Cup of Joe – October 3, 2023

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has filed a motion to vacate, seeking to remove Kevin McCarthy from the speakership. The leadership has two legislative days to call up the resolution for a vote.

“Gaetz said he’ll bring the motion up as many times as it takes to boot McCarthy,” Punchbowl News reports. Said Gaetz: “Well, like I’ve said, it took Speaker McCarthy 15 votes to become the speaker. So until I get to 14 or 15, I don’t think I’m being any more dilatory.”

Punchbowl News: “The math here for McCarthy is tricky. It’s feasible that there will be 20 or more Republicans who could vote against him. That would have to be offset by an equal amount of Democratic yes votes, which is what Gaetz wants.”

“The question then becomes can McCarthy really survive inside the Republican conference after losing that many GOP votes? McCarthy’s leadership team knows that’s problematic. McCarthy will run into trouble on rule votes and other party-line procedural measures if he relies on Democrats to keep him in the speaker’s chair.”

“Making it more dicey for McCarthy is that Gaetz has signaled he’ll keep filing these motions until the speaker is gone. But this threat cuts both ways. Gaetz loses the shock value of his motion every time he offers it. McCarthy, though, risks having his support slowly melt away as members tire of walking the plank for him.”

Playbook: “Now for the big question driving the week. There’s plenty of speculation that Democrats might help step in and help save McCarthy’s gavel. But in conversation after conversation with Democrats yesterday, we heard nothing but scorn for McCarthy.”

“The party is still smarting that McCarthy refused their pleas to give Democrats a mere 90 minutes to read the CR text on Saturday. And they were downright disgusted to see McCarthy blame their party for the shutdown brinkmanship on ‘Face the Nation’ yesterday — just hours after they put up votes to help him pass the CR.” Said one senior Democratic aide: “It was an astonishing show of bad faith. The dumbest political move I’ve seen in a long time. You need us, you fucking idiot!”

“Beyond that, Democrats have massive trust issues with McCarthy — particularly after he reneged on the budget caps deal he struck with the White House.”

Politico: McCarthy’s speakership now at the mercy of Dems.

Punchbowl News: “House Democratic leadership told us they haven’t heard anything from Speaker Kevin McCarthy about his quest to retain the speakership. The conventional wisdom was McCarthy would need Democrats to survive.”

“But more importantly, leadership sources tell us that their caucus – ranging from progressives to moderates – won’t help protect McCarthy unless he makes substantial changes to the way the House works.”

“In other words, helping McCarthy won’t come for free.”

Said House Minority Whip Katherine Clark: “If and when we have a motion to vacate, we will come together as a caucus and we’re gonna have a discussion about how to best move forward that’s in the best interest of families at home. And we just have to wait and see how this civil war plays out.”

“Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) called on Democrats to back Speaker Kevin McCarthy if Rep. Matt Gaetz follows through on his pledge to file a motion to vacate against McCarthy this week,” Politico reports. Said Fitzpatrick: “Substitute out Kevin McCarthy’s name for Hakeem Jeffries or anyone else. If the situation were reversed and the Squad tried to do the same to Hakeem Jeffries, should he be speaker at some point, I can tell you what I would do on the first and 100th vote: I would vote to table it, because I don’t think that sends the right message.”

“House GOP members are preparing a motion to expel Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) amid his renewed threat to pursue a motion to vacate House Speaker Kevin McCarthy,” Fox News reports.“The House Republican members will seek to expel Gaetz if the ethics committee report comes back with findings of guilt… One member told Fox News the report is mostly written but does not know what it contains.”

“Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) wants to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for working across the aisle to stop a government shutdown — but some Democrats are not on board,” Axios reports. Said one senior Democrat: “I see almost no way that Matt gets most of the Dems. Many will vote present if they don’t vote No on Hakeem Jeffries’ recommendation.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) “absolutely” would vote to remove McCarthy, Politico reports. Said Ocasio-Cortez: “Would I cast that vote, absolutely. I think Kevin Mccarthy is a very weak speaker. He has clearly lost control of his caucus.”

“I’ll survive. This is personal with Matt.”— Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), quoted by Axios, on Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) promised attempt to oust him this week.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned Sunday that ousting Speaker Kevin McCarthy would be a “disaster” for Republicans, Politico reports.

Said Graham: “I think Kevin is the right guy at the right time. The only way he loses his job is if a handful of Republicans join up with the Democratic party to fire him. That would be a disaster for the future of the Republican party.”

Playbook: “If McCarthy survives with the help of Democratic votes, Gaetz will no doubt relentlessly attack him, as he has already, as ‘the Democrats’ speaker.’ The overall effort will have done a lot of damage. What if Gaetz offers a second MTV, as anyone who knows him realizes he surely would, and McCarthy again has to survive with Democratic help? What happens on the second or third vote? Does Gaetz garner more Republican support? Does McCarthy need to find more Democratic support? There’s no limit to how many times Gaetz could do this. Eventually, this would become untenable for McCarthy.”

“So Democrats who take a position on the first MTV will need to consider that they may be locking themselves into a position on a vote that might be repeated.”

And this is key: “McCarthy has a card to play if he survives the first (or more) attack from Gaetz. He could try to pass a rule that raises the threshold for a motion to vacate from one member, where it is now, to, say, 10 members. How would he get the votes? Perhaps some of the Democrats who cut a deal to save McCarthy agree to vote for this rule as well. That would finally decapitate Gaetz.”

“The truth is we shouldn’t be here in the first place. It shouldn’t have gotten here in the first place. It’s time to end governing by crisis, and keep your word when you give it in the Congress.”— President Biden, quoted by Politico, on Saturday’s stunning turnaround on a government funding bill.

 “As the nation’s capital seemed to be barreling toward another debilitating federal government shutdown this weekend, America, well, did not exactly seem to be on the edge of its collective seat,” the New York Times reports.

“Those are probably not signs of public confidence that the nation’s leaders would somehow avoid plummeting off the cliff at the last minute, even though, surprisingly, they did. Instead, they may indicate that America at this point assumes that Washington actually will go over the cliff, because that is what Washington does these days. After all, the 11th-hour congressional deal that kept the government open lasts only until mid-November.”

“America, it seems, has come to expect crisis.”

“From Mitch McConnell on down, the Senate’s pro-Ukraine coalition is trying to reassure the U.S. ally that help will soon be on the way — even after a bruising GOP confrontation over keeping the government open snuffed out billions in immediate new aid,” Politico reports.

“But for that bipartisan group — which has served as a bulwark against growing House Republican opposition to continued aid — the past week has been a rude awakening. Not until now has the depth of division and tricky politics within the Republican Party been so apparent. And Senate leaders are now doing damage control after the omission of Ukraine aid and plotting to ensure a continued stream of military aid to Ukraine.”

Joe Perticone: “The absence of Ukraine aid is significant. The actual dollar amount isn’t—the $300 million that would have gone to Ukraine is just a small fraction of the budget—but it shows how far off the deep end the Republican party has become on this issue. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to hold firm as the upper chamber was gearing up for its own continuing resolution with Ukraine aid attached. But when he polled his Republican colleagues in the Senate on whether it was worth fighting for, a majority of the conference overruled him, including one his top deputies, Sen. John Thune (R-SD). McConnell is rarely put in such a position by his Senate Republican colleagues.”

“This change shows how drastically the GOP has changed on what was once a pillar of its foreign policy platform (i.e., funding pro-Western governments fighting back against Russian aggression). Now, the primary opposition to financially backing Ukraine in the United States is coming solely from the GOP—and this movement has enough support to overrule the Republican leadership.”

“The Supreme Court on Monday denied an effort by lawyer John Eastman to appeal a ruling that found he may have acted criminally with the legal advice he gave former President Trump,” The Hill reports.

“It spurred a rare recusal from Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife corresponded with the California attorney in the weeks ahead of Jan. 6.”

“The $250 million civil fraud trial that could see Donald Trump permanently banned from doing business in New York is set to kick off Monday,” CNBC reports.

“The trial, whose start Trump says he plans to attend, comes a year after New York Attorney General Letitia James sued him, his company, three of his adult children, and top Trump Organization officials.”

Before entering the court for his fraud trial in New York City, Donald Trump claimed that Mar-a-Lago may be worth more than $1 billion. Then why did he value it at $26 million with the government and the banks? Hence, your fraud trial, Donald. Enjoy losing.

Donald Trump unleashed an angry rant at 1 a.m. on Truth Social, just hours before his fraud trial began:

“I’m going to Court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and reputation against a corrupt and racist Attorney General, Letitia James, who campaigned on ‘getting Trump,’ and a Trump Hating Judge who is unfair, unhinged, and vicious in his PURSUIT of me. He values Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida, at 18 Million Dollars, when it is worth 50 to 100 times that amount. His valuations are FRAUDULENT in pursuit of Election Interference, and worse. THIS WHOLE CASE IS A SHAM!!! See you in Court – Monday morning.”

The Independent: Trump’s fraud trial could expose his “fantasy world” – and seriously damage his business interests.

Los Angeles Times: “Five years after he survived a bruising Senate confirmation, Kavanaugh has left little doubt about his conservative credentials, joining the 6-3 majority to roll back abortion rights and affirmative action. He voted to expand gun rights, block climate change policies and halt student loan forgiveness.”

“But Kavanaugh has shown he is not always a predictable vote, especially for the most conservative positions. He often joins Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to hold the middle, and sometimes joins liberals to form a surprising 5-4 majority.”

“Some of the issues and political stalemates that haunt the Supreme Court are returning for the term that begins Monday, accompanied by another concern: how to convince the public that the justices take seriously their ethical obligations,” the Washington Post reports. “Reports about some justices hobnobbing with billionaire friends on lavish trips and maintaining ties to those who have business before the court have become the elephant in the courtroom.”

 “The Supreme Court said Monday that it will not take up a longshot challenge to Donald Trump’s eligibility to run for president because of his alleged role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol,” CNN reports.

“The case was denied without any comment or recorded vote.”

General Mark Milley spoke to Lester Holt of NBC News, just days after his retirement from his role as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

HOLT: A few days before the election, you were making it known that the army, the military, would play no role in determining the outcome of the election. Why did you feel the need to say that? Was that a specific concern that you had?

MILLEY: There was a lot of discussion in the open media, about the U.S. military, what role we would play and so on. So, I wanted to make sure it was clear to the American people, to our adversaries, to our friends and allies overseas, but also to our own force, to us wearing the uniform, that we have zero, and I mean, zero role in U.S. electoral politics.

“North Carolina’s new $300 billion state budget contains a provision that gives extraordinary investigative powers to a partisan oversight committee co-chaired by Senate Leader Phil Berger (R) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R),” Popular Information reports.

“The Joint Legislative Committee on Government Operations — or Gov Ops for short — is empowered to seize ‘any document or system of record’ from anyone who works in or with state and local government during its investigations.”

Brian Klass: “When Joe Biden didn’t trip but nearly tripped last week, it was headline news. How absurd is that? A candidate who didn’t quite fall over is a bigger news story than a candidate calling to execute shoplifters?”

“This is what I call the Banality of Crazy—and it’s warping the way that Americans think about politics in the Trump and post-Trump era…”

“The press has an obligation to convey magnitude, not just novelty. Newspapers and TV channels have limited time and space to discuss political events. In a political world in which an authoritarian contender for the presidency is floating the idea of shoplifting executions and killing generals, maybe, just maybe it’s not worth the space or time to discuss a brief stumble or a dog bite?”

“Donald Trump on Sunday told a campaign rally in Iowa that he would prefer to die by electrocution rather than be eaten by a shark if he ever found himself on a rapidly sinking, electrically powered boat,” The Guardian reports.

Said Trump: “If I’m sitting down and that boat is going down and I’m on top of a battery and the water starts flooding in, I’m getting concerned, but then I look 10 yards to my left and there’s a shark over there, so I have a choice of electrocution and a shark, you know what I’m going to take? Electrocution.”

He added: “I will take electrocution every single time, do we agree?”

“The Fulton County district attorney’s office has issued a subpoena to former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik to testify in the first trial later this month in the case stemming from election subversion plots in Georgia,” CNN reports.

“But Kerik’s lawyer, Tim Parlatore, is demanding that his client be granted immunity in exchange for testifying, pointing out that prosecutors indicated in the indictment that Kerik was a ‘co-conspirator’ in the case.”

Donald Trump took to Truth Social to ask when Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) will be punished for pulling a House fire alarm.

Said Trump: “Will Congressman Jamal Bowman be prosecuted and imprisoned for very dangerously pulling and setting off the main fire alarm system in order to stop a Congressional vote that was going on in D.C. His egregious act is covered on tape, a horrible display of nerve and criminality.”

“Britain’s government wants to deploy military instructors to Ukraine, in addition to training Ukrainian armed forces in Britain or other Western countries as at present,” Reuters reports.

Bloomberg says a recession still may come: “The bottom line: history, and data, suggest the consensus has gotten a little too complacent — just as it did before every US downturn of the past four decades.”

“I think the best way to understand what happened today is this shutdown was simply too stupid even for the House.”— Brendan Buck, former aide to Speaker John Boehner and Speaker Paul Ryan, on X.

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) announced that she is considering resigning from Congress over the impasse on creating a federal debt commission.

Donald Trump raged to an Iowa crowd this afternoon, Rolling Stone reports. Said Trump: “It’s no wonder the far left lunatics are getting desperate to stop our movement by any means necessary. As you know, crooked Joe Biden and his radical left thugs have weaponized law enforcement to arrest their leading opponent on fake and phony charges. I got arrested four times in the last — it’s almost like I wake up in the morning, ‘Do you think they’ll arrest me today?’ I never got arrested before. It’s a terrible thing.”

He added: “Every time the radical Democrats indict me, I consider it a great honor. Because I’m being indicted for you.”

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

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