Cup of Joe – August 31, 2023

Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis is asking the judge in Donald Trump’s racketeering and election interference case to fast-track all 19 of the defendants — not just Kenneth Chesebro, who specifically asked for a speedy trial.

“Some Republicans in Washington and Georgia began attacking Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis immediately after she announced the Aug. 14 indictment of former President Donald Trump for conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election results,” the AP reports.

“But others, including Gov. Brian Kemp, have been conspicuous in their unwillingness to pile on.”

CBS News: “Trump is considering waiving his arraignment appearance, which is scheduled for the morning of Sept. 6… He is charged with 13 felony counts related to an alleged scheme to overturn the results of the presidential election in Georgia.”

“Fulton County Superior Court allows defendants to appear virtually for arraignments or waive their right to appear at all. Instead, a defendant’s attorney would enter a not guilty plea in writing.”

“The special session of the Tennessee General Assembly ended in chaos, including pushing and shoving between lawmakers and shouting from the public,” WKRN reports.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) can be seen on video shoving state Rep. Justin Pearson (D) on the floor as he was walking out.

“A judge ruled Wednesday that Peter Navarro, a Trump White House adviser charged with criminal contempt of Congress, cannot argue to a jury that he was barred by executive privilege from providing testimony and documents to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol,” the Washington Post reports.

“Navarro, who has written and spoken extensively about his role in efforts to reverse former president Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat, is set to go on trial in the contempt case next week in U.S. District Court in Washington.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared to freeze again during a gaggle with reporters in Covington, Kentucky, stopping for more than 30 seconds after he was asked if he would run for re-election, NBC News reports.

When it became apparent that McConnell had frozen again on Wednesday, an aide came up to him and asked, “Did you hear the question, senator?”

video shows McConnell continued to be unresponsive.

President Biden commented on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appearing to freeze again at an event in his home state of Kentucky on Wednesday, CBS News reports.

Said Biden: “He is a good friend, so I’m going to try to get in touch with him later this afternoon.”

President Biden said his administration has been in “constant contact” with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as the state braces for Hurricane Idalia to make landfall, The Hill reports.

Said Biden: “We’re providing everything he could possibly need. We’re in constant contact… I told the governor, and the mayor of the region that’s likely to be hit first, that we’re there as long as it takes, and we’ll make sure they have everything they need.”

“Florida Senator Rick Scott says he will seek a vote on replenishing the depleted federal disaster relief fund next week as his state’s Gulf Coast is on track to get pummeled by Hurricane Idalia,” Bloomberg reports.

Politico: “The Inflation Reduction Act makes Florida eligible for some $350 million in energy efficiency incentives. But Gov. Ron DeSantis has rejected the funding and other measures, creating the most prominent blockade by any Republican governor against Biden’s economic agenda.”

“And there’s nothing the White House can do besides hope he changes his mind.”

Bloomberg: “Donald Trump’s proposal to institute a 10% tariff on almost all imports would cost American consumers $300 billion a year, result in the loss of 550,000 US jobs, and cut growth by 0.7%, according to a new analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.”

“If other countries retaliate by imposing tariffs on US goods, the economic damage could be even greater.”

“A federal judge on Wednesday issued a default judgment against former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and imposed sanctions on him in a civil conspiracy lawsuit filed by two Georgia election workers he had claimed mishandled ballots in the 2020 presidential contest,” CNBC reports.

New York Times: “Judge Howell’s decision came a little more than a month after Mr. Giuliani conceded in two stipulations in the case that he had made false statements when he accused the election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, of manipulating ballots while working at the State Farm Arena for the Fulton County Board of Elections.”

“Mr. Giuliani later sought to explain that his stipulations were solely meant to get past a dispute with Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss about discovery evidence in the case and move toward dismissing the allegations outright. But Judge Howell, complaining that Mr. Giuliani’s stipulations ‘hold more holes than Swiss cheese,’ took the proactive step of declaring him liable for ‘defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy and punitive damage claims.’”

“The Senate is preparing its first big move in the fall spending fight,” Politico reports.

“Chuck Schumer is tentatively planning to bring up several spending bills for floor votes in mid-September, as the Senate majority leader works with Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and ranking member Susan Collins (R-ME) to prepare the bills for prime time. Democrats hope it will set up a stark bipartisan contrast with the House, which has already struggled to pass GOP-backed funding bills ahead of the Sept. 30 shutdown deadline.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) didn’t mince words Wednesday when discussing the hurdles Washington faces in preventing a government shutdown next month, The Hill reports.

Said McConnell: “It’s a pretty big mess.”

He added: “The Speaker and the president reached an agreement which I supported in connection with raising the debt ceiling to set spending levels for next year. The House then turned around and passed spending levels that were below that level. Without stating an opinion about that, that’s not going to be replicated in the Senate.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) accused fellow Republicans of hypocrisy by threatening a government shutdown to force spending cuts after being “quiet as little lambs” about spending when Donald Trump was in office, Semafor reports.

Said Romney: “A little less hypocrisy would be a good thing.”

“Millions more Americans would be eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week, under a new rule proposed by the Biden administration,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The Labor Department said Wednesday that workers who make around $55,000 a year or less would now be eligible for overtime by default. That would raise the annual salary threshold from the current $35,568 a year, which was set by the Trump administration. The median full-time worker in the U.S. makes around $57,000 a year, according to the Labor Department.”

House Republicans are likely to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Biden without a formal vote on the House floor — precisely the move they criticized former Speaker Nancy Pelosi for in 2019, Politico reports.

At the time, Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused Democrats of pursuing “a process completely devoid of any merit or legitimacy.”

Said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) back then: “It’s not impeachment unless there is a vote.”

“Russian officials on Wednesday accused Ukraine of launching what appeared to be the biggest nighttime drone attack on Russian soil since the war began 18 months ago,” the AP reports.

Russia has informed Brazil’s aircraft investigation authority that it will not probe the crash of the Brazilian-made Embraer jet that killed mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin under international rules “at the moment,” Reuters reports.

“Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia, appeared in a video released on Monday by a Kremlin-backed news network, giving his family a chance to see him for the first time in three years,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Whelan, a former Marine serving a 16-year sentence on what U.S. officials say are bogus espionage charges, has been largely out of sight since he was convicted by a Russian court in June 2020, although he has been visited by Western diplomats.”

“Russia has charged a former U.S. consulate employee with collecting information for Washington on the war in Ukraine,” NBC News reports.

“At a time when trust in institutions is at an all-time low, Americans still seem to have faith in their fellow citizens serving on juries,” the New York Times reports. “Nearly 60 percent of Americans say they have at least a fair amount of trust in juries, according to a new survey — higher than for any other group in the judicial system.”

“But that trust may soon be put to the test, as former President Donald J. Trump appears to be headed for multiple trials in the coming year.”

“When asked specifically about Mr. Trump’s upcoming trials, a majority of Americans — Democrats, Republicans and independents — said they did not think the courts would be able to seat impartial jurors.”

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) named Lana Myers, a former state appeals court judge in North Texas, “as his counsel for the upcoming impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton,” the Texas Tribune reports.  “It was Patrick’s second effort at selecting a legal adviser for the trial after his first pick, Marc Brown, backed out amid questions about his impartiality.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) “is used to being a lightning rod. Since her election in 2018, she has been celebrated and vilified by both parties, sometimes simultaneously,” the New York Times reports.

“Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, though, is no longer the freshman outsider. Now in her third term, with a high-ranking position on a powerful House committee, she has learned to maneuver in Congress, making allies on the left and working with her political adversaries. She says that might make the progressive wing of her party “suspicious,” but she’s comfortable having more influence on the inside.”

“The white gunman who killed three Black people at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, over the weekend wore a Rhodesian army patch on his tactical vest, law enforcement sources say, a reference that has been used before during white supremacist attacks,” NBC News reports.

“The patch — representing Rhodesia, a former white minority-ruled territory in southern Africa in the 1960s and ’70s that would become Zimbabwe — is yet another symbol of how the shooter, Ryan Palmeter, was racist and was influenced by racist ideology, investigators say.”

Alabama state Rep. David Cole (R) was arrested Tuesday on felony voter fraud charges accusing him of voting in a district where he did not live, the AP reports. The arrest comes after accusations that Cole did not live in the district in which he was elected.

Ohio state Rep. Bob Young (R) was arrested for the second time in two months after he allegedly violated a protection order stemming from his first arrest on domestic violence charges, Ohio Capital Journal reports.

“Almost 42 million Americans – over one-eighth of the US population – are estimated to have lived within one mile of a mass shooting since 2014,” CNN reports.

Former New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, who rescued the company from its financial nadir and morphed it into a best-in-class digital media behemoth, will become the next chairman and CEO of CNN, Puck reports.

Canada is advising travelers to the U.S. to be wary of state laws affecting LGBTQ+ people, Axios reports.

Wall Street Journal: “During the 2016 presidential campaign, Jeffrey Epstein began setting up meetings with people close to Donald Trump. He introduced some of them to another of his associates, a top Russian diplomat.”

“Although Trump was a sizable underdog to Hillary Clinton, Epstein began saying in 2016 that he thought Trump could win, and the convicted sex offender bragged about how many people in Trump’s orbit that he knew.”

“John Eastman, a Trump-allied lawyer indicted in connection with efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia, is among more than 100 of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ former law clerks defending Thomas’ integrity in an open letter,” NBC News reports.

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

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