Cup of Joe – November 15, 2023

“Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus took an official position against the two-tiered stopgap funding bill aimed at averting a government shutdown just hours before it is set to come to the floor for a vote on Tuesday,” Axios reports.

“Why it matters: New Speaker Mike Johnson met with the group of conservative hardliners on Monday evening in hopes of selling the bill to skeptics. The group isn’t pleased with the legislation, but doesn’t plan to try to oust Johnson over the move.”

“HFC members are furious that the legislation keeps 2023 funding levels intact.”

“Speaker Mike Johnson is set to face his first big vote on the House floor today — a clean stopgap funding bill designed to avert a government shutdown after Nov. 17,” Punchbowl News reports.

“And just like the GOP speakers before him, Johnson — who came into power vowing he would change the way Washington works — will have to rely on a bailout from House Democrats to pass the bill.”

“Support for Johnson’s ‘two-step CR’ was so soft inside the House Republican Conference that the GOP leadership team decided to consider the bill under suspension of the rules. This circumvents the normal House procedural hurdles yet requires a two-thirds majority for passage, meaning 290 yes votes.”

“As of now, roughly 50 House Republicans are expected to vote against the CR, according to preliminary estimates. But the scale of the internal opposition will be clearer following the GOP conference meeting this morning.”

Bloomberg: Johnson turns to Democrats to press plan to avert shutdown.

The House on Tuesday voted on an overwhelming bipartisan basis to pass a measure keeping the government funded through early 2024. The legislation gives Congress several more months to fully fund the government as the GOP-controlled House struggles to pass annual appropriations bills.

The House voted 336-95 to pass the bill, with 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans voting for the measure. Just two Democrats — Reps. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) — voted against the bill, along with 95 Republicans.

The bill funds some less controversial agency budgets at 2023 levels until Jan. 18 and the rest until Feb. 2. The aim of the two-tiered structure is to give Congress extra time to pass more difficult appropriations bills.

“House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) suggested Monday that Democrats may support the Republicans’ short-term funding bill to prevent a government shutdown — a sharp change of tone that could pave the way for easy passage when the bill hits the floor on Tuesday,” The Hill reports.

“Hakeem Jeffries won’t publicly say that Democrats plan to — once again — bail out the GOP speaker. But many of his members are privately prepared to do just that,” Politico reports.

“Inside a closed-door caucus meeting on Tuesday, Jeffries outlined the various ways that Speaker Mike Johnson’s stopgap spending plan is a win for Democrats, though he didn’t directly tell them how to vote on it later Tuesday. Most importantly, he said, there are no spending cuts and no ‘poison pill’ add-ons.”

“As of now, Jeffries and his leadership team aren’t formally whipping their members to support the GOP’s shutdown-averting spending bill.”

“Years before he played a lead role in trying to help President Donald Trump stay in office after the 2020 election or defended him in two separate Senate impeachment trials, Speaker Mike Johnson bluntly asserted that Mr. Trump was unfit to serve and could be a danger as president,” the New York Times reports.

Said Johnson: “The thing about Donald Trump is that he lacks the character and the moral center we desperately need again in the White House.”

He added: “I am afraid he would break more things than he fixes. He is a hot head by nature, and that is a dangerous trait to have in a Commander in Chief.”

Speaker Mike Johnson said he’s “all in” for former President Donald Trump’s 2024 bid to return to the White House, Politico reports.  Said Johnson: “I have endorsed him wholeheartedly. We have to make Biden a one-term president. We have to do that.”

Michael Tomasky: “We’ve all often wondered whether Donald Trump understands the historical import of what comes out of his mouth. He’s so ill-informed, so proudly ignorant, that it’s easy to think that when he hurls a historical insult, he just doesn’t know.”

“I feel pretty safe in saying that we can now stop giving him the benefit of that particular doubt. His use—twice; once on social media and then repeated in a speech—of the word ‘vermin’ to describe his political enemies cannot be an accident. That’s an unusual word choice. It’s not a smear that one just grabs out of the air. And it appears in history chiefly in one context, and one context only.”

Donald Trump says that a 2021 report that he threatened to leave the Republican Party in a conversation with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel is “bullshit,” The Messenger reports.

“Two top officials on former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign on Monday sought to distance his campaign team from news reports about plans for what he would do if voters return him to the White House,” the New York Times reports.

“Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, who are effectively Mr. Trump’s campaign managers, issued a joint statement after a spate of articles… about plans for 2025 developed by the campaign itself, and trumpeted on the trail by Mr. Trump, as well as efforts by outside groups led by former senior Trump administration officials who remain in direct contact with him.”

“The FBI investigation into Mayor Eric Adams is focused on campaign money, favors and possible foreign influence,” CNN reports.

“Adams has a long and proud relationship with the Turkish-American community of New York City, and he has made a half a dozen trips to Turkey. The FBI is also looking into those trips and one of the locations searched on November 2 was the residence of an executive from Turkish Airlines.”

“The FBI, the sources said, is also looking into contacts with Turkish government officials in New York and in Turkey to determine if a foreign government used a web of businessmen and Turkish expats to curry favor with Adams to further Turkey’s business interests in New York – or even develop a long-term alliance with an American politician who has made no secret about having further political ambitions, including the White House.”

“Fans who attend Pink’s shows this week in Florida will get more than just a performance. The ‘So What‘ singer plans to give out 2,000 books that have been banned from the state’s public schools and libraries,” The Messenger reports.

“Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has evaded two efforts this year to oust him from the House. A third time could end up differently, depending on the results of a long-awaited ethics report this week,” Politico reports.

“The House Ethics Committee is slated to release the findings of its investigation into Santos regarding a slew of charges, including campaign finance fraud and bribery, by Friday. If it’s damning, as many expect, New York Republicans who have called for his removal are likely to move quickly against him.”

Playbook: “While the most recent effort fell short of the requisite two-thirds vote on the House floor with other Republicans arguing against setting the precedent of expelling a member without a conviction, some members who protected Santos have indicated that the ethics report could change their minds.”

Said Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE): “He’ll be out. If he is found guilty by Ethics, he’s gone.”

Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) stood up and tried to fight Teamsters leader Sean O’Brien at a Senate hearing after reading his tweet where O’Brien says he’d take him “any time, any place.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) a “pussy” after he attacked her for lacking the “maturity and experience” to understand the proper way to bring an impeachment vote against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, The Hill reports.

“Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) on Tuesday accused former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) of elbowing him as he passed in a Capitol hallway and chased after the former House leader,” The Hill reports.

“Burchett is one of the eight GOP lawmakers who voted to oust McCarthy from the Speakership.”

 “U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in October amid lower gasoline prices, and underlying inflation showed signs of slowing, supporting views that the Federal Reserve was probably done raising interest rates,” Reuters reports.

New York Times: “The vast majority of lawmakers in both political parties have rejected calls for a cease-fire, saying Israel has a right to go after Hamas after its brutal attack in southern Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage. A cessation, many of them argue, would only embolden Hamas and allow it to regroup. Israel announced last week that it would institute daily combat pauses to allow civilians to flee and aid to enter Gaza amid skyrocketing civilian casualties and a worsening humanitarian crisis.”

“But many Democratic congressional staff members, most of them under the age of 35, have found themselves in stark disagreement with their bosses and the Biden administration on an issue that cuts to the heart of their values.”

“As part of a plea deal, one of former President Donald Trump’s attorneys has told prosecutors in Georgia that she was informed in the wake of the 2020 election that Donald Trump was ‘not going to leave’ the White House — despite the fact that he had already lost the election and most of his subsequent challenges,” ABC News reports.

“The revelation, along with others, came during a confidential interview the attorney, Jenna Ellis, had with Fulton County investigators. ABC News has obtained portions of videos of the proffer sessions of both Ellis and Sidney Powell, two attorneys who aided Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. The videos for the first time reveal details of what they have told law enforcement since agreeing to cooperate last month in the district attorney’s election interference case.”

After several plea deal videos leaked in the Georgia racketeering case against Donald Trump and 14 co-defendants, Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis asked a judge for “emergency” protective order for all evidence, the Washington Post reports.

Some of the details from the videos were first reported by ABC News.

“The special counsel’s office is pushing back against Donald Trump using his Washington, DC, federal criminal trial as a spectacle, after Trump’s lawyers told the court this weekend he’d support cameras in the courtroom,” CNN reports.

“Trump’s bid to open his DC federal criminal trial to cameras is ‘a transparent effort to demand special treatment, try his case in the courtroom of public opinion, and turn his trial into a media event,’ prosecutors wrote in a new court filing on Monday.”

USA Today reported that Trump’s legal team said: “The prosecution wishes to continue this travesty in darkness. President Trump calls for sunlight.”

“The Supreme Court is adopting its first code of ethics, in the face of sustained criticism over undisclosed trips and gifts from wealthy benefactors to some justices,” the AP reports.

“The policy was issued by the court Monday. The justices, who have hinted at internal deliberations over an ethics code, last met Thursday in their private conference room at the court.”

“Since launching in early 2022, former President Donald Trump‘s Truth Social took in $3.7 million in net sales, and lost $73 million,” the Hollywood Reporter reports.

“The numbers are the first time that any internal financial details on the social platform have been shared publicly, and they suggest that while Trump has made Truth Social his primary social media platform, it has not been translating into meaningful revenue for the tech startup.”

Jason Donner, a former reporter for Fox News, is suing the right-wing network for retaliation and discrimination, alleging the conservative cable giant fired him because he opposed Fox’s “false coverage of the January 6th insurrection,” the Daily Beast reports.

Donald Trump Jr. hailed the “sexiness” of his father’s properties after returning to the stand at the $250 million fraud trial over the former president’s real estate empire, The Guardian reports.

He showered praise on his father with his testimony.

“Members of former Trump aide Michael Flynn’s family pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars in leftover money from a legal defense fund that was set up for the retired general as he faced a federal investigation over the 2016 election,” Semafor reports.

The House voted to refer to committee a resolution to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, 209 to 201.

“Turkey’s parliament is set to hold a debate this week over Sweden’s bid to join the NATO military alliance, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeks to improve defense relations with US-led allies,” Bloomberg reports.

Jennifer Weisselberg — the former daughter-in-law of Allen Weisselberg, who was chief financial officer for the Trump Organization — was evicted from her home, lost custody of her children, and can’t afford a lawyer — and she believes it’s all because she blew the whistle on the Trump family’s fraud, The Nation reports.

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

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