Cup of Joe – September 7, 2023

“Special counsel Jack Smith is not done with former President Donald Trump and his entourage, despite charging him with four criminal counts over his attempt to overthrow the 2020 election and more than three dozen other charges over his hoarding of classified documents in Florida,” CNN reports.

“The clash between the hard-driving prosecutor and the world’s most famous defendant escalated even further on Tuesday, as new details of Smith’s widening probe into election interference emerged. The special counsel is now looking at how money raised off baseless claims of voter fraud was used to fund attempts to breach voting equipment in several states won by President Joe Biden.”

“In May of last year, shortly after the Justice Department issued a subpoena to former President Donald Trump for all classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump’s then-lead attorney on the matter, Evan Corcoran, warned the former president in person, at Mar-a-Lago, that not only did Trump have to fully comply with the subpoena, but that the FBI might search the estate if he didn’t, according to Corcoran’s audio notes following the conversation,” ABC News reports.

“Only minutes later, during a pool-side chat away from Trump, Corcoran got his own warning from another Trump attorney: If you push Trump to comply with the subpoena, ‘he’s just going to go ballistic,’ Corcoran recalled.”

Justice Department lawyers complained again to Judge Tanya Chutkan about Donald Trump’s barrage of social media posts about his prosecution.

From a court filing: “Defendant’s daily extrajudicial statements that threaten to prejudice the jury pool in this case.”

“Mar-a-Lago IT worker Yuscil Taveras has struck a cooperation agreement with the special counsel’s office in the federal case over former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents,” CNN reports.

“The filing marks the first public acknowledgment that special counsel Jack Smith has won the cooperation of key witnesses as part of his prosecution of Trump, his longtime valet Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos de Oliveira.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) isn’t buying that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is healthy enough to carry out the duties of his role, USA Today reports.

Said Paul: “Everybody’s seen the clips. I don’t think it’s been particularly helpful to have the Senate doctor describing it as dehydration, which I think even a non-physician seeing that probably aren’t really accepting that explanation.”

He added: “From what I’ve seen, it’s a neurological event.”

The Hill: McConnell’s health becomes bigger problem for GOP.

“We might lose 20 seconds a day from Mitch McConnell, but the other 86,380 seconds are just fine. And I’m happy to have him as our leader.”— Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), quoted by NBC News.

“You can’t say that you’re concerned about Joe Biden, but you’re not concerned about Mitch McConnell.”— Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), quoted by Semafor, on the Senate GOP leader’s health.

“Fulton County prosecutors are estimating that their elections interference case against former President Donald Trump and 18 others would take roughly four months to try in court and require testimony from about 150 witnesses,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

A judge in Georgia denied motions from two co-defendants to sever their cases from one another in the racketeering case against Donald Trump, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

The ruling is a win for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, and means Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell will be tried together, beginning Oct. 23.

John Eastman has filed to sever his case from two of his co-defendants — Sidney Powell and Ken Chesebro — who have filed a speedy trial demand in Fulton County.

Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis shot back at the arguments made by three fake electors in Georgia that they’re entitled to move their cases to federal court because they were “federal officers,” Politico reports.

Pretending does not make it so, Willis argued: “Defendant’s argument is akin to claiming that a homemade badge could transform him into a genuine United States Marshal with all the powers afforded that position.”

Wall Street Journal: “If history is any indication, some of those charged will be changing their pleas to guilty in coming months after negotiations with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. She has said she is ready to try all the defendants together as soon as next month, and has been amenable in past racketeering cases to allowing some defendants to plead guilty in exchange for lower recommended sentences.”

“About 98% of federal criminal cases get resolved through plea bargaining, and many state court systems have similar statistics…”

“Trump’s co-defendants have already embarked on divergent legal strategies. Three of them—David Shafer, Cathy Latham and Shawn Still—said in court filings they were acting at Trump’s direction when they participated in an alleged ‘alternate elector‘ scheme. Others have asked to be tried separately from Trump and other defendants.”

Donald Trump told Hugh Hewitt that he will testify at his own upcoming trials: “Oh, yes, absolutely… I look forward to testifying. At trial, I’ll testify.”

“A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that Donald Trump is liable for defamatory statements he made about the writer E. Jean Carroll in 2019 when she went public with claims he had raped her decades earlier,” CNBC reports.

“Judge Lewis Kaplan, as part of that ruling granting Carroll a partial summary judgment, said the upcoming trial for her civil lawsuit against Trump will only deal with the question of how much the former president should pay her in monetary damages.”

CNN: “The finding is a significant blow to Trump, who is facing numerous criminal indictments and civil lawsuits – many of them coming to a head as he embarks on a presidential campaign.”

“Vice President Kamala Harris said Wednesday that those responsible for the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and the ensuing violence at the U.S Capitol must be held accountable — even if that means Donald Trump,” the AP reports.

Said Harris: “Let the evidence, the facts, take it where it may.”

“There’s a warning siren blaring in Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s direction. And the message is that he’s in a prime position to get jammed by the Senate,” Punchbowl News reports.

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is voicing support for the Biden administration’s $40 billion-plus supplemental spending package on Ukraine, border security and domestic disaster relief. Some House Republicans are going to want to split the issue up, especially disaster funding. Others have little or no interest in spending more money on the war in Ukraine.”

“Senate Democratic and GOP leaders are planning to join arms and pass as many as three bipartisan spending bills next week, as we reported Tuesday. Compare that to the House, where Republicans are finding new ways to struggle to pass even the most partisan pieces of legislation.”

“Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Tuesday forecast upcoming moves to force House votes on impeachment, while sending a warning shot to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA),” The Hill reports.

Said Gaetz: “I worked very hard in January to develop a toolkit for House Republicans to use in a productive and positive way. I don’t believe we’ve used those tools as effectively as we should have.”

He added: “That means forcing votes on impeachment. And if Speaker McCarthy stands in our way, he may not have the job long.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a ruling rejecting Alabama’s new congressional map, reports.

“U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on an unannounced visit Wednesday, hours after Russia launched its first missile attack in a week against the Ukrainian capital,” the AP reports.

“Blinken’s trip aimed to assess Ukraine’s 3-month-old counteroffensive and signal continued U.S. support for Kyiv’s efforts to drive out the Kremlin’s forces as some Western allies are expressing worries about progress after 18 months of war, according to U.S. officials.”

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urged lawmakers Wednesday to continue supporting Ukraine, more than a year-and-a-half after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of the country, and as some Republicans have wavered in their commitment to sending aid,” the Washington Post reports.

Said McConnell: “Since Putin’s escalation in Ukraine, President Biden has not been as decisive as many of us would have preferred. But this is no excuse for Congress to compound his administration’s failures with failures of our own.”

Punchbowl News: “The endorsement from McConnell — which came after he again made the case for backing Ukraine’s military effort against Russia — could put him at odds with House Republicans who’ve been hostile toward both the supplemental request and Ukraine funding more broadly.”

“Former Proud Boys leader Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio, convicted of leading the group that one judge called ‘the tip of the spear that allowed people to end up getting into the Capitol’ on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison, the longest sentence yet among the hundreds convicted of disrupting the peaceful transfer of presidential power,” the Washington Post reports.

“Tarrio, 39, was convicted of seditious conspiracy and obstructing the congressional proceeding meant to confirm the 2020 presidential election as part of a riot that U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly said last week broke America’s long democratic tradition of peaceful transfers of power. Tarrio was the last of five Proud Boys to be sentenced after all were convicted in May following a 15-week trial.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) told Newsmax that the sentences given to several participants in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots were evidence of a two-tier justice system.

Said Palin: “It’s so disheartening… It makes the populace lose a lot of faith in our government and that’s an understatement. Unfortunately, what this leads to, when we recognize the examples that you just gave, the two-tier different justice systems that apply according to politics, you know it makes the good guy think what’s the use in being a good guy.”

She added: “We’re gonna be punished, you know, we’re picked on, is what we are under this system. But we can’t feel helpless and hopeless.”

A New York judge denied Donald Trump’s attempt to delay his fraud trial with just nine handwritten words: “Decline to sign; Defendants’ arguments are completely without merit.”

“Donald Trump [had] asked a New York judge to delay a scheduled Oct. 2 trial in state Attorney General Letitia James’ civil fraud lawsuit against the former U.S. president and his family business,” Reuters reports.

“In a Tuesday night filing, Trump said the trial should be ‘briefly’ delayed until three weeks after the judge rules on both sides’ requests for summary judgments, which seek victory on various legal issues without the need for a trial.”

“A liberal group on Wednesday filed a lawsuit to bar former President Donald Trump from the primary ballot in Colorado, arguing he is ineligible to run for the White House again under a rarely used clause in the U.S. Constitution aimed at candidates who have supported an ‘insurrection,’” the AP reports.

“The lawsuit, citing the 14th Amendment, is likely the initial step in a legal challenge that seems destined for the U.S. Supreme Court.”

George Secretary of State Brad Raffensberg (R) writes in the Wall Street Journal that he cannot keep Donald Trump off the ballot in 2024, despite legal arguments that he is ineligible because he has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” America. “Voters should decide elections: That’s the simple lesson of Georgia in 2018 and 2020.”

Federal prosecutors said they plan to bring an indictment against Hunter Biden by end of September, the AP reports.

The new filing comes after a planned plea deal on tax and weapons crimes fell apart when a judge questioned its conditions.

CNN says the new indictment will likely be related to gun charges.

John K. White: “Without live recordings of the proceedings, Americans will be subject to various media interpretations of what happened without witnessing it for themselves…”

“Without cameras, conspiracy theories will proliferate, and Trump, always the master showman, will present his version of the proceedings to the public. Trump’s talent in creating ‘alternative facts‘ is evidenced by the fact that 70 percent of Republicans believe that the 2020 election was stolen, a prerequisite for making him the odds-on-favorite to win his party’s 2024 presidential nomination.” 

Just Security has compiled a handy calendar of all the key events.

“Republicans in Wisconsin are coalescing around the prospect of impeaching a newly seated liberal justice on the state’s Supreme Court, whose victory in a costly, high-stakes election this spring swung the court in Democrats’ favor and threatened the GOP’s iron grip on state politics,” the New York Times reports.

“The push, just five weeks after Justice Janet Protasiewicz joined the court and before she has heard a single case, serves as a last-ditch effort to stop the new 4-to-3 liberal majority from throwing out Republican-drawn state legislative maps and legalizing abortion in Wisconsin.”

“The drama over Republican threats to impeach and possibly remove Justice Protasiewicz could raise new questions about democracy and the legitimacy of elections in a state where G.O.P. lawmakers and their allies spent two years disputing the 2020 presidential contest’s outcome.”

“Republicans on Capitol Hill have hired far more former lobbyists to work in their offices than Democrats in the last year,” Insider reports.

“Data compiled by Legistorm — a website that closely tracks congressional staffers’ job movements and salaries — found that 61 of the 91 former lobbyists who took jobs in partisan offices on Capitol Hill in the last year were hired by Republicans. That amounts to a 64%-36% split.”

“A new book about Joe Biden portrays the president as someone whose middle-class upbringing helped foster a resentment of intellectual elitism that shaped his political career and sometimes caused strain with his onetime boss, Harvard-educated Barack Obama,” the AP reports.

“Biden, who spent eight years as Obama’s vice president, told a friend that Obama couldn’t even curse properly, according to The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future.”

“Released Tuesday and written by Franklin Foer, a staff writer for The Atlantic, the book says Biden said Obama was unable to deliver a ‘fuck you’ with ‘the right elongation of vowels and the necessary hardness of consonants; it was how they must curse in the ivory tower.’”

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