Cup of Joe – September 17, 2023

“Citing threats against individuals former President Donald Trump has targeted, Special Counsel Jack Smith is asking a federal judge for a narrowly tailored gag order that restricts the 2024 presidential candidate from making certain extrajudicial statements about the election interference case brought against him,” NBC News reports.

“Newly unsealed court records indicate special counsel Jack Smith’s team warned that former President Trump could ‘precipitate violence’ unless the court shielded its efforts to obtain information on his Twitter account,” The Hill reports.

“The records show Smith’s office obtained a total of 32 direct messages from Trump’s account as part of its investigation, with a copy of the warrant also unsealed Friday showing the breadth of the information prosecutors sought.”

The attorney for Hunter Biden, who is facing felony gun charges, said that the statute is “likely unconstitutional” and he expects “the case will be dismissed before trial,” ABC News reports.

“While the criminal statutes cited in the indictment are clear — it is a crime to lie on a gun application form or to possess a firearm as a drug user – Hunter Biden’s attorney suggested that the charges could be unconstitutional, citing a recent appeals court ruling that drug use alone should not automatically prevent someone from obtaining a gun.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden will not pardon Hunter Biden if he’s convicted on federal charges, NBC News reports.

Associated Press: “Now, roughly 13,000 of 146,000 workers at the three companies are on strike, making life complicated for automakers’ operations, while limiting the drain on the union’s $825 million strike fund.”

“If the contract negotiations drag on — and the strikes expand to affect more plants — the costs will grow for workers and the companies. Auto dealers could run short of vehicles, raising prices and pushing customers to buy from foreign automakers with nonunionized workers. It could also put fresh stress on an economy that’s been benefiting from easing inflation.”

“The hard-right Alternative for Germany Party has polled more than 30 per cent support in the key state of Brandenburg for the first time,” the Times of London reports.

“Ahead of elections next year — in a state which encircles Berlin and has been controlled by the center-left SPD for more than 30 years — AfD support now stands at 32 percent, according to the poll. The SPD was trailing on 20 percent.”

The Economist: “Across much of Europe, populist right-wing parties are going from strength to strength. In Hungary, Italy and Poland they hold power. In Finland, Sweden and Switzerland they have a share of it. In Germany polls put the Alternative for Germany party at 22%, up from 10% in the election in 2021. In France the National Rally, the biggest hard-right party, has 24% support. Add in 5% for Reconquest, another anti-immigrant party, and the hard right becomes the biggest voting block in the country.”

“Ken Paxton and his MAGA allies framed his stunning impeachment trial as the last gasp of the GOP’s weakened establishment,” Politico reports.

“But as the trial nears its conclusion — a decision could come as early as this weekend — what the Paxton saga truly laid bare is something that’s far less revealing about the establishment wing of the party than about its MAGA base.”

“Even if he avoids conviction, Paxton has been damaged, with an ideological mix of Republicans aligned against him and his public approval rating ticking down. If the Texas trial proves anything, it’s that there may be at least some limits to the partisan tribalism of the Trump era.”

New York Times: Texas senators begin to deliberate Paxton impeachment.

Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) night inside a Denver theater “was way more handsy than it initially appeared — new video shows her groping her date’s crotch as he aggressively paws at her breast,” TMZ reports.

“As Biden tries to sell Americans on an economic rebound, most Americans aren’t buying it,” a new USA Today/Suffolk University poll “reveals major concerns about the state of the economy and little hope of people’s outlook improving.”

“What’s worse for the incumbent president, Americans say they trust Donald Trump − not Biden − to fix it.”

Also incredible: “Nearly 70% of Americans said the economy is getting worse, while only 22% said the economy is improving.”

“The White House plans to send a letter to top US news executives on Wednesday, urging them to intensify their scrutiny of House Republicans after Speaker Kevin McCarthy launched an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, despite having found no evidence of a crime,” CNN reports.

“The Justice Department has quietly abandoned one of the last prosecutions stemming from investigations into alleged foreign influence over Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign,” Politico reports.  “In a court filing Monday, prosecutors indicated they’re giving up their long-running quest to convict Bijan Rafiekian, a California businessman and former business partner of Trump ally Michael Flynn, on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey amid Trump’s successful White House bid seven years ago.”

“The California professor who testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had assaulted her while they were in high school has written a memoir,” the AP reports. “Christine Blasey’s Ford’s One Way Back is scheduled for publication next March.” According to St. Martin’s Press, she will share “riveting new details about the lead-up” to her testimony in 2018; “its overwhelming aftermath,” when she allegedly received death threats and was unable to live at her home; and “how people unknown to her around the world restored her faith in humanity.”

“Fraudsters may have stolen as much as $135 billion in federal unemployment aid during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office, which found the theft encompassed roughly one out of every seven dollars set aside for jobless Americans during the public health crisis,” the Washington Post reports.

“A federal appeals court will quickly consider former President Donald Trump’s claim that presidential immunity protects him from being held liable for statements he made in 2019 when he denied that he sexually attacked a New York writer in the 1990s,” the AP reports.

Attacks on the U.S. power grid are on the rise, threatening to upend lives all across the country, Politico reports. “Utilities reported 60 incidents they characterized as physical threats or attacks on major grid infrastructure, in addition to two cyberattacks, during the first three months of 2023 alone… That’s more than double the number from the same period last year.”

“TikTok’s China-based parent company and the U.S. government are back at the negotiating table over the fate of the immensely popular video app in the United States,” the Washington Post reports. “The renewal comes six months after the Biden administration told ByteDance that it was done negotiating and that the Chinese company had basically two options: Sell TikTok or wait for Congress to pass a bill that could ban the app nationwide.”

Associated Press: TikTok is hit with $368 million fine under Europe’s strict data privacy rules.

“Republicans who took the top spots on House committees this year have, all combined, raised 86% more in campaign donations in the first six months of 2023 than they did in the same period two years ago,” Bloomberg Government reports.

“A U.S. supercomputer guru says three next-generation supercomputers may already be up and running in China, a greater number than any other country, but that the world knows little about them because of U.S. sanctions,” the South China Morning Post reports.

Bill Maher announced he will bring back his HBO show even though his writers are still on strike: “I will honor the spirit of the strike by not doing a monologue, desk piece, New Rules or editorial, the written pieces that I am so proud of on Real Time. And I’ll say it upfront to the audience: the show I will be doing without my writers will not be as good as our normal show, full stop. But the heart of the show is an off-the-cuff panel discussion that aims to cut through the bullshit and predictable partisanship, and that will continue.”

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

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