next four centuries,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“The surprise move will ensure districts’ state-imposed limits on how much revenue they are allowed to raise will be increased by $325 per student each year until 2425, creating a permanent annual stream of new revenue for public schools and potentially curbing a key debate between Democrats and Republicans during each state budget-writing cycle.”

“Evers crafted the four-century school aid extension by striking a hyphen and a ’20’ from a reference to the 2024-25 school year. The increase of $325 per student is the highest single-year increase in revenue limits in state history.”

The Atlantic: “As it turns 50 this week, America’s all-volunteer military appears unsustainable. It is threatened on three fronts: cost, capacity, and continued ability to find enough Americans willing and able to serve. A military that has to compete with the civilian job market for workers is extremely expensive.”

“Military pay and benefits make up the single largest category in the Defense Department budget. These costs have skyrocketed since 9/11, rising by more than 50 percent in real terms.”

Foreign Affairs: “Shortages in production, inadequate labor pools, and interruptions in supply chains have hamstrung the United States’ ability to deliver weapons to Ukraine and enhance the country’s defense capabilities more broadly. These problems have much to do with the history of the U.S. defense industry since World War II.”

“Creeping privatization during the Cold War, along with diminished federal investment and oversight of defense contracting since the 1960s, helped bring about the inefficiency, waste, and lack of prioritization that are complicating U.S. assistance to Ukraine today.”

Steve Vladeck: “This is the most conservative Supreme Court we’ve known.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that almost 1 out of 4 people in the U.S. still hadn’t been exposed to COVID-19 by the end of 2022 after nearly three years of the pandemic, The Hill reports.

New York Times: “At a moment when the American political parties are trading fierce fire from the trenches of a war over social and cultural policy, the president is staying out of the fray.”

“White, male, 80 years old and not particularly up-to-date on the language of the left, Mr. Biden has largely avoided becoming enmeshed in contemporary battles over gender, abortion and other hotly contested social issues — even as he does things like hosting what he called ‘the largest Pride Month celebration ever held at the White House.’”

“Republicans have tried to pull him in, but appear to recognize the difficulty: When G.O.P. presidential candidates vow to end what they derisively call “woke” culture, they often aim their barbs not directly at Mr. Biden but at big corporations like Disney and BlackRock or the vast ‘administrative state’ of the federal government.”

Wall Street Journal: “At sensitive points during tensions in Russia, debt-ceiling negotiations and the indictment of former President Donald Trump, the loquacious Biden has kept his mouth shut, adhering to a White House tradition to strategically hit the mute button when an inopportune comment could cause a diplomatic or political problem.”

“While Biden’s allies say there are clear reasons for the strategy in all these cases, potential downsides are involved in having the nation’s leader be quiet or offstage during crucial moments.”

Bloomberg: “Weeks of talks between UPS and the Teamsters fell apart early Wednesday morning in Washington after stretching through the July 4 holiday, with beleaguered negotiators emerging just after 4 a.m. to say the talks had collapsed.” 

“Congress passed two measures last year that aimed, in part, to build America’s manufacturing capacity back up. While the ultimate economic ramifications of these moves will take years to play out, this much is certain: If you spend it, they will build,” the Wall Street Journal reports.  “On Monday, the Commerce Department reported May construction spending figures, with overall spending rising a seasonally adjusted 0.9% from a month earlier. Once again, an important piece of that was spending on construction of manufacturing facilities.”

Mike Pence was confronted by a voter who was unhappy with how he presided over the counting of electoral votes on January 6, 2021.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has repeatedly been late to pay taxes on personal property items and real estate in recent years, NBC News reports.

 “The Federal Reserve appears likely to raise its key interest rate next week, with minutes from the central bank’s most recent meeting showing some officials wanted to raise rates last month,” CBS News reports.

“Kentucky is the only state in the country where the swearing-in ceremony of people taking their oath of office routinely elicits giggles from those present,” USA Today reports. “The cause of those giggles is the Kentucky Constitution, which for nearly two centuries has required officials to swear that they’ve never fought a duel with deadly weapons or been involved in one in any way.”

Politico: “Weed legalization advocates are running out of friendly territory… And there are increasing signs of a legalization backlash in deep red America: Voters in four states — Arkansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota — have rejected adult-use referendums in the last nine months.”

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

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