Cup of Joe – August 15, 2023

Donald Trump was indicted by a Fulton County grand jury — along with 18 others — and charged with conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

Key line from the 98-page indictment: “Trump and the other defendants charged in this indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.”

Trump faces 13 felony charges himself, including racketeering, conspiracy to commit forgery and filing false documents.

It appears there are also 30 unindicted co-conspirators.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: “The Georgia case is unique because in addition to Trump, it also charges a cast of supporting players— from former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer.”

New York Times: “Prosecutors describe the ‘criminal enterprise’ as one that operated not only in Fulton County, Ga., but also in other states, including Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and in the District of Columbia. This underscores the power of a racketeering charge: Ms. Willis did not have to show that all of the acts took place in her jurisdiction.”

“A legal tool normally reserved for the Mafia and organized crime could make former President Trump’s next potential indictment his most damaging,” Axios reports.

“Georgia’s expansive racketeering law — known as RICO — gives prosecutors a powerful tool to pursue charges in their investigation into Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election.”

“The law — inspired by federal statutes with the same name — allows prosecutors to string together crimes committed by different people toward one common goal.”

The Hill: How a Georgia Trump indictment would differ from the federal Jan. 6 case.

CNN: “While Trump’s 2024 campaign has predominantly become an extension of his legal defense, any possible trial and conviction in Georgia would be far harder for him to meddle with if he is elected to a second term since presidential powers that could help him interfere with federal cases do not extend to local matters.”

Said former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti: “Not only would he not be able to pardon himself, but the pardon process in Georgia means Gov. Kemp would not be able to pardon him either. There’s a pardon board. So it’s a more complicated process. He also would not be able to shut down the investigation in the same way.”

Donald Trump on Monday appeared to warn former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) against testifying before the Fulton County grand jury in the state’s 2020 election probe, Axios reports.

Wrote Trump, on Truth Social: “I am reading reports that failed former Lt. Governor of Georgia, Jeff Duncan, will be testifying before the Fulton County Grand Jury. He shouldn’t. I barely know him but he was, right from the beginning of this Witch Hunt, a nasty disaster for those looking into the Election Fraud that took place in Georgia.”

Here’s Georgia’s criminal code on “influencing witnesses.”

Just Security: “This primer answers questions about what to expect in the days ahead: the operation of the Georgia grand jury, various arraignment and pre-trial legal issues that will arise as the case proceeds, and the consequences Trump and others are facing.”

Washington Post: How Donald Trump tried to undo his loss in Georgia in 2020.

Fulton County prosecutors “appear set to charge Donald Trump with a variety of charges, including racketeering, conspiracy and false statements, according to a two-page docket report posted to the Fulton County court’s website,” Reuters  reports. The docket report “is no longer available on the court’s website.”

A Reuters correspondent posts the document that was briefly published — and then taken down — detailing the multiple criminal charges Donald Trump faces in Georgia.

The Fulton County Clerk issued a statement calling the potential indictment of Donald Trump that circulated this afternoon as “fictitious.” But that doesn’t explain how or why it was posted to the court’s website. Are they accusing Reuters of faking it?

As a grand jury meets in Georgia to weigh possible racketeering and conspiracy charges against Donald Trump, the former president said on Truth Social that a key prosecution witness — former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) — should not testify.

Said Trump: “I barely know him, but he was, right from the beginning of this Witch Hunt, a nasty disaster for those looking into the Election Fraud that took place in Georgia.”

Although it’s a separate case, federal judge Tanya Chutkan warned Trump just last week that it was illegal to influence witnesses.

She also warned that any “inflammatory remarks” would force her to speed up his trial so he could not influence a jury.

And earlier this morning, Trump also slammed Chutkan on Truth Social as “very biased and unfair” and claimed: “She obviously wants me behind bars.”

Trump swore at his arraignment earlier this month that he would not intimidate witnesses or officers of the court or threaten the administration of justice.

It’s obvious to anyone that he’s doing just that.

A judge who is presiding over grand jury deliberations in Fulton County, GA on Monday said that media will be allowed to film and photograph the moment when an indictment is handed down, Deadline reports.

“Hunter Biden’s legal team said late Sunday the Justice Department had decided to ‘renege on the previously agreed-upon plea agreement,’ escalating a dispute that is threatening to become a factor in the 2024 presidential race as President Biden seeks re-election,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Hunter Biden’s lawyer on Sunday said a trial is “not inevitable,” days after the Trump-appointed US attorney investigating the president’s son was granted special counsel status following a breakdown in plea talks to resolve tax and gun charges, CNN reports.

Though it mostly stayed out of the news until his recent freeze up in front of reporters, the private buzz about Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) health is getting louder among his Republican colleagues, Politico reports.

One senator even talked to McConnell’s staff about possibly getting him hearing aids.

Rolling Stone: “Jack Smith’s latest indictment of Donald Trump isn’t yet two weeks old, but the alleged ‘co-conspirators’ it identifies are already beginning to turn on each other — and some of them aren’t even being subtle about it.”

“A number of the ex-president’s chief lieutenants and alleged co-conspirators in the plot to overturn the election, such as conservative attorney John Eastman, have insisted the effort was perfectly legal and based on sound evidence. Others, however, have recently sought to distance themselves from the efforts of others, implicitly heaping the blame for any potential criminal conduct onto fellow participants in Trump’s attempted coup.”

Donald Trump posted to Truth Social a quoted from Judge Tanya Chutkan when she sentenced a Capitol rioter late last year and concludes: “She obviously wants me behind bars. VERY BIASED & UNFAIR!”

“Law enforcement officers in Kansas raided the home and office of a newspaper owner, prompting a sharp rebuke from a press freedom group and raising constitutional questions far beyond the small city in the state,” CNN reports.

 “The White House is redoubling its efforts to nominate and win confirmation for as many judges as possible after hitting an unwelcome milestone last month: The Senate has confirmed fewer judges since President Biden took office than it had at this point during President Donald Trump’s tenure,” the Washington Post reports.

“Biden is only slightly behind.”

“As of Aug. 9, the Senate has confirmed 140 judges since Biden took office, including Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, compared with 146 at this point in the Trump administration, according to data compiled by the American Constitution Society (ACS), a liberal judicial advocacy nonprofit organization.”

“Far-right populist Javier Milei rocked Argentina’s political establishment Sunday by emerging as the biggest vote-getter in primary elections to choose presidential candidates for the October general election in a nation battered by economic woes,” the AP reports.

“Milei, an admirer of former U.S. President Donald Trump, says Argentina’s Central Bank should be abolished, thinks climate change is a lie, characterizes sex education as a ploy to destroy the family, believes the sale of human organs should be legal and wants to make it easier to own handguns.”

“Votes were still being counted late Sunday, but analysts agreed that the upstart candidate who gained notoriety — and a rockstar-like following — by angrily ranting against the ‘political caste’ did much better than expected and is a real contender for the presidency in this South American country.”

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) has introduced impeachment articles against President Biden, coming as the first member of his Republican party colleagues to jump-start the process, the Washington Examiner reports.

The articles charge the president with complicity in his son Hunter Biden’s alleged crimes, who he is accusing of helping to shield him from prosecution.

Arkansas Times: “An official from the Arkansas Department of Education reportedly alerted high school teachers by phone on Friday that the class would not be recognized for course credit by the state in the 2023-24 school year.”

“And unlike with every other AP class on offer, the state would not cover the $90 cost of an end-of-year test that gives students the opportunity to qualify for college course credit.”

Washington Post: “Inside the D.C. jail, defendants being held in Jan. 6-related cases say they are trading legal theories on how Trump’s case could affect their own — and joking about which empty cell could house the 45th president of the United States.”

“Long-shot Democratic presidential candidate and conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Sunday that he would support a national ban on abortion after the first three months of pregnancy if he is elected,” NBC News reports.

“The stance puts Kennedy — who’s mounting a controversial bid to unseat President Joe Biden as the Democratic standard-bearer next year — out of step with most of his party at a time when abortion access has been a sustained motivator for voters.”

Dan Balz: “The narrative that has enveloped the presidential campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is now almost uniformly negative: He’s described as a candidate who lacks people skills. His campaign operation has been messy. He’s fallen from the heights at which he began the year.”

“All of that is accurate but doesn’t fully describe the balance sheet of candidate DeSantis. On a weekend when the political world was focused on Iowa, on a day when DeSantis competed for attention with former president Donald Trump at the Iowa State Fair, there were reminders of why the Florida governor, though distinctly trailing, remains Trump’s principal rival for the nomination.”

Dan Pfeiffer: “Those who are positive Trump will be the nominee in 2024 are the same people who were positive Trump would NOT be the nominee in 2016. Therefore, it’s worth testing that assumption. After the last few elections of unexpected outcomes, a boatload of humility is in order.”

 “Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis have reached an impasse in their Fox News debate planned for November, a person with knowledge of the stalemate said Sunday,” Politico reports.

“DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, is pushing for the faceoff to occur in front of a live audience, which the Democratic California governor prohibited in his proposal to Fox News’ Sean Hannity.”

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

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