Cup of Joe – August 25, 2023

A busi­ness jet that had Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wag­ner para­military group, among its pas­sen­gers crashed north­west of Mos­cow, Rus­sia’s state Tass news agency said cit­ing avi­a­tion au­thor­i­ties, with all 10 peo­ple aboard killed, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Video shared on Telegram appears to show the aircraft that reportedly crashed on fire.

Multiple Russian news outlets report that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the brutal Russian paramilitary leader who led a failed mutiny against Vladimir Putin in June, was on a private plane that crashed near Moscow, apparently shot down by Russian defense forces.

Prigozhin, the public face of the Wagner Group, was reportedly aboard the jet flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg along with six other passengers and three crew. Witnesses described hearing two explosions, and several videos show the plane plummeting to earth in the Tver region, which is north of Moscow. Videos of bodies in the wreckage have emerged, but none are identifiable as Prigozhin. Wagner-related social-media accounts allege that Russia shot down the plane, and flight data indicates that the plane had not previously been descending when it disappeared from radar. A western intelligence official confirmed with the New York Times that the Wagner leader was on the downed plane.

In response to the apparent death of Putin’s adversary, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said that his nation had “no relationship with this situation.” At the BRICS summit in South Africa, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavror did not comment on the matter. President Joe Biden, on vacation in Lake Tahoe, said that he was “not surprised,” though he said he “did not know enough” to confirm Prigozhin’s death.

“If confirmed, no one should be surprised. The disastrous war in Ukraine led to a private army marching on Moscow, and now – it would seem — to this.”— National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson, quoted by the New York Times, on the crash of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private jet.

“President Vladimir Putin of Russia remained silent on Thursday on the crash of a private plane that included the mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin on the passenger manifest, giving an address that made no mention of the aircraft,” the New York Times reports.

“Russia’s aviation authority offered no comment on the reason for the crash and said that it had created a special commission to investigate ‘the circumstances and causes of the accident.’”

A flight attendant who was on board Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private jet when it crashed Wednesday had phoned relatives to say the flight was delayed due to some “strange” repairs, the Daily Beast reports.

“Rudy Giuliani turned himself in to Georgia authorities Wednesday to answer charges that he led an effort to illegally keep former President Donald Trump in power,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Prosecutors accused Giuliani of violating Georgia’s RICO Act, a powerful anti-racketeering law modeled on the federal law he once wielded against Mafia dons and others. The 79-year-old was also charged with other counts, including soliciting public officials to violate their oaths, making false statements and conspiracy.”

Daily Beast: “He stands 5’ 11” and tips the scales at an imposing 230 pounds, according to booking records, which list his hair color as ‘gray or partially gray.’”

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office released the mugshot taken of Rudy Giuliani today. They also released the mugshots of Sydney Powell and Jenna Ellis.

Donald Trump was booked at an Atlanta jail in his fourth criminal arrest this year, this time in a sweeping racketeering case accusing him and his allies of conspiring to reverse his 2020 election loss in Georgia.

“Former President Donald Trump arrived in Atlanta on Thursday evening to turn himself in at the Fulton County Jail, where he will be booked on 13 state felony charges for his efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss in Georgia,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump’s visit to the jail — a notorious facility often name-checked in rap lyrics and the subject of a Justice Department investigation into unsafe and unsanitary conditions — could see him being treated like any other defendant, a startling position for the former president to find himself in.”

“It stands to be the most dramatic moment so far in the four criminal cases against Mr. Trump; unlike his initial appearances in the other cases, it will likely include the taking of a mug shot.”

Former President Donald Trump has replaced his top Georgia lawyer ahead of his surrender today at the Fulton County Jail, CNN reports.

Drew Findling, the lawyer who has led Trump’s defense in Georgia, is being replaced by Steven Sadow, an Atlanta based criminal defense attorney.

“A federal judge Wednesday rejected requests by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark’s to block their arrest in the Fulton County, Ga., election case,” The Hill reports.

“They had argued their arrest and the state proceedings should be halted while he attempts to move the case to federal court.”

The two men have until noon Friday to surrender.

Perhaps the most convincing argument by District Attorney Fani Willis in opposing the Meadows and Clark bids to avoid the indignity of surrendering was that the former president was submitting himself to arrest, i.e., what makes them such special snowflakes?

The emergency briefing schedule and quick decision by U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones came ahead of a highly anticipated hearing Monday on Meadows’ motion to remove the case from state to federal court.

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) fired off a sweeping request for documents dealing with former President Trump’s prosecution for election interference in Georgia, asking Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) to turn over all records relating to the case, The Hill reports.

“New revelations have emerged about impeached Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his relationship with indicted Austin developer Nate Paul, who contributed $25,000 to his campaign,” CBS News reports.

“The details come less than three weeks before Paxton faces his impeachment trial in the Texas Senate. They accuse him of using a fake Uber account so he could visit his mistress, and using burner phones and secret personal email accounts as well.”

“The documents, filed by the House impeachment managers, state Paul hired Paxton’s reported mistress at his Austin firm so Paxton could see her more easily, rather than traveling to San Antonio where she once lived.”

Alan Abramowitz: “Negative partisanship is the key to understanding the continuing loyalty of Republican voters to former President Donald Trump. Attacks on Trump by Democrats, liberals, and mainstream media figures and even indictments by federal and state prosecutors on serious criminal charges have only served to reinforce the loyalty of Republican voters to Trump. Republican voters see these attacks and indictments as efforts by the hated opposition party and its allies to weaken the former president and prevent his return to the White House.”

“Similarly, in a general election matchup between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, even Republicans who have reservations about Trump overwhelmingly prefer him to Biden because they believe the portrayal of Biden by Republican leaders and conservative media outlets as a radical leftist and a threat to the survival of the nation.”

“As a result, it appears likely that a rematch between Biden and Trump in 2024 will remain highly competitive with the outcome hinging on a small number of swing voters in a handful of closely contested states — an outcome that could lend itself to attacks on the integrity of the election by the former president and his allies.”

“The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Wednesday the state’s new six-week abortion ban is constitutional, allowing the law to go into effect,” the Columbia State reports.

“The 4-to-1 ruling comes after a new justice was elected and the General Assembly rewrote a previous six-week law. Earlier this year, the previous iteration of the court had ruled 3-2 against a different version of a six-week abortion ban, saying at the time that it violated a woman’s constitutional right to privacy.”

“The South Carolina Supreme Court, made up of five male justices, in June heard oral arguments over whether a revived six-week abortion ban in South Carolina violates a woman’s right to privacy under the state’s constitution. Before Wednesday’s decision, the state’s 20-week abortion law was in place, making South Carolina an unlikely abortion destination in the Southeast.”

“In one of the largest national crackdowns on fraud targeting federal coronavirus aid, the Justice Department on Wednesday said it had brought 718 law enforcement actions in connection with the alleged theft of more than $836 million,” the Washington Post reports.

“The Mar-a-Lago IT employee who, according to a federal court filing, implicated former President Donald Trump and two of his aides in an alleged pressure campaign to delete security camera footage at the Florida resort was advised by special counsel Jack Smith’s team that he would not face perjury charges after he amended his testimony,” CBS News reports.

“A Trump supporter indicted last week in Fulton County, Ga., for allegedly harassing an election worker was charged earlier this year with attacking an FBI agent working on the Justice Department’s parallel investigation of efforts to overturn the 2020 election results,” the Washington Post reports.

“The arrest of Harrison William Prescott Floyd III, which has not been previously reported, offers new information about the breadth of the federal probe led by special counsel Jack Smith, who has charged former president Donald Trump for allegedly attempting to obstruct Joe Biden’s election victory.”

“After having basked in conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, some supporters of former President Donald Trump are worried that a rally Trump is promoting outside the Fulton County Jail in Georgia ahead of his expected surrender in the state election interference case is an FBI setup,” NBC News reports.

“The rally, promoted by the far-right activist Laura Loomer, is expected at 10 a.m. ET Thursday, the day Trump has said he plans to turn himself in.”

“Former president Donald Trump suggested that the United States could see intensifying political violence, saying in a new interview that tensions in the country were reaching a boiling point,” the Washington Post reports. Asked by Tucker Carlson whether the nation is headed toward open conflict, Trump responded: “I don’t know. I can say this: There’s a level of passion that I’ve never seen. There’s a level of hatred that I’ve never seen. And that’s probably a bad combination.”

A new Morning Consult poll finds 61% of potential Republican primary voters said they would still be willing to back Donald Trump — both in the primary and general election — if he were imprisoned.

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

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