Cup of Joe – July 18, 2023

“A month after former President Donald Trump was charged with mishandling classified documents, the judge presiding over the case is set to take on a more visible role as she weighs competing requests on a trial date and hears arguments this week on a procedural, but potentially crucial, area of the law,” the AP reports.

“A pretrial conference Tuesday to discuss procedures for handling classified information will represent the first courtroom arguments in the case before U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon since Trump was indicted five weeks ago. The arguments could provide insight into how Cannon intends to preside over the case while she also confronts the unresolved question of how to schedule Trump’s trial as he campaigns for president.”

USA Today: “Right now, many legal analysts believe Trump will face at least one jury of his peers before the general election of Nov. 5, 2024 – but maybe not before Republican primary voters decide who will get their party’s presidential nomination, a prize that could be claimed as early as March.”

“However it works out, Trump and his attorneys have begun the delay strategy by asking a federal judge to push back — indefinitely — a trial on federal obstruction of justice charges involving classified documents.”

“One reason, Trump’s legal team said: The presidential election.”

The Hill: Trump seeks unprecedented delays as he battles prosecution.

“Wall Street is more convinced than ever that inflation is subsiding,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “That’s giving investors hope that the Federal Reserve might be able to pull off what once seemed impossible: containing pricing pressures without tipping the economy into recession.”

“Americans’ growing paychecks surpassed inflation for the first time in two years, providing some financial relief to workers, while complicating the Federal Reserve’s efforts to tame price increases,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Wall Street Journal profiles Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis:

“Willis has carved out a reputation in Georgia legal circles as a no-nonsense prosecutor and workaholic who relishes taking on complex cases. Her path to power has put her on a collision course with former President Donald Trump, whose behavior after the 2020 election is thought to be central to her investigation of alleged attempts to overturn President Biden’s narrow victory in this state.”

“State grand juries were being seated in Atlanta last week, setting the stage for jurors to hear evidence soon. The case could lead to criminal indictments for Trump and others who sought vigorously to negate his loss here. For about 2½ years, Willis has led an extensive probe into the matter, including questioning under oath of politicians and Trump supporters such as Rudolph Giuliani, once his lawyer, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a political confidant.”

“A group of House Republican centrists is taking a page from their hardliner colleagues, demanding critical changes to their party’s signature tax plan — and threatening to hold the bill up until they get it,” Politico reports.

“A small band of Republicans from New York, New Jersey and California is effectively blocking the House GOP’s tax plan from reaching the floor anytime soon as they seek relief for taxpayers back home who’ve been hit with heftier bills due to a Trump-era tax law that limited a key deduction.”

Playbook: “The big talker in politics today takes place in New Hampshire, where centrist group No Labels is holding a bipartisan event teasing a possible 2024 “unity” ticket — and Democrats are already freaking out that such a bid will undercut President Joe Biden and help land Donald Trump back in the White House.”

“Adding to the intrigue, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) — who loves nothing more than trolling his own party — will be attending the event, a decision that has raised eyebrows among his fellow Democrats, who worry that the Mountaineer could not only spoil Biden’s reelection effort, but also cost them a Senate seat should he choose not to seek another term.”

Said Sen. Dick Durbin to The Hill: “Joe is America’s biggest political tease. And I trust that he’ll make a judgment to run for reelection in West Virginia. I hope he will.”

Reuters: Manchin speech stokes speculation of White House run.

“Donald Trump and his allies are planning a sweeping expansion of presidential power over the machinery of government if voters return him to the White House in 2025, reshaping the structure of the executive branch to concentrate far greater authority directly in his hands,” the New York Times reports.

“Their plans to centralize more power in the Oval Office stretch far beyond the former president’s recent remarks that he would order a criminal investigation into his political rival, President Biden, signaling his intent to end the post-Watergate norm of Justice Department independence from White House political control.”

“Mr. Trump and his associates have a broader goal: to alter the balance of power by increasing the president’s authority over every part of the federal government that now operates, by either law or tradition, with any measure of independence from political interference by the White House, according to a review of his campaign policy proposals and interviews with people close to him.”

“Russia said on Monday that it was pausing its participation in an agreement that allowed Ukraine to export its grain by sea despite a wartime blockade — a deal seen as essential to keeping global food prices stable — and would resume participation only after its conditions were met,” the New York Times reports.

“Ukraine’s military and security services were responsible for the attack on a key bridge that connects the Crimean peninsula to the Russian region of Krasnodar,” the Washington Post reports.

“Ukraine used sea surface drones in the attack.”

“The bridge, which carries road and rail traffic and is an important supply artery for Russia’s war in Ukraine, was also the site of an explosion in October that required months of repairs.”

Donald Trump told Fox News he would simply tell Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: “No more, you gotta make a deal.”

Then he would go to Russian Vladimir Putin and threaten him with more support for Ukraine: “If you don’t make a deal we’re going to give them a lot, more than they ever got if we have to.”

Trump added that Putin is “wounded” but “let’s see how it all turns out, one way or the other.”

“A fistfight could break out at any moment… I am friends with both of them. It’s entertaining to think that a fistfight could break out at any movement. I kind of dig that.” — Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), quoted by the Daily Beast, on the stand-off between Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO).

“China’s economy barely grew in the second quarter from the first and youth unemployment hit a record high in June, providing evidence of a fading recovery that risks leaving the global economy underpowered this year as recession stalks the U.S. and Europe,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The sluggish pace of growth in 2023 is piling pressure on Beijing to reignite an expansion that is in danger of fizzling out as consumers refrain from spending and exports slump. A drawn-out real estate crunch and shaky local-government finances are compounding the gloom. More than a fifth of Chinese age 16 to 24 are out of work.”

“Republican senators say they’re worried that conservative populism, though always a part of the GOP, is beginning to take over the party, becoming more radical and threatening to cause them significant political problems heading into the 2024 election,” The Hill reports.

“GOP senators are saying they’re being increasingly confronted by constituents who buy into discredited conspiracy theories such as the claim that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election or that federal agents incited the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

New York Times: “A little over a month after the court’s surprise ruling, the Alabama legislature will convene for a special five-day session on Monday, with the Republican supermajority having given little public indication of how it plans to fulfill a mandate to craft a second district that allows Black voters to elect a representative of their choice — one who could well be a Democrat.”

“The effects of the revised map, which must be passed by Friday and approved by a federal court, could reverberate across the country, with other states in the South confronting similar voting rights challenges and Republicans looking to hold onto a razor-thin majority in the U.S. House of Representatives next year.”

“The outcome of unusual off-cycle redistricting efforts in at least five states — Alabama, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina and Ohio — will play an outsized role in determining which party holds the House majority next year,” Axios reports.

“Typically, the battle for House control takes place on the campaign trail. In 2024, decisions in state courtrooms will also help determine which party wins control of the lower chamber.”

Politico: “There are 26 Republican governors. Three of them showed up here this week at the annual summer meeting of the National Governors Association. And of those three, one left after the first night, and another had little choice but to attend — his chairship of the group began at the conclusion of this year’s gathering.”

“After more than a century of bringing together the nation’s governors, the NGA — long a wellspring of ideas, forum for best practices and platform for innovating policymaking — is at grave risk of falling victim to the silos plaguing most every other element of American politics.”

New York Times: “Thirty years after Congress ordered that papers related to the killing be made public with limited exceptions, President Biden has declared that he has made his ‘final certification’ of files to be released, even though 4,684 documents remain withheld in whole or in part. Going forward, agencies will decide any future disclosures that may be warranted by the passage of time.”

“The president’s certification, issued at 6:36 p.m. on the Friday before the long Fourth of July holiday weekend, when it would not draw much attention, has frustrated researchers and historians still focused on the most sensational American murder of the 20th century. But they suffered a setback on Friday when a federal judge refused to block Mr. Biden’s order.”

“The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal,” the New York Times reports.

“Excess deaths, as this number is known, has been an important measure of Covid’s true toll because it does not depend on the murky attribution of deaths to a specific cause. Even if Covid is being underdiagnosed, the excess-deaths statistic can capture its effects. The statistic also captures Covid’s indirect effects, like the surge of vehicle crashes, gun deaths and deaths from missed medical treatments during the pandemic.”

“During Covid’s worst phases, the total number of Americans dying each day was more than 30 percent higher than normal, a shocking increase.”

“President Biden is expected to hold a phone call on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss, among other issues, the Israeli government’s controversial judicial overhaul plan that will reach a critical vote in a few days,” Axios reports.

“Cambodia’s Hun Sen, one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, is heading for another unanimous victory via an electoral landslide later this month, after he banned the opposition and dismantled much of the free media,” the South China Morning Post reports.

“But he will also contest the polls without his favored communication tool Facebook, after he quit the platform on which he had 14 million followers.”

“This month, Canada will start offering open work permits to any immigrants in America on an H-1B visa, in a clear bid to lure away highly-educated foreigners frustrated by the U.S. immigration process,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“It is the latest effort by Canada to capitalize on a growing sense from international students and professionals that settling permanently in the U. S.—between evermore competitive visa lotteries and a growing backlog of green cards—is too slow and difficult.”

Gallup: “John F. Kennedy remains the most highly rated former president when Gallup asks Americans whether, in retrospect, they approve or disapprove of the job each did as president. Ninety percent of U.S. adults now approve of the job Kennedy did, 21 percentage points higher than second-place Ronald Reagan’s rating.”

“Seven of the nine past presidents included in the poll receive majority retrospective approval ratings. The two exceptions are Donald Trump, with 46% of Americans approving of the job he did in his initial retrospective approval rating, and Richard Nixon, at 32%.”

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

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