Cup of Joe – July 21, 2023

“Federal prosecutors have introduced a new twist in the Jan. 6 investigation by suggesting in a target letter that they could charge former President Donald Trump with violating a civil rights statute that dates back to the post-Civil War Reconstruction era,” the New York Times reports.

“Congress enacted that statute after the Civil War to provide a tool for federal agents to go after Southern whites, including Ku Klux Klan members, who engaged in terrorism to prevent formerly enslaved African Americans from voting.”

Washington Post: After fitful starts, Trump Jan. 6 investigations hurtle toward charges.

“Donald Trump has quietly added a new criminal defense attorney to his legal team as he faces a potential indictment in the federal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election,” CNN reports.

“Attorney John Lauro, who has also represented Trump attorneys Christina Bobb and Alina Habba, is joining the team and will be working alongside Todd Blanche… Lauro will be solely focused on special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the aftermath of the 2020 election and was part of the team attempting to find out whether others in Trump’s orbit received target letters after Trump did Sunday night.”

“As former President Donald Trump campaigns for the White House while multiple criminal prosecutions against him play out, at least one thing is clear: Under the laws of physics, he cannot be in two places at once,” the New York Times reports.

“Generally, criminal defendants must be present in the courtroom during their trials. Not only will that force Mr. Trump to step away from the campaign trail, possibly for weeks at a time, but the judges overseeing his trials must also jostle for position in sequencing dates. The collision course is raising extraordinary — and unprecedented — questions about the logistical, legal and political challenges of various trials unfolding against the backdrop of a presidential campaign.”

“Donald Trump’s lawyers and advisers are trying to figure out if there is evidence and witnesses they are unaware of that are bolstering special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election,” CNN reports.

“The potential charges listed in the target letter suggest the special counsel will prosecute a bigger case against Trump than the former president’s team was expecting, given the evidence they are aware of. That has led to questions if there is evidence or testimony they don’t know about.”

“Students at Florida public schools will now learn that Black people benefited from slavery because it taught them skills,” the Florida Phoenix reports.

“This change is part of the African American history standards the State Board of Education approved at a Wednesday meeting.”

Tallahassee Democrat: “After more than an hour of public comment, with a majority of speakers opposed, the board voted unanimously to approve the social studies standards for African American history for kindergarten through 12th grades.”

“A Jan. 6 rioter who was armed with a concealed weapon as he led a mob that overran police on the steps of the Capitol was sentenced to seven years in federal prison on Wednesday,” NBC News reports.

“A Pennsylvania mother who was known as ‘Bullhorn Lady’ because she used the sound amplifier to instruct rioters at the Capitol was convicted Tuesday of nine federal counts,” NBC News reports.Rachel Powell’s identity “was discovered by online ‘Sedition Hunters’ who have since identified hundreds of additional Capitol rioters, and her identity was publicly revealed in a Feb. 2021 story in The New Yorker. Powell, who was also known as ‘Pink Hat Lady,’ was arrested days later.”

“A New Jersey man who had his prison sentence commuted by then-President Donald Trump was charged on Wednesday in a new, sophisticated fraud scheme that included falsely promising deals to send supplies to Ukraine,” Politico reports.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey charged Eliyahu Weinstein and four others in a plan that allegedly cost investors millions of dollars.”

“Over 20% of the U.S.’ population — 80 million people — are expected to face an air temperature or heat index above 105° Fahrenheit this weekend as a record-breaking heat wave persists over most of the South,” Axios reports.

Associated Press on the offhand Republican proposal of planting a trillion trees: “The idea — simple yet massively ambitious — revealed recent Republican thinking on how to address climate change. The party is no longer denying that global warming exists, yet is searching for a response to sweltering summers, weather disasters and rising sea levels that doesn’t involve abandoning their enthusiastic support for American-produced energy from burning oil, coal and gas.”

“An internal plan for the Supreme Court’s first-ever code of conduct has been stalled for years, people familiar with the matter said, and justices are deeply divided despite increased scrutiny surrounding their ethical behavior,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The standstill persists despite drops in the court’s public approval and pressure from lawmakers for the high court to adopt the practice of other courts that hold their members to binding ethical rules beyond the minimum required by anticorruption and transparency laws.”

Time: “Though many associate the Freedom Caucus with the legislative paroxysms of the Tea Party era, the group was not founded until 2015, long after the 2011 debt crisis and 2013 government shutdown. The caucus made its mark shortly after its founding that October, when it was instrumental in forcing out then-Speaker John Boehner and installing Paul Ryan in his place.”

“Its secrecy stems from this history: not knowing precisely who was plotting against him made it harder for Boehner—and, later, Ryan—to stamp out threats.”

“Today, about 45 Republican congressmembers are known to be members of the invitation-only caucus, but they might not be exactly who you think.”

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) threatened to vote against procedural motions to bring bills to the House floor.

Said Spartz: “Today, I sent a letter to Speaker McCarthy expressing my discontent with the lack of fiscal leadership – 70% of spending isn’t authorized & we are writing letters & books we can wipe our ass with. I won’t support any rule votes until we start governing.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) “presented censored photos allegedly depicting Hunter Biden, the president’s son, engaging in sexual conduct with women she said were prostitutes,” The Messenger reports.

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) reacted: “Today’s hearing is like most of the majority’s investigations. A lot of allegations, zero proof. No receipts. But apparently some dick picks.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) was interviewed on Fox Business by Maria Bartiromo, where he accused President Biden of taking massive bribes with no evidence.

BIGGS: Maria, we’re talking literally, it’s not $10 million. It’s it’s well over 20, $30 million. And some estimates as high as $100 million flowing through these accounts.

BARTIROMO: Holy moly!

BIGGS: And so, we have to get to the bottom of it. But we’re getting slow-walked ourselves from the administration, obviously, and their partisans and their supporters but this looks more and more sinister every time we look at it…

BARTIROMO: Unbelievable. As much as $100 million taken in by the Biden family is what you just said.

Although the jury stopped short of saying Donald Trump raped E. Jean Carroll, Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled today that he did, the Washington Post reports.

Wrote Kaplan: “The finding that Ms. Carroll failed to prove that she was ‘raped’ within the meaning of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr. Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape.’”

He added: “Indeed, as the evidence at trial recounted below makes clear, the jury found that Mr. Trump in fact did exactly that.”

“A judge on Wednesday rejected a request by former President Donald Trump to transfer from New York state court to federal court his criminal case for allegedly falsifying records related to a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels,” CNBC reports.

“The federal judge’s decision keeps Trump on track to go to trial March 25 in Manhattan Supreme Court in the case.”

“After Speaker Kevin McCarthy suggested on national television last month that Trump may not be the GOP’s best presidential candidate in 2024, the former president was furious — and wanted the California Republican to rectify the slight immediately,” Politico reports.

“Instead, to calm Trump, McCarthy made him a promise, according to a source close to Trump and familiar with the conversation: The House would vote to expunge the two impeachments against the former president, he told Trump. And — as McCarthy would communicate through aides later that same day — they would do so before August recess.”

“That vow — made reflexively to save his own skin — may have bought McCarthy some time, staving off a public war with the man who almost single-handedly rehabilitated his entire career and ensured he won the gavel in January. But it has also put McCarthy in a bind — and Trump world plans to hold him to his promise.”

“Saying that people on both sides have taken ‘egregious’ actions to influence public opinion, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Monday issued a gag order in Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial,” the Abilene Reporter News reports.

“Patrick, who will preside over the September trial in a judicial role, said the out-of-court comments pose a ‘serious and imminent threat’ to Paxton’s right to a fair trial and that if those talks continue, the violator could be hit with a fine and jail time.”

“The sweeping gag order puts the clamps on any party to or witness in the trial, or any member of the Texas House, from making a statement that will likely prejudice the trial.”

“A federal judge is set Wednesday to hear a challenge to the Biden administration’s new restrictions on seeking asylum, a case that could upend the fragile calm that has taken hold in U.S. border cities and reshape America’s role as a refuge for foreigners fleeing harm,” the Washington Post reports.

“The restrictions — which penalize migrants who fail to follow the rules — have led to a dramatic drop in unauthorized border crossings. But thousands are waiting in Mexico for an appointment to seek humanitarian protection in the United States, jammed into fetid tent camps similar to those President Biden deplored on the campaign trail in 2020.”

“China’s foreign minister, a tough-talking diplomat seen as something of a protégé to President Xi Jinping, has not been seen in three weeks, fueling speculation about his disappearance during a critical time for relations between Beijing and Washington,” NBC News reports.

“Qin Gang, 57, is one of China’s most prominent voices to the outside world, a former ambassador to the United States before Xi promoted him to foreign minister in December.”

“The Georgia GOP spent more in the first six months of 2023 than it paid out in all of 2022 to represent ‘alternative’ Republican electors targeted amid Fulton County’s probe into whether Donald Trump and his allies committed crimes while trying to overturn his 2020 defeat,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“Newly filed campaign disclosures show that the party paid out more than $520,000 in legal expenses in the first six months of 2023. That’s about 75% more than what was paid out in 2022 and five times what the party spent for legal expenses in 2021.”

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) are preventing quick confirmations for ambassador nominees on the Senate floor, which has Democrats threatening to cancel the August recess in response, Punchbowl News reports.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said it is “certainly possible” government agencies were involved in the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Said Johnson: “I think it’s certainly possible, yeah. The American public deserves the truth, and we haven’t gotten it.” He added: “There’s so many unanswered questions, so many witnesses that just died, so many leads that weren’t followed up on, so much evidence that obviously should have been collected that people have been prevented from collecting.”

“There’s a power struggle in Newbern, Alabama, and the rural town’s first Black mayor is at war with the previous administration who he says locked him out of Town Hall,” Capital B reports. “After years of racist harassment and intimidation, Patrick Braxton is fed up, and in a federal civil rights lawsuit he is accusing town officials of conspiring to deny his civil rights and his position because of his race.”

“Wesleyan University, a liberal arts college in Connecticut, is ending legacy admissions, which give a leg up to the children of alumni, just weeks after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action,” the New York Times reports.

Rep. George Santos (R-NY), “who was indicted on federal charges in May, has asked the federal magistrate judge overseeing his case to ease his pretrial travel restrictions and allow him to move within a 30-mile radius of the District of Columbia,” CBS News reports.

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

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