Cup of Joe – November 19, 2023

“White House special counsel Dick Sauber questioned the validity of the GOP-led impeachment inquiry into President Biden on Friday in a scathing letter sent to House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH),” the Washington Post reports.

“In the four-page letter, Sauber demanded that Comer and Jordan withdraw their subpoenas and requests for interviews with members of the Biden family and aides, arguing that since the House did not hold a floor vote on the impeachment inquiry, it has not been formally authorized by the legislative body as required by the Constitution.”

Washington Post: “House Republicans have launched an impeachment inquiry attempting to show that Joe Biden improperly benefited from his son’s work or used his office to assist the younger Biden, and have subpoenaed Hunter and his uncle James Biden to testify next month. But they have not produced any direct evidence, and their own witnesses at one hearing said the impeachment threshold had not been met.”

“A Washington Post review of Hunter Biden’s career found no sign the family patriarch was an active participant in his son’s business efforts.”

“But interviews with former Hunter Biden associates, along with information drawn from congressional testimony and a review of emails found on a copy of Hunter’s purported laptop that have been authenticated by The Post, illustrate how the president’s son and his partners benefited from his last name. There is also limited evidence that the now-president asked his son to be careful or expressed qualms about how Hunter was wielding the name he made famous.”

“Javier Milei shot to prominence lambasting Argentina’s traditional political elite. Now the radical presidential election frontrunner is the mainstream conservatives’ best shot at clinging onto power,” Reuters reports.

“Left without their own candidate in the contest, the center-right has made an uneasy alliance of sorts with Milei that could push the libertarian over the line in Sunday’s run-off vote against Peronist economy minister Sergio Massa.”

“Argentine voters are angry and afraid. Which is stronger will tip the balance of the South American country’s presidential election on Sunday and may reshape its diplomatic ties, economic future, and the wider region’s political fault lines,” Reuters reports.

“The country of some 45 million people will vote in the Nov. 19 run-off election between Sergio Massa, currently economy minister for the ruling Peronists, and libertarian outsider Javier Milei. Opinion polls indicate a tight race and a deeply divided electorate.”

“A Colorado judge ruled on Friday that former President Donald Trump could remain on the ballot in the state, rejecting the argument that the 14th Amendment prevents him from holding office again,” the New York Times reports.

“It was the first time a court had ruled on the merits of whether Mr. Trump, with his actions before and during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, had engaged in insurrection against the Constitution after taking an oath to support it — an offense deemed disqualifying by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which was ratified in 1868 to keep former Confederates out of the government.”

Axios: The Colorado case is “one of at least 31 cases filed across the U.S. that have argued the Republican presidential front-runner should be disqualified over his actions surrounding the U.S. Capitol riot through the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause.”

“Efforts so far have been unsuccessful, though over a dozen cases remain pending before the courts.”

“When President Biden met President Xi Jinping on Wednesday on the edges of Silicon Valley, there was a subtle but noticeable shift in the power dynamic between two countries that have spent most of the past few years denouncing, undercutting and imposing sanctions on each other,” the New York Times reports.

“For the first time in years, a Chinese leader desperately needed a few things from the United States. Mr. Xi’s list at the summit started with a revival of American financial investments in China and a break in the series of technology export controls that have, at least temporarily, crimped Beijing’s ability to make the most advanced semiconductors and the artificial intelligence breakthroughs they enable.”

“All this may explain why Mr. Biden’s aides were able to negotiate, fairly quickly by Chinese diplomatic standards, a potentially major agreement on stopping the flow of the chemical precursors for fentanyl to the United States and a resumption of military-to-military communications, critical for two superpowers whose forces bump up against each other every day.”

“Gabrielle Lipsky, the communications director for Rep. George Santos (R-NY), has resigned from the congressman’s office,” The Hill reports.

Daily Beast: “[Congressional investigators] uncovered what appears to be an illegal pass-through scheme involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit contributions that Santos funneled to his campaign from business clients—perhaps without their knowledge.”

“Santos also appears to have taken the scheme a step further, personally reaping tens of thousands of dollars after he was elected to Congress.”

CNN: “The national average price of regular gasoline is down by 55 cents a gallon over the past two months to $3.33, according to AAA. This exceeds the typical seasonal drop in gas prices during the fall and leaves the national average at a 10-month low.”

“If prices stay near current levels, this would be the cheapest gas price on Thanksgiving Day since 2020 when Covid-19 caused many Americans to stay off the roads altogether.”

“Look at economic data, and you’d think that young voters would be riding high right now. Unemployment remains low. Job opportunities are plentiful. Inequality is down, wage growth is finally beating inflation, and the economy has expanded rapidly this year,” the New York Times reports.

“Look at TikTok, and you get a very different impression — one that seems more in line with both consumer confidence data and President Biden’s performance in political polls.”

“Several of the economy-related trends getting traction on TikTok are downright dire. The term ‘Silent Depression’ recently spawned a spate of viral videos. Clips critical of capitalism are common. On Instagram, jokes about poor housing affordability are a genre unto themselves.”

“Social media reflects — and is potentially fueling — a deep-seated angst about the economy that is showing up in surveys of younger consumers and political polls alike.”

“Donald Trump’s trial on charges that he retained classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago club and obstructed justice is running about four months behind schedule after the federal judge presiding in the case in Florida declined to set a crucial filing deadline until at least next March,” The Guardian reports.

“The US district judge Aileen Cannon put off setting a deadline for Trump to submit a notice about what classified information he intends to use at trial – currently set for May – until after a hearing next year that almost certainly precludes the pre-trial process from finishing in time.”

Andrew Weissmann: “Judge Cannon’s bias is showing over and over again. Smith has to be weighing whether, when, and how to seek her reversal by the Court of Appeals and her removal.”

Harry Litman: “Judge Cannon’s paperless order denying without explanation DOJ’s uber-reasonable request to set a CIPA section 5 hearing comes mighty close to guaranteeing Trump what he wants: a trial post Nov 2024.”

“Ukrainian forces have established several fortified bridgeheads on the Russian-occupied left bank of the Dnipro river in their most significant territorial advance for weeks in their otherwise stalled counteroffensive,” the Financial Times reports.

The White House on Friday lashed out at Elon Musk for promoting “Antisemitic and racist hate” after the Tesla CEO and X Corp. owner said he agreed with a social media post accusing “Jewish communities” of pushing “hatred against whites,” CNBC reports.

Politico: “These revelations — uncovered through a Politico review of thousands of pages of public schedules from his time as borough president and reams of social media posts — shed light on Adams’ unusually strong relationship with Turkey, which has drawn scrutiny from federal investigators.”

Jonathan Chait: “It is certainly true that there is antisemitism on the left, frequently presenting itself as criticism of Israel. (The usual trick is to make an antisemitic statement and replace ‘Jews’ with ‘Zionists.’) But it is overwhelmingly directed in opposition to the Democratic party.”

“The most antisemitic activists on the right tend to be pro-Trump, which is why the ranks of J6ers were overrepresenting with white nationalists. The most antisemitic activists of the left despise Joe Biden and generally oppose the Democratic Party.”

Washington Monthly: “This is obviously a difficult question to raise about any person, let alone a candidate, who has demonstrated vicious, paranoid, and violent behavior. (A civil trial in a federal court found him guilty of sexual abuse, after all.) So, everything is relative. Still, all the armchair gerontologists parsing every utterance from President Joe Biden, trying to distinguish his congenital stutter from his natural aging, should look at Trump, whose behavior has gone from bad to weird to bizarre. Is he suffering from a palpable form of dementia? I leave that to the medical experts, but I’d implore you to absorb what the 45th president has been saying recently and how it’s even more worrisome than what he’s been saying and doing since he came down the escalator at Trump Towers in 2015.”

“While neither Trump nor Biden projects John F. Kennedy’s vigor, Trump, 77, has been even more bizarre of late—doddering and disoriented in a new way.”

“House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) started making public video footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, saying he was fulfilling a commitment he made when he was elected speaker last month,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) writes an entire chapter in her memoir, MTG, defending against antisemitism allegations stemming from her claim that “Jewish space lasers” had caused wildfires in California, The Forward reports.

Greene dismissed it as a “sarcastic social media post” and said: “My Savior is a Jewish carpenter who died on the cross for my sins, and I have no antisemitic sentiments whatsoever.”

She also said she supports Israel military aid, including a laser missile defense system: “So, it turns out I actually support Jewish space lasers.”

Washington Post: “The data already indicated that Democrats were far more likely to say they planned to get the new vaccine than Republicans, with three-quarters of the former group saying they had or planned to, and three-quarters of the latter saying they probably wouldn’t.”

“Actually, more than half of Republicans said they definitely would not get the updated vaccine.”

Pew Research: “In just three years, the share of U.S. adults who say they regularly get news from TikTok has more than quadrupled, from 3% in 2020 to 14% in 2023.”

“TikTok, primarily known for short-form video sharing, has become especially popular among teens – two-thirds of whom report ever using the platform – as well as young adults.” “Among adults, those ages 18 to 29 are most likely to say they regularly get news on TikTok. About a third of Americans in this age group (32%) say they regularly get news there, a higher share than in years before.

This compares with 15% of those ages 30 to 49, 7% of those 50 to 64 and just 3% of those 65 and older.”

“The decline of local newspapers accelerated so rapidly in 2023 that analysts now believe the U.S. will have lost one-third of the newspapers it had as of 2005 by the end of next year — rather than in 2025, as originally predicted,” Axios reports.

“A Florida law blocking Gov. Ron DeSantis’ publicly funded travel records from the public is unconstitutional and the state should be required to turn them over, asserts a legal challenge filed by The Washington Post,” Politico reports.

“The United States Senate was never designed to represent all people equally. But over recent decades, it has become unrepresentative in ways the founders could not have imagined,” the Washington Post reports.

“North Dakota’s 2021 legislative redistricting plan violates the rights of two Native American tribes because it dilutes their voting strength, a federal judge ruled Friday,” the AP reports.

“A conservative legal group led by longtime Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller reported a nearly 600% jump in its revenue, raising $44 million in 2022 compared with $6 million in 2021,” Bloomberg reports.

A secret source aided investigators probing a plot by supporters of Donald Trump in their alleged efforts to tamper with voting machine tabulators after the 2020 election, MLive reports.

“An Ohio man who assaulted law enforcement officers during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and who the Justice Department said became a ‘one-man misinformation machine’ as he spread lies online about what occurred that day, was sentenced on Thursday to four years and 10 months in prison,” the New York Times reports.

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

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