Cup of Joe – July 23, 2023

Politico: “The decision by the White House and Biden’s campaign to not comment on his predecessor’s growing criminal trouble — this time connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection — is rooted in the president’s promise to avoid appearances of interfering with the Department of Justice’s work.”

“But it also hints at what is likely to become a broader Biden campaign strategy: There will be plenty of other people who will do that work for him. And if the 2024 conversation is about Trump, the best option for Biden is to simply get off the stage.”

“Biden advisers have watched the nonstop news coverage of the target letter sent from special counsel Jack Smith to Trump this week advising the former president that charges may be coming soon connected to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and stay in power. That media frenzy echoed the blanket coverage that followed Trump’s two previous indictments — one in New York on his business dealings, the other over his handling of classified documents after leaving office. Biden allies believe that the press’ focus on the story line will only accelerate in the months ahead, as court dates approach and, perhaps, more indictments are unsealed.”

“House conservatives who have mostly backed Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) are privately warning that they’re paranoid of budgetary gimmicks instead of significant cuts in the coming appropriations bills,” Axios reports.

“One GOP lawmaker told Axios they expect the spending fight to be ‘World War III,’ with multiple GOP sources doubtful that Congress will pass all 12 appropriations bills by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown.”

“The Biden administration is ready to move on from Julie Su’s nearly five-month confirmation battle, looking instead to indefinitely leave her in the role as acting Labor secretary,“ Politico reports.

“The decision comes after a White House official last week publicly urged two senators who caucus with the Democrats to reconsider their position on Su. Though the White House is keeping the door open for a change in circumstances, internally there is little expectation that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will reverse his public opposition or that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) — who has not publicly declared a position — will support Su, according to the two people familiar with the talks.”

“And so, the president and his team are set to move forward in defiance of the Senate confirmation process. It amounts to an implicit admission that the first Cabinet-level official to be replaced in the Biden administration lacks the votes.”

“President Biden has asked CIA Director William J. Burns to become a member of his Cabinet, reflecting the central role the veteran diplomat has taken carrying out the administration’s foreign policy and his key role as a messenger to Russia,” the Washington Post reports.

“The move, which is largely symbolic, will not give Burns any new authorities. But it underscores the influence Burns has in the administration and will be read as a victory for the CIA, which was among the agencies in the U.S. intelligence community that accurately forecast the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.”

The Economist: “More than once, as president, Donald Trump mused about firing missiles at the drug labs of Mexican cartels. ‘No one would know it was us,’ he declared, before being talked out of the idea. Mark Esper, the then defense secretary, recounted the incident in his memoirs published last year, astonished that bombing a neighbor could be seriously thought of.”

“Now the extraordinary is becoming more commonplace as Republicans argue that greater use of military force, or the threat of it, can help control America’s southern border and curb the smuggling of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is produced illegally in Mexico.”

Politico: “Manchin is flirting with a third-party presidential bid that many Democrats fear could derail Biden’s reelection, while savaging the administration’s environmental policies and routinely voting against Biden’s nominees.”

“Sinema is drawing the ire of Democrats who are warning against her bipartisan bid to alter pilot training requirements. It’s a reminder of past progressive angst over her positions on taxes, the minimum wage and the filibuster.”

“A magistrate judge on Thursday placed a protective order over a forthcoming deposition by former President Donald Trump in his $500 million lawsuit against his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen in a dispute with implications for the former president’s criminal case in New York,” Politico reports.

“The judge, Edwin Torres, ordered both the transcript and video from the deposition be kept confidential — at a minimum until he finishes setting the parameters for what evidence in the case will be made public or kept from the public. The civil lawsuit in question, which Trump filed in April, alleges that Cohen violated attorney-client confidentiality.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) “will use a procedural gambit to force House consideration of the Equal Rights Amendment after first introducing the legislation at the start of the 118th Congress,” Politico reports.

“The resolution, if passed, would remove the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The amendment was first passed overwhelmingly in 1971 — then needed 38 states needed to ratify it within seven years. Only 35 states ratified the measure within the original timeline.”

“It would need at least five Republican yea votes in the House to get it across the finish line.“

Florida state Rep. Fabian Basabe (R-FL), who was accused of sexual harassment by two male ex-staffers, has an extensive history of bad behavior spanning nearly two decades, the Miami Herald reports.

“Before taking office last year, Basabe was accused of biting a hotel worker on at least one other occasion… He has allegedly berated staffers at multiple Miami Beach venues, including once after he tried to dock a boat outside the Standard at 3 a.m., internal hotel emails show.”

“Basabe has also been publicly accused of using racist language twice. And records show he has received more than two dozen traffic citations in Miami-Dade County and been arrested at least once on charges of driving under the influence, a 2009 case in which he pleaded no contest and paid a fine.”

“President Joe Biden and United Auto Workers leader Shawn Fain met Wednesday at the White House, as labor contract discussions are beginning between the powerful union and the Big Three automakers,” Politico reports.

“The meeting comes as Democratic officials and labor observers brace for a likely strike by UAW, which could have major economic and political ramifications.”

“The United States deployed a nuclear-armed submarine to South Korea on Tuesday for the first time in four decades, as the allies warned North Korea that any use of the North’s nuclear weapons in combat would result in the end of its regime,” the AP reports.

“Sound of Freedom” — a movie about child sex trafficking, which has been hailed by Republicans and QAnon believers — was the second most-watched film in North America last weekend, behind “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning,” and has made $90.7 million as of Monday, the New York Times reports.  One of the movie’s stars has promoted baseless QAnon theories and Donald Trump has hosted a private screening of the movie at his golf club.

“My message is, I don’t care if you’re a Trumper, MAGA, or hard leftist, or anyone in between. Depression comes across the spectrum, and get help with it. It’s not a Democratic Senator from Pennsylvania saying this. No. I’m just a husband and a father, somebody that was suffering from depression and got help… before it was too late.”— Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), in an interview with Time.

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

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