Cup of Joe – July 19, 2023

Donald Trump said on Truth Social that he received a target letter from “deranged” Special Counsel Jack Smith for his investigation into the events leading to the January 6 insurrection.

Said Trump: “Nothing like this has ever happened in our country before or even close.” Yeah, because we have never had a President attempt to overthrow the democratic process in order to keep himself in power when he was clearly rejected by the voters before.

ABC News: “The letter, which sources said was transmitted to Trump’s attorneys in recent days, indicates that yet another indictment of the former president could be imminent — though it is not immediately clear what kind of charges he could ultimately face.”

New York Times: “It is not clear what specific aspect of Mr. Smith’s investigation into the efforts to obstruct the transfer of power that Mr. Trump may be indicted in.”

“The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday unanimously rejected former President Donald Trump’s bid to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the 2020 presidential election probe and to quash a special purpose grand jury’s final report that recommends people be indicted,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“Willis has signaled that in the coming weeks she will ask one of two recently seated grand juries to hand up an indictment in the election probe. She has not said who could be formally charged, but Trump is expected to be one of the defendants.”

Wall Street Journal: “Lawyers for the Air National Guardsman charged with leaking classified intelligence information say he should be afforded the same pretrial privileges as a higher-profile defendant also facing charges of mishandling sensitive documents: former President Donald Trump.”

“Jack Teixeira, 21 years old, is currently awaiting trial in jail, ordered to remain there by a federal judge in Massachusetts who agreed with prosecutors that he posed a flight and national-security risk if released. Meanwhile, Trump is traveling the country campaigning as the Republican front-runner for president.”

“U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon is about to shape the course of the 2024 presidential election — and perhaps the fate of the country,” Politico reports.

“On Tuesday, she’ll hear from the lawyers hoping to influence her as she decides how and when former President Donald Trump will stand trial on charges that he amassed classified national security secrets at his private home.”

Washington Post: “Trump has publicly called special counsel Jack Smith ‘deranged’ and a ‘psycho’ and said he ‘looks like a crackhead.’ … But prosecutors have not made any complaints to U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon about Trump’s comments or sought a gag order.”

Speaker Kevin McCarthy he disagrees with “everything” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said last week about Covid-19 being bioengineered “to attack Caucasians and Black people” and that Jewish people are “most immune,” NBC News reports.

But McCarthy rejected calls by Democrats to cancel Kennedy’s public appearance on Thursday before a Republican-controlled House committee.

“House Democrats – led by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) – are preparing a letter to House Republicans to insist they scrap Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from an upcoming hearing after controversial remarks about Covid sparing Jews and Chinese,” Punchbowl News reports.

Michelle Cottle: “Some days, Speaker Kevin McCarthy must look out over this House conference in awe and think: Are you maniacs trying to lose us the majority?”

“I’m having more ‘rational Republicans’ coming up to me and saying, ‘I just don’t know how long I can stay in this party.’ Now our party is becoming known as a group of kind of extremist, populist over-the-top people where no one is taking us seriously anymore.”— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), quoted by The Hill.

“A trio of House Democrats will unveil a resolution to censure Rep. George Santos (R-NY) on Monday, the latest push by Democrats to penalize the New York Republican who for months has battled questions about his background and finances,” The Hill reports.

New York Times: “The new measure faces long odds of passing the Republican-led House. But Democrats believe forcing a vote will help maintain political pressure on Republican leaders.”

Washington Post: “A series of GOP bills to finance the federal government in 2024 would wipe out billions of dollars meant to repair the nation’s aging infrastructure, potentially undercutting a 2021 law that was one of Washington’s rare recent bipartisan achievements. The proposed cuts could hamstring some of the most urgently needed public-works projects across the country, from improving rail safety to reducing lead contamination at schools.”

“Some of the cuts would be particularly steep: Amtrak, for example, could lose nearly two-thirds of its annual federal funding next fiscal year if House Republicans prevail. That includes more than $1 billion in cuts targeting the highly trafficked and rapidly aging Northeast Corridor, which runs between Boston and Washington, prompting Amtrak’s chief to sound early alarms about service disruptions.”

“The United States will announce a new pledge to buy $1.3 billion worth of military aid for Kyiv in its conflict with Russia in the coming days,” Reuters reports.

“The previously unreported weapons package includes air defenses, counter-drone systems, exploding drones and ammunition.”

A Ukrainian helicopter crew told the Times of London that women in the country flash them as they fly overhead to boost their morale in fighting Russia. 

A Russian fighter jet crashed into the Sea of Azov near a crowded beach in the town of Yeysk on Monday.

“An American citizen who crossed into North Korea without authorization on Tuesday has been taken into custody by North Korean authorities,” the New York Times reports.

“The American national crossed into North Korea during a tour of Panmunjom, or the Joint Security Area, which straddles the inter-Korean border, becoming the latest United States citizen to be detained by the isolated Communist country.”

“Despite a year when inflation pushed prices to new heights, Americans are still better off now than before the pandemic, with nearly 10 to 15 percent more in their bank accounts than in 2019, new checking and savings account data shows,” the Washington Post reports.

“An Iowa judge on Monday temporarily blocked the state’s new ban on most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, just days after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the measure into law,” the AP reports.

“That means abortion is once again legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy while the courts assess the new law’s constitutionality.”

“Alabama Republicans, under orders of the U.S. Supreme Court to redraw congressional districts to give minority voters a greater voice in elections, rejected calls Monday to craft a second majority-Black district and proposed a map testing the judges’ directive,” the AP reports.

“Republicans, long resistant to creating a second Democratic-leaning district, proposed a map that would increase the percentage of Black voters in the 2nd congressional district from about 30% to nearly 42.5%, wagering that would satisfy the court — or that the state will prevail in a second round of appeals.”

“If you’re a Democrat, after Donald Trump, there’s no Republican in the country you want to beat more than me.”— Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), quoted by Politico.  Oh, I don’t know.  Beating Lauren Boebert or MTG would be fun.

“President Biden is scheduled to host Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the White House on Tuesday, a high-profile meeting with the country’s ceremonial head that comes amid tensions between Biden and the leader of Israel’s ruling coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” the Washington Post reports.

“It is the second visit to the White House in the past nine months for Herzog, whose position is mostly symbolic but whose approach and tone are often more moderate than Netanyahu and the hard-line elements of the Israeli parliament. Netanyahu, although he is the elected leader of the country’s government, has not met with Biden since the Israeli leader took office again in December.”

A group of Jewish House Democrats is circulating a letter denouncing Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-WA) since-withdrawn comments calling Israel a “racist state,” Axios reports.

Punchbowl News: “The House Democratic leadership issued a rare statement rebuking the Washington Democrat’s comment, even saying plainly that ‘Israel is not a racist state.’”

“The takeaway here is that the Democratic Party’s fissures on Israel will come to the fore this week, as Herzog addresses Congress. Between Jayapal’s remarks and an expected boycott by some Democratic lawmakers, this will dominate the first portion of this week.”

“As the start of summer brought several landmark Supreme Court rulings that jerked the law to the right, across the street, the Democratic-controlled Senate was confirming judicial nominees whose progressive legal backgrounds served as a foil to the direction the conservative justices were heading,” CNN reports.

“A wave of executives in the finance sector made early donations to Donald Trump’s primary opponents in the second quarter, as many on Wall Street look for an alternative to the former president to lead the Republican Party in 2024,” CNBC reports.

“The head of the Teamsters said Sunday that he has asked the White House not to intervene if unionized UPS workers end up going on strike,” the AP reports.

“Negotiations between the delivery company and the union representing 340,000 of its workers have been at a standstill for more than a week with a July 31 deadline for a new contract approaching fast.”

“Europeans are facing a new economic reality, one they haven’t experienced in decades. They are becoming poorer,” the Wall Street Journal reports.  “Life on a continent long envied by outsiders for its art de vivre is rapidly losing its shine as Europeans see their purchasing power melt away.”

“With consumption spending in free fall, Europe tipped into recession at the start of the year, reinforcing a sense of relative economic, political and military decline that kicked in at the start of the century.”

“Antiquities belonging to Israel have been kept for the past several months at former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, and senior Israeli figures have unsuccessfully tried to have them returned to Israel,” Haaretz reports.

“Among the antiquities are ancient ceramic candles which are part of Israel’s national treasures collection. They were sent to the U.S. in 2019 with the approval of then-Director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, Israel Hasson, on the condition that they be returned within weeks, yet almost four years later, they have yet to be returned.”

“The Biden administration is trying to head off trouble with China over a U.S. visit by Taiwan’s vice president, with an official saying the trip will be low key and urging Beijing not to use it to raise tensions,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The head of engineering for the company that operates former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social app told Reuters on Monday he had resigned, in a blow for the venture,” Reuters reports.

“Jury selection began Monday in Michael Cohen’s civil lawsuit against the Trump Organization, in which the former president’s personal attorney and fixer claims he is owed more than $1 million,” the AP reports.

Tucker Carlson has agreed to a seven-figure ad deal with Public Square, a conservative-friendly shopping app, for his Twitter show, CNBC reports.

A man who carried a tiki torch during the racist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 has now been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, NBC News reports.

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

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