Cup of Joe – November 17, 2023

The Senate passed the Continuing Resolution on late Wednesday night.

“If it makes the kids happy, then what the heck? It’s Thanksgiving, and you know what? If you want to eat your dessert before you eat your turkey, that’s fine. But it will make it a bigger problem down the road.”— Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), quoted by the Washington Post, on the Senate accepting the “laddered” funding resolution passed by the House.

Playbook: “Though they would’ve been loath to admit this publicly during the negotiations, the feeling in the White House is that the lopsided Democratic votes needed to get this CR across the finish line strengthens the Democrats’ hands moving forward into the supplemental and 2024 funding fights that will soon consume Congress.”

“Biden aides feel certain that, at the end of the day, the GOP won’t do anything consequential without Democratic votes…”

“When we asked White House aides if they felt like that the anger aimed at Johnson from the right flank of the GOP could make this all backfire in some way, officials shrugged: They see any fracturing within the Republican House as simply strengthening Democrats’ hand.”

“It’s the same clown car with a different driver.”— Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), quoted by Politico, on the House Republicans.

Politico: “Republicans cannot agree on basic policy priorities or even fund the government without a majority of Democratic votes. Individual lawmakers are going rogue on the House floor with theatrical efforts to censure colleagues and impeach members of the Biden administration. A growing number of lawmakers are choosing to retire because they feel it’s impossible to get anything done.”

“Amid months of intra-GOP drama, this week stands out: Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was accused of kidney-punching one of his detractors. House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) lashed out at a Democratic colleague, calling him a ‘liar’ and a ‘smurf.’ Then on Wednesday, conservatives blocked another GOP spending bill, forcing Speaker Mike Johnson to send members home early on a losing note.”

“With only 21 bills making it into law halfway into November, the 118th Congress, controlled by Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate, is on the most sluggish pace to make law since the Congress that met during 1931 and 1932,” the HuffPost reports.

“Back then, Herbert Hoover was president, the Great Depression had started and talking movies were still new.”

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has ties to the New Apostolic Reformation, an extreme far-right Christian movement seeking to dissolve the separation between church and state by “any means necessary,” NPR reports.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) sits on the board of a Christian publishing house that suggested getting “monkeypox” was “an inevitable and appropriate penalty” for being gay and that Barack Obama was rumored to be the Antichrist because of his “leanings toward Islam,” Politico reports.

Meanwhile, NBC News reports Johnson said that separation of church and state is a “misnomer.”

David DePape, the man accused of breaking into Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s home and attacking her husband with a hammer, burst into tears as he testified at his federal trial on Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The House Ethics panel said Thursday it has found “substantial evidence” of lawbreaking by Rep. George Santos (R-NY) and has referred its findings to the Justice Department, the AP reports.

The committee said that Santos’ conduct warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House.

With the release of a damning report from the House Ethics Committee, Rep. George Santos (R-NY) changed course and announced he would not run for re-election.

Washington Post: “Demonstration organizers said at least 100 participants suffered injuries after being pepper-sprayed and pushed by police. Six officers suffered injuries after being pepper-sprayed and punched, police said on social media. … The demonstration was one of several across the nation since the attack on Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7 and Israel’s blockade and recurring strikes against Gaza.”

Playbook: “Expect the DNC clash last night to prompt Capitol Police and congressional officials to take an even more careful approach to member security as tensions continue rising over the conflict in the Middle East.”

“Iran’s supreme leader told the head of Hamas in a face-to-face meeting in Tehran that his country would not enter the war with Israel and accused the terror group of not giving any prior warning of the Oct 7 attacks,” The Telegraph reports.

“Hamas has agreed in principle and Israel is now considering a proposal for the release of at least 50 women and children among about 240 foreign and Israeli hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza,” the Washington Post reports.

“In exchange for the hostages, Israel would agree to a three-to-five-day pause ‘in place’ in the fighting, increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, and the release of an unspecified number of women and children held in Israeli prisons.”

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) claimed at a House hearing that the FBI put operatives into “ghost buses” to incite the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

When FBI Director Christopher Wray said he did not know what “ghost buses” were, Higgins said it was a “common” term for vehicles “used for secret purposes.”

Higgins ran out of time for questioning and concluded: “Your day is coming, Mr. Wray.”

Agreeing with an antisemitic post on his social media platform X, Elon Musk endorsed the claim that Jewish communities push “hatred against Whites,” CNN reports.

Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled that China will send new pandas to the United States, calling them “envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples,” the AP reports.

President Biden called Xi Jinping a dictator in an off-the-cuff remark as he was leaving a press conference, a comment that could spark a reaction from the Chinese government, Bloomberg reports.

Said Biden: “Well, look, he is. Here’s a guy who runs a country that’s a communist country.”

“A Fulton County judge Wednesday said he would draft an order protecting some evidence from pre-trial disclosure in the Donald Trump election interference case – even as a defense attorney admitted he had already leaked witness interviews to the news media,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“Prosecutors and most defense attorneys in the case tentatively agreed to an order that would allow some evidence shared during the pre-trial discovery process to be labeled ‘sensitive’ and withheld from public scrutiny, at least initially.”

Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis is moving to revoke the bond of Trump co-defendant Harrison Floyd, citing his social media posts, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

She said recent tweets tagging people like Brad Raffensperger, Gabe Sterling and Ruby Freeman amount to witness intimidation.

“Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel is bearing the brunt of her party’s frustrations, with conservative activists calling for her ouster and Donald Trump privately criticizing the organization’s handling of the debates and its election year priorities,” Politico reports.

“But party insiders say they still expect McDaniel to survive. Even her critics inside the committee say trying to replace her now would be too chaotic in the middle of a presidential election cycle.”

“The prosecutor investigating why classified documents ended up at President Biden’s home and former office is preparing a report that is expected to be sharply critical of how he and his longtime aides handled the material, but the probe isn’t likely to result in a criminal case,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Since his appointment in January, Special Counsel Robert Hur has interviewed roughly 100 of Biden’s aides, colleagues and family members, including his son, Hunter, culminating in a two-day interview with the president last month.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the chatter about succession doesn’t trouble him and that the GOP bench is on his side, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said McConnell: “It’s not at all surprising, given my age, and how long I’ve been in this job that there are others who may be looking at it. I don’t find that offensive, nor do I find it affecting my ability to lead because the people most likely to succeed me, agree with me.”

Miami Herald: “DeSantis has gone on the offensive against Chinese influence in recent months, signing a bill restricting what land Chinese companies and citizens can buy in Florida and suspending state scholarships to several Florida schools.”

“But this August he took a check for more than $11,000 from the CEO of a Tampa refrigerant company with direct backing from China. It was just the latest in years of financial support that the company, iGas USA, has given DeSantis.”

“The attorney general of Nevada is quietly investigating Republican activists and operatives who falsely pledged the state’s six electoral votes to Donald Trump in 2020, despite Joe Biden’s victory in the state,” Politico reports.

“The probe, which until now has not been publicly reported, is the latest sign of potential legal jeopardy for the Republicans who, amid Trump’s bid to cling to power, posed as electors in states that Biden won. False electors in Georgia and Michigan are already facing criminal charges, and an investigation is underway in Arizona.”

Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) told Fox News he was nobly representing “Oklahoma values” when he challenged the Teamsters president to a fight at a U.S. Senate hearing. Said Mullin: “What did people want me to do? If I didn’t do that, people in Oklahoma would be pretty upset at me.” 

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) launched a new high-dollar fundraising vehicle “aimed at supporting more than 50 Republican incumbents, candidates and committees,” Punchbowl News reports.

“The parent organization of the Conservative Political Action Conference lost another high-profile board member this week amid mounting criticism of Chairman Matt Schlapp and ballooning legal fees from a sexual misconduct lawsuit against him,” the Washington Post reports.

“Former Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss will seek between $15.5 million and $43 million from Rudy Giuliani at a defamation trial slated to begin next month in a Washington, D.C., federal court,” ABC News reports.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is facing an angry backlash after appearing to give his backing to an organization trying to legalize cockfighting, KJRH reports.

The Washington Post published horrifying and disturbing images from mass shootings to give the public a real look at what an AR-15 does to a human body.

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

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