Cup of Joe – August 26, 2023

Judge Scott McAfee accepted Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ proposed October 23rd trial date for the 2020 election interference case, but only for Kenneth Chesebro who had filed for a speedy trial.

The action effectively severs Chesebro from the other 18 defendants, including Donald Trump, “at this time.”

“Georgia prosecutors asked a state judge to schedule Donald Trump’s racketeering trial for Oct. 23, 2023, an unexpectedly expedited timeline that they proposed in response to a formal demand by one of Trump’s 18 codefendants for a speedy trial,” Politico reports.

“The demand came Wednesday from Kenneth Chesebro, an attorney who is accused of orchestrating a scheme to send false electors to Congress. His speedy trial demand seeks to force a quick trial that comes within, or shortly after, the term of the grand jury that issued the indictment against Trump and his allies. On Thursday morning, Chesebro asked for an “expedited” arraignment to facilitate his speedy trial effort.

Mark Meadows, the former White House Chief of Staff, has been granted $100,000 bond Thursday after his attorneys met with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has surrendered to be booked on charges brought against him by local prosecutors in Georgia for his alleged role in schemes to overturn the 2020 election results in the state,” CNN reports.

“Meadows has been charged with two crimes: Violating Georgia’s RICO act — an anti-racketeering law — and soliciting a public officer to violate their oath.”

His mugshot was released.

This just doesn’t seem like the most effective way to win over swing voters.

Donald Trump made his return to Twitter tonight by posting his mugshot.

Kaitlan Collins noted on CNN the “irony” of Donald Trump posting his mugshot on Twitter with the message “Never Surrender” — literally just hours after surrendering.

“Donald Trump’s team had discussed the former president’s mugshot prior to him taking it at the Fulton County jail Thursday evening,” CNN reports. “Trump ultimately decided he wanted to appear ‘defiant’ in the shot, and purposefully chose not to smile.”

New York Times: “As usual, he is dressed in the colors of the American flag: navy suit, white shirt, bright red tie — though his typical flag lapel pin is either absent or invisible in the picture. He glowers out from beneath his brows, unsmiling, eyes rendered oddly bloodshot, brow furrowed, chin tucked in, as if he is about to head-butt the camera.”

Donald Trump said Georgia officials “insisted” he have a mugshot taken Thursday night during processing at the Fulton County Jail, telling Fox News that doing so was “not a comfortable feeling—especially when you’ve done nothing wrong.”

Said Trump: “They insisted on a mugshot and I agreed to do that. This is the only time I’ve ever taken a mugshot.”

It’s Georgia law to have a mug shot taken of every defendant, no matter what. If Trump did not agree to it, it would still happen, by force if necessary.

CNN’s Jake Tapper said the look on Donald Trump’s face in his Georgia mug shot is one he’s used before to appear menacing ― but New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said there’s more to it than that.

“It isn’t just that he wants to look menacing, which is certainly true, and he has made that kind of face in photos for years and years and years,” she said. “He doesn’t want to look weak, and that’s what that’s about.”

“The people of this country have a right to hear that evidence and to know the truth before they cast their vote and to do everything reasonably possible to be able to accomplish that.” — Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, arguing on The Axe Files that voters should see the special counsel’s evidence against Donald Trump.

“The plane carrying Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner paramilitary group, crashed as the result of an assassination plot but doesn’t appear to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The preliminary U.S. government assessments, which officials stressed are incomplete, suggest that a bomb exploded on the aircraft or that some other form of sabotage caused the crash northwest of Moscow.”

Tom Nichols: “Killing Prigozhin and his lieutenants makes sense, at least according to the Mafia logic that governs Putin’s Kremlin. Prigozhin not only threatened Putin’s authority; he humiliated him. During Prigozhin’s ragged rebellion, Putin was visibly furious, but he soon agreed to meet Prigozhin for a discussion in Moscow. For a gangster boss like Putin, having to meet with the man who betrayed him must have been intolerable: The Russian president has reportedly ordered people killed for far less than marching on the capital.”

“If the plane crash was an execution, however, plenty of questions remain. Why now? And why in Russia? There are several indications that this was not a random aviation accident, but a signature move by the Putin regime to remind Russians, and especially Russia’s elites, that no one survives opposing the Kremlin’s master.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin “just made his first comments on Yevgeny Prigozhin’s apparent death, speaking about him in the past tense in a meeting broadcast on television,” the New York Times reports.

Said Putin: “This was a person with a complicated fate. He made some serious mistakes in life, but he also achieved necessary results.”

Wall Street Journal: “For years, Prigozhin had been increasingly living on the run, changing between wigs to impersonate bearded Arab military officers while refueling his jet in the dwindling number of airports that would grant him permission to land.”

New York Times: “Mr. Prigozhin may have been brutally effective, throwing tens of thousands of his fighters into the maw of the battle for Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, tying up Ukrainian forces in the process and hobbling Kyiv’s ability to stage a counteroffensive. His internet ‘troll farm’ helped the Kremlin interfere in the 2016 American presidential election, while his mercenary empire helped Russia exert influence across Africa and the Middle East.”

“But with his June rebellion, Mr. Prigozhin threatened something even more sensitive: Mr. Putin’s own hold on power. After the crash of Mr. Prigozhin’s plane on Wednesday, the Kremlin appears to be sending the message that no degree of effectiveness and achievement can protect someone from punishment for violating Mr. Putin’s loyalty.”

“Prosecutors in Arizona are ‘aggressively’ ramping up their criminal probe into the 2020 fake electors plot aimed at keeping then-President Donald Trump in power,” Rolling Stone reports.

“They’re not just looking at the fake electors, though. Rudy Giuliani is also now high on their list.”

“Investigators assigned to the case by Arizona’s Democratic attorney general Kris Mayes have recently asked potential witnesses and other individuals specific questions not only about Giuliani’s behind-the-scenes conduct, but that of other key Trump lieutenants at the time, as well.”

Tom Nichols: “The GOP has mutated from a political party into an angry, unfocused, sometimes violent countercultural movement, whose members signal tribal solidarity by hating whatever they think most of their fellow citizens support. 

Ukraine? To hell with them! Government agencies? Disband them! Donald Trump? Pardon him!”

“Ramaswamy gained an advantage last night by leaning into the amoral vacuousness of his positions. The other candidates, however, were all trapped in the same thicket of cowardice that has for years ensnared the entire GOP. In a telling moment, one of the moderators, Bret Baier, asked who would support Trump in the general election if he were convicted of crimes. Four  hands shot up almost immediately in response to the question. (So much for the principled conservatism of Haley and Burgum.) DeSantis made the worst call of any of them: He looked around, took stock, and then put his hand up just before Pence, making it 6–2.”

Mark Leibovich: “Donald Trump dropped in for a photo op in Georgia last night—not the usual kibbitz on the hustings for a former president, but a killer visual to end the week with: a mug shot.”

“And just like that, Trump was restored to his accustomed place in the Republican dogpile: everywhere. It was hard to look away, even if you wanted to. Former presidents do not go and get fingerprinted and mug-shotted and perp-walked every day, even the one former president who takes his arraignments in gift packs of four.”

“Clichés are always bad, and sometimes quite wrong, but the conceit that this would be a ‘split screen’ week for the Republican campaign—eight GOP debaters on one screen, Trump’s co-defendants getting processed on the other—was spectacularly amiss from the start. One screen this week would blot out all of the rest.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Thomas Spoehr, a hawkish defense expert, has reportedly submitted his resignation as the old-line conservative think tank ramps up its opposition to U.S. aid to Ukraine, dishonestly framing such funding as a competing with domestic disaster dollars.

 “The Ohio Ballot Board approved language Thursday for a fall measure seeking to establish abortion access as a fundamental right, but one Democratic member blasted it as ‘rife with misleading and defective language,’” the AP reports.

“Key among opponents’ objections is language developed by Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, an abortion opponent, amid warnings the language could face a legal challenge even before the proposal goes before Ohio voters in November.”

“Among the new language, the word ‘fetus’ in the Democrats’ proposal was changed to ‘unborn child’ in the ballot measure.”

Bloomberg: “The outlook for the federal budget right now is essentially unprecedented—crisis-size deficits as far as the eye can see, even though the economy appears to be in good health. That prospect is making investors uneasy, as demonstrated by yields on benchmark 10-year Treasuries climbing above 4.3% this week, their highest levels since 2007.”

“Other borrowing costs are rising in tandem: The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has surged above 7% for the first time in more than two decades.”

“In a pronounced shift, Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York on Thursday forcefully urged President Biden to respond to the influx of migrants arriving in the state, underscoring the urgency of a situation that has vexed Democratic leaders for months,” the New York Times reports.

“More than 100,000 migrants have traveled to New York City from the southern border over the past year, and more than half of them have taken refuge in the city’s shelters, straining the system.”

Sarah Palin responded to Donald Trump’s arrest in Georgia on Thursday night by talking up the possibility of civil war, the Daily Beast reports.

Said Palin: “I want to ask them: What the heck? Do you want us to be in civil war? Because that’s what’s going to happen. We’re not going to keep putting up with this.”

She added: “We need to get angry. We do need to rise up and take our country back.”

Peter Wehner: “Tonight, Trump will be booked in Fulton County, Georgia, for his role in attempting to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential-election results. It’s his fourth indictment; he faces 91 felony counts. That’s four more indictments and 91 more felony counts than all the previous presidents in American history combined. Trump was also found liable earlier this year for sexual abuse. Yet for Republican voters, saying this conduct shouldn’t be normalized is delivering fighting words.”

“The reason is simple: Trump is a revered figure among the GOP base. He is also a political colossus in the Republican Party; no candidate has ever lost the nomination of his party with a polling lead like his. And after Trump is fingerprinted and weighed, and likely has a mug shot taken, at the Rice Street Jail, he is going to be viewed even more favorably by many Republicans. He is, for them, a martyred saint.”

Joe Perticone: “The debate turned out not to be an attempt to reverse course at Fox so much as it was just a routine continuation of the network’s standard operating procedure. Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum moderated by spreading false narratives, enabling demagoguery, and going all in on anecdotal culture-war fodder under the guise of real kitchen-table issues.”

“To gauge the seriousness of the debate, just look at how it started and ended: The opening question was about the song ‘Rich Men North of Richmond.’ The last question was about aliens and UFOs. And everything in between just showed the blurriness of the supposed line between Fox’s supposed ‘straight news’ talent and its opinion hosts.”

Mark Antonio Wright: “After the debate last night, I watched Tucker Carlson’s sit-down interview with Trump. Trump looked old, tired, and frail. He spoke softly. He rambled and meandered through stories, anecdotes, and nicknames for which — if you weren’t deeply engaged in right-wing cable-news chatter — you’d need a guidebook in order to understand the references.”

“He didn’t effectively defend his record or prosecute any arguments. He told the same old stories, he had the same old lines — but the humor is gone. He just talked . . . for 45 minutes.”

Officials released a list of the names of 388 people still unaccounted for after the Maui fire.

WaPo: This latest covid variant could be the best yet at evading immunity

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

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