Cup of Joe – August 8, 2023

“A fresh fiscal showdown is brewing in Washington that threatens to complicate the Federal Reserve’s policy making and strengthen Fitch Ratings’ warning that self-inflicted wounds are tarnishing America’s standing in the global economy,” Bloomberg reports.

“Congress left for an extended August recess without resolving simmering conflicts over spending and hot-button social issues, raising the risk of a government shutdown when federal funding runs out after Sept. 30. It’s the latest case of brinkmanship over the national budget that fueled Fitch’s move to strip US debt of its prized AAA status last week — a landmark decision that’s caused hand-wringing across Wall Street and Washington.”

“The credit rating company’s determination has emboldened Republicans to call on President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats to yield to their demands for fresh spending cuts.”

Punchbowl News: “Let’s put this in perspective because it’s easy to just gloss over — the former president and GOP frontrunner for the 2024 nomination is calling for the impeachment of the sitting president and threatening rank-and-file Republicans who don’t support this effort. It comes as Trump could be indicted for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, during which he tried to overturn his loss in the 2020 election to Biden. Got it?”

“McCarthy and the House GOP leadership have tried to walk a very narrow line on this, but Trump seems determined to force them into action.”

“Having Trump threaten his 2024 vulnerables — who aren’t rushing to sign onto any impeachment push — is potentially disastrous for McCarthy and the Republican leadership.”

A new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll finds most Americans — 57 percent — disapprove of President Biden’s handling of climate change. The poll also “finds that few adults say they know a good amount or great deal about the Inflation Reduction Act, a law that includes massive new investments in response to global warming.”

“The low approval and lack of public awareness underscore Biden’s top challenge entering the 2024 presidential race, as he looks to sell an unknowing electorate on an agenda that — in the eyes of the White House — has created jobs, boosted manufacturing and lowered costs for families.”

“President Joe Biden is risking a lot on ‘Bidenomics.’ But, about two months in, his efforts to sell his sweeping economic agenda don’t appear to be working,” Politico reports.

“Poll numbers show persistent voter skepticism about the state of the economy, and Republicans are working aggressively to take back the term, dubbing it as synonymous with tax hikes and inflation.”

“Inside the White House, aides remain confident the bet will pay off, adopting the mantra of the hockey legend Wayne Gretzky: Skate to where the puck is going, not where it is now.”

Washington Post: There’s a never-ending campaign to sell “Bidenomics.” Are voters listening?

“Donald Trump will ask for the federal judge overseeing the case involving his attempt to subvert the 2020 presidential election to recuse herself and will seek a venue change,” Politico reports.

Said Trump: “There is no way I can get a fair trial with the judge ‘assigned’ to the ridiculous freedom of speech/fair elections case. Everybody knows this, and so does she! We will be immediately asking for recusal of this judge on very powerful grounds, and likewise for venue change, out of D.C.”

Trump attorney John Lauro did the “full Ginsburg” yesterday, the New York Times reports.

“With his client facing charges carrying decades in prison after a federal grand jury indicted Mr. Trump for his role in trying to overturn the election, his third criminal case this year, Mr. Lauro appeared in interviews on CNN, ABC, Fox, NBC and CBS. He endeavored to defend Mr. Trump, including against evidence that, as president, he pressured his vice president, Mike Pence, to reject legitimate votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr. in favor of false electors pledged to Mr. Trump.”

Lauro told NBC News that if former President Donald Trump committed a “technical violation of the Constitution,” it doesn’t mean he necessarily broke any criminal laws. Said Lauro: “These kinds of constitutional and statutory disagreements don’t lead to criminal charges.”

“Donald Trump, who is facing charges in Washington, DC for allegedly conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election, claimed on Sunday that he wouldn’t receive a fair trial in the nation’s capital as he continues to rail against his latest indictment,” CNN reports.

Said Trump: “No way I can get a fair trial, or even close to a fair trial, in Washington, D.C. There are many reasons for this, but just one is that I am calling for a federal takeover of this filthy and crime ridden embarrassment to our nation.”

New York Times: Trump calls for judge’s recusal.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr told CBS News that he would be willing to testify in court as the latest criminal case against Donald Trump proceeds.

He declined to say whether he was interviewed by the special counsel during the investigation, but said he would “of course” appear as a witness if called.

“Many people in Fulton County are preparing for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to announce an indictment against former U.S. President Donald Trump for allegedly trying to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election in Georgia,” 11Alive reports. “This would be Trump’s fourth indictment this year.”

Judge Aileen Cannon came out swinging at Special Counsel Jack Smith, striking two of prosecutors’ sealed filings and demanding an explanation of “the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate” the classified documents case against Donald Trump.

In an interview with New York magazine, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) referred to the federal indictments against Donald Trump as “exquisite,” “beautiful” and “intricate,” and she was optimistic that the former president will eventually be convicted and not wind up back in the White House.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was interrupted repeatedly by jeers during a speech in Kentucky at Fancy Farm, for what appeared to be the entirety of his appearance.

“I like Mitch McConnell. And if you quote me on that, I’ll deny it.”— Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT), quoted by Politico.

An appointee by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to an oversight board of Disney’s special tax district taught a seminar in 2021 falsely claiming “Whites were also slaves in America,” using discredited research to say there was an “Irish slave trade,” CNN reports.

“A slew of new bills signed into law by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has draped the Sunshine State in controversy, spurring protests, lawsuits and travel advisories warning the state is ‘openly hostile’ toward people of color, immigrants, women and LGBTQ+ community members,” CNN reports.

“The fallout is starting to spread to a key economic artery for an income-tax-free state heavily reliant upon tourism taxes: Florida’s convention business.”

Politico: DeSantis’ conservative populism has left some donors chafing.

Rep. John James (R-MI) blasted Gov. Ron DeSantis “over the governor’s response to criticism from key Black conservatives over the state’s new Black history education guidelines, stating that the presidential candidate had ‘gone too far’ and needed to ‘stop’ his defense of the changes,” Insider reports.

Said James: “There are only five black Republicans in Congress and you’re attacking two of them. My brother in Christ … if you find yourself in a deep hole put the shovel down.”

Tallahassee Democrat: “In Florida, mental health care has been a top bipartisan priority since 2018, when a shooter killed 17 children at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.”

“But the push to fund mental health initiatives has frustrated Moms for Liberty… and other conservative parents who consider mental health care as another version of social emotional learning and are campaigning to remove it from schools.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) “has relinquished power of attorney to her daughter — even as she continues to serve in Congress at the age of 90,” the New York Post reports. If she cannot sign a legal document by herself any more, how can she vote in the Senate?? She must resign at once.

“For years, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has been engaged in a long and painful public drama about her health and ability to do her job, as she winds down a storied career as a lawmaker and a former mayor of San Francisco,” the New York Times reports.

“Now, Senator Feinstein is also navigating an increasingly bitter legal and financial conflict that pits her and her daughter, Katherine Feinstein, against the three daughters of her late husband Richard C. Blum, who was a wealthy financier.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Dianne Feinstein sues, citing medical bills, as family battle over finances turns ugly.

Bloomberg: “Some 28 million US borrowers will soon need to start payments on federal student debt after a three-year pause. Loan servicers, consumer advocates and lawmakers are warning that the system is ill equipped to handle the deluge.”

“The Biden administration is launching a beta website for its new income-driven student loan repayment plan today, officials told CNN, allowing borrowers to begin submitting applications for the program as federal student loan payments are set to resume in October,” CNN reports.

“The Manhattan district attorney seeking to jail Donald Trump over his hush money payment to a porn star is seeking to potentially weaponize the same piece of damning evidence that nailed the former president at his rape trial: the deposition where he said stars like him get away with sexual harassment ‘unfortunately—or fortunately,’” the Daily Beast reports.

“It’s now up to a federal judge to decide whether those prosecutors can get a video that shows Trump at his worst: unapologetic about sexual assault, uttering misogynistic comments, and willing to lie to the American public to save his own skin.”

 “A federal judge on Thursday decided to give the Manhattan District Attorney exactly what he wants: a video copy of former President Donald Trump’s damning testimony in an unrelated rape and defamation case that was decided earlier this year,” the Daily Beast reports.

“For months, DA Alvin Bragg Jr.’s prosecutors have been trying to get their hands on a taped deposition in which Trump actually said stars like him get away with sexual harassment ‘unfortunately—or fortunately.’”

Gabriel Sherman: “According to Trump advisers, Ivanka and Kushner have been more visible lately, stoking speculation that the pair could take an active role in Trump’s 2024 campaign. They have been living at their cottage on the grounds of Bedminster, sources said. And last month Ivanka attended her father’s birthday dinner, a source added.”

Said a top campaign strategist: “They’ve been spotted more frequently this summer. They’ve made it clear they’re supportive. They pop into meetings to say hi.”

“Trump advisers cautioned that, at least for now, Kushner and Ivanka are only engaging as members of the Trump family and are not participating in an official advisory capacity.”

At least four people were killed and others were injured in a Russian missile strike on the hometown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, Reuters reports.

Former President Donald Trump blamed congressional efforts to investigate his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last year, Newsweek reports.

Said Trump: “At a critical moment when we should have been reducing tensions with Russia, the Russia Hoax stoked mass hysteria that helped drive Russia straight into the arms of China.”

“Donald Trump called on congressional Republicans to withhold military support for Ukraine until the Biden administration cooperates with their investigations into the president and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings,” the Washington Post reports.

“The demand, delivered at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, echoed Trump’s conduct at issue during his first impeachment, when Trump withheld aid from Ukraine while pressuring the country’s president to announce an investigation of Biden.”

Said Trump: “Congress should refuse to authorize a single additional shipment of our depleted weapons stockpiles … to Ukraine until the FBI, DOJ and IRS hand over every scrap of evidence they have on the Biden Crime Family’s corrupt business dealings.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) made an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Friday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom he praised for demonstrating “the resolve it takes to survive a war and ultimately win it,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Christie is the second 2024 G.O.P. hopeful to visit Mr. Zelensky in Kyiv, signaling his support for Ukraine in a war that has divided the Republican candidates and Republican voters. Former Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Ukraine in June.”

A new CNN poll finds 55% of Americans say Congress should not authorize additional funding to support Ukraine vs. 45% who say Congress should authorize such funding.

And 51% say that the US has already done enough to help Ukraine while 48% say it should do more.

“Many of the GOP’s leading Senate recruits are speaking out against U.S. support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia — sounding a downright isolationist note and breaking from the views of party leaders,” Axios reports.

“The emerging Republican rhetoric from up-and-coming candidates on Ukraine is a signal on where the party’s foreign policy views are headed.”

“Colombian police arrested the president’s son Saturday as part of a high-profile money laundering probe into funds he allegedly collected from convicted drug traffickers during last year’s presidential campaign,” the AP reports.

“President Gustavo Petro, a former rebel who rose through Colombia’s political ranks as an anti-corruption crusader, said he wouldn’t interfere with the investigation.”

Said Petro: “As an individual and father, it pains me to see so much self destruction and one of my sons going to jail. As president of the republic, I’ve assured the chief prosecutor’s office that it will have all of the guarantees so it can proceed according to the law.”

Wall Street Journal: “Once a lonely and largely impassable maritime expanse where countries worked together to extract natural resources, the Arctic is increasingly contested territory. As sea ice melts and traffic increases on the southern edges of the Arctic Ocean, governments are maneuvering in ways that mirror the great-power rivalries seen in lower latitudes.”

“Islamic State confirmed on Thursday that its little-known top leader had been killed, the third time in less than two years that the extremist group’s senior leader had met that fate,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“In an audio statement attributed to its spokesman, the group said its previous leader, code-named Abu al-Husayn al-Qurayshi, had been killed in clashes with a rival militant group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which controls part of northwestern Syria.”

“A combined Russian and Chinese naval force patrolled near the coast of Alaska earlier this week in what U.S. experts said appeared to be the largest such flotilla to approach American shores,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Eleven Russian and Chinese ships steamed close to the Aleutian Islands, according to U.S. officials. The ships, which never entered U.S. territorial waters and have since left, were shadowed by four U.S. destroyers and P-8 Poseidon aircraft.”

New York Times: “The charges appear to reflect the Chinese government’s deep interest in the Navy’s Pacific Fleet and other aspects of the American military’s operations in that region, part of a broader effort by China to steal American corporate and national security secrets.”

A federal judge in Florida dismissed a $475 million defamation lawsuit Donald Trump brought against CNN that accused the network of defaming him by using the phrase “the big lie” and allegedly comparing him to Adolf Hitler, CNN reports.

“Donald Trump has been called to sit for a deposition in September as part of his lawsuit seeking $500 million from his former attorney Michael Cohen,” NBC News reports.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talked Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) out of using a cloture petition to force a vote on one of the military nominations held up by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) because he said the move would be abused by Democrats when they’re in the minority again, the Washington Post reports.

Right now cloture petitions are used rarely by the minority party and almost never by rank-and-file members such as Sullivan.

Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) told the teenagers to “get the fuck out” of the rotunda… The source described Van Orden’s demeanor as “physically aggressive” toward the pages, NBC News reports.

The lawmaker was “screaming inches from the pages’ faces” and “shooed” at them with his hands several times, said the source, who described previously unreported details of Van Orden’s behavior.

The pages, who were 16 and 17 years old, were “visibly shaken,” according to the source.

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

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