Good Monday morning!
Of course there’s a Jersey angle to the federal Trump indictment.
As NJ Advance Media’s Brent Johnson breaks down for us, Trump allegedly brought some of the sensitive documents from Mar-a-Lago to Bedminster, where he showed them off to guests. In one instance, he allegedly said “as president, I could have declassified it” but, “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.” The indictment also charges that Trump in a second instance at Bedminster showed a representative from his PAC a classified military operation map, including acknowledging he should “not be showing the map.”
It doesn’t matter to Trump allies just how strong the indictment is. They’re sticking by Trump, even though reports say he was allegedly recorded saying the quotes above. Since the theory that Trump declassified the documents simply by taking them falls apart by his own taped admission, most of the pushback I’m seeing is deflection to around Hillary Clinton’s classified info scandal and the Biden classified investigation. If anyone did anything illegal, they should be investigated. But even, for the sake of argument, if another politician did break the law, that doesn’t just absolve Trump.
How many of the Trump defenders were shouting “Lock her up!” about Clinton’s private mail server in 2016? Let’s not pretend authorities didn’t investigate that. Who knows how James Comey’s late, vague statement on that investigation may have affected the 2016 presidential race?
Trump is innocent until proven guilty. But you know it’s bad when, rather than take Trump at his own word, his defenders blame a deep state FBI — one run by a Republican Trump selected — that’s out to get him. That really doesn’t make much sense. I know it’s a crazy idea, but maybe consider letting the legal process play out?
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Why they would vote for that amendment is beyond me … Because if you’re a property taxpayer in Newark and you understand that the state is obligated to pay for this, why would you tax yourself? I wouldn’t. Would you?” — Education Law Center’s David Sciarra on the Newark schools superintendent proposal for a $2 billion bond referendum.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY — Don Guardian, Mary Melfi, Matt Mowers
WHERE’S MURPHY? — In Hoboken for an 11:30 a.m. park ribbon-cutting ceremony
A FAIRER FOR THE STRONGER NEW JERSEY — “Corporate giants in line for big tax breaks from N.J. under fast-tracked bill,” by NJ Advance Media’s Derek Hall: “The state Senate Budget Committee is set to vote Monday on a 51-page bill that lawmakers are moving swiftly through the Democratic-controlled New Jersey Legislature even as Murphy, a Democrat, and legislative leaders negotiate a record-breaking $53 billion state budget. Proponents of the measure, including state Treasury officials and corporate lobbyists, say the changes are meant to simplify the corporation business tax and to make New Jersey more competitive with neighboring states. … Several tax experts who reviewed the legislation for NJ Advance Media have taken issue with that. They say there are provisions in the bill that are ‘highly concerning’ and would grant a competitive advantage to multinational corporations at the expense of small businesses.”
NOLISTINA — “Sweeney stops building trades endorsement for Polistina,” by New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein: “The New Jersey State Building & Construction Trades Council was prepared to support State Sen. Vince Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township) for re-election in the 2nd district this week, but Steve Sweeney was able to kill the endorsement of the Republican lawmaker. ‘I absolutely opposed Polistina’s endorsement because he’s one of the leading opponents of offshore wind,’ said Sweeney, the former Senate President and a top official of the international Ironworkers Union. ‘That’s what we do. We build things.’ The Atlantic & Cape May County Building Trades Council voted to support Polistina last week, but the state organization rejected it on Thursday”
PATERSON COPS — AG’s office pushing legislation to have top Paterson cop skip mandatory training, by POLITICO’s Daniel Han: The Attorney General’s Office is pushing for legislation to exempt the new leader of the Paterson Police Department from mandatory law enforcement training. That legislation — S3943/A5593 — appears to be on the fast track to passage. It was introduced Thursday by lawmakers who represent Paterson and is scheduled for a Senate committee hearing on Monday. The Attorney General’s Office and a sponsor of the legislation said that the Paterson Police Department is in urgent need of new leadership and mandatory training would be a time barrier. … Isa M. Abbassi, a veteran of the New York City Police Department — who oversaw community relations after the 2014 death of Eric Garner in Staten Island — is now the Officer in Charge of the Paterson Police Department. The legislation would have Abbassi potentially get tailored training as the Attorney General sees fit.
COULD SOMEONE PLEASE INTRODUCE A BILL TO GET THE STATEHOUSE PRESS CORPS STATE PENSIONS? — Two new bills would open the pension system to select workers, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman: Two recently introduced bills would tinker with pension system eligibility to benefit a small number of people. One bill, which has bipartisan sponsorship, would allow government business administrators back into the pension system after new hires were moved to 401(k)-style defined contribution plans 16 years ago. Another bill appears aimed at allowing an Elizabeth councilmember to retire from the government job he’s held for 30 years and begin collecting a pension while he remains in elective office. The two pieces of legislation, first introduced in May, are the latest attempts to roll back pension enrollment restrictions that were put in place to help get the deeply underfunded system on more sound fiscal footing during the Jon Corzine and Chris Christie administrations. And they come as the the Murphy administration is planning to make its third full payment into the long-underfunded system in the next fiscal year’s budget.
WHO BENEFITS? — Public sector unions oppose Scutari bill on health benefits, by POLITICO’s Daniel Han: Senate President Nick Scutari has a proposal he says will lower health care costs for the state’s public workers health insurance program. The legislation, however, has opposition from one key constituency: The public sector workers themselves. In a letter to Scutari, the New Jersey Coalition for Affordable Hospitals stated their opposition to Scutari’s bill, S3756, which would require two claims administrators to manage the public workers’ health insurance programs. Among the signatories were the New Jersey Education Association President Sean Spiller, New Jersey Communications Workers of America Director Fran Ehret and New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Colligan — among the three most influential public sector unions in the state.
WOMEN EVERYWHERE GRANTED REPRIEVE FROM THIS MAN’S DATING ADVICE — “Self-described Haddonfield pickup artist and ‘relationship strategist’ convicted in Capitol riot case,” by The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeremy Roebuck: “A self-described Haddonfield sex and relationship strategist and “pickup artist” who livestreamed his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol was convicted Friday by a federal jury in Washington. Patrick A. Stedman, 35 — who bills himself online as an expert in ‘female psychology’ — was found guilty of one felony count of obstructing an official proceeding as well as four misdemeanor charges tied to his illegal entry into the Capitol as part of the mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump who stormed the building and interrupted the congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. He now faces up to 20 years in prison on the most serious count at a sentencing set for September and has become the 17th New Jersey resident found guilty of playing a role in the historic attack.”
HE WENT AT JARED — “Three cheers for Christie’s take down of Jared Kushner,” by The Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran: “The most delicious moment in Chris Christie’s two-hour campaign kick-off in New Hampshire last week came when he sunk his fangs into Jared Kushner, the poster boy of privilege, a man as oblivious and corrupt as Trump himself. ‘Let me tell you something everybody.’ Christie said. ‘The grift in this family is breathtaking. It’s breathtaking. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Kushner walked out of the White House and two months later they get $2 billion from the Saudis?’ … For Christie, the joy of skewering Kushner must have been profound, given their history. The happy warrior never seemed happier.”
CARTOON BREAK — “Christie and Pence join field trying to topple Trump,” by Drew Shenaman
HOLLEY DESPERATELY NEEDS A SHOT IN THE ARM — “Shaw defeats Holley in Roselle mayoral primary,” by New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein: “Roselle Mayor Donald Shaw has defeated Jamel Holley in the Democratic mayoral primary after 64 vote-by-mail ballots expanded his lead from 50 votes to 70. With about 80 than provisional and curable ballots still outstanding, Shaw is now ahead, 1,456 to 1,386, a 51%-49% margin. Shaw added 42 votes, with 22 going to Holley. Holley would need to win roughly 95% of the uncounted votes to take the lead.”
DON’T LOOK HERE, BECAUSE THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT SPECIAL LEGISLATION — “Proposal would save busing for thousands of Monmouth County students,” by The Asbury Park Press’ Joe Strupp: “Thousands of Monmouth County high school students set to lose free busing next year could get a reprieve under a proposal introduced this week. Legislation co-sponsored by State Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, would help the Freehold Regional High School District keep so-called ‘courtesy busing’ that serves more than 3,000 students in the district’s eight communities and is set to be eliminated. ‘This bi-partisan legislation is a game changer for Freehold Regional,’ said Superintendent Charles Sampson, whose district includes six high schools serving more than 10,000 students’. … Specifically, the bill — also co-sponsored by Republican State Senator Declan O’Scanlon — would freeze state aid cuts for regional districts that fulfill three criteria. To be eligible, a district must: serve five or more communities; spend 15% less in administrative costs than the statewide average for regional school districts; and have increased taxes by the 2% maximum amount in each of the last five years. Freehold Regional would be one of two such districts eligible for the aid freeze, according to Gopal. He said the other is Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Burlington County.”
NIMBYTOWN — “Saddle River resident who sued borough to stop affordable housing is running for mayor,” by The Record’s Marsha A. Stoltz: “If at first you don’t succeed — run for mayor. Borough resident Vincent Blehl has filed to run for mayor as a Democrat. He ran uncontested in Tuesday’s primary election and in November will challenge Mayor Albert Kurpis, who is seeking his third term. Blehl, formerly chairman of the borough’s Environmental Commission, unsuccessfully sued the borough in May 2022 over approval of its Choctaw Trail affordable housing project. … Blehl, who lives next to the 112-unit Choctaw Trail affordable housing site, was the primary objector during hearings on the project in January 2022. His questions centered around control of runoff to his home downhill from the site.”
SHAME FLAG RAISED OVER TOWN HALL — “After long discussion, Boonton approves Pride flag raising. But not at Town Hall,” by The Daily Record’s William Westhoven: “A majority of the Boonton Council voted on Tuesday in favor of raising the Pride flag on town property. The question of exactly where it would fly was a more difficult debate during a three-hour session in which a 5-4 block voted against flying it on the flagpole over Town Hall. That vote mirrored party lines on the council, with all five Republicans voting it down. But after nearly two hours of debate among the board members and public comment heavily in favor of seeing the flag displayed, the council voted 6-3 to fly it on a municipal pole at Grace Lord Park, one of the host sites for the upcoming third-annual Boonton Rainbow Pride celebration on June 17.”
PHILADELPHIANS ALREADY TRYING TO JUMP THEIR CARS OVER THE GAP — “Section of heavily traveled I-95 collapses in Philadelphia after tanker truck catches fire,” by The AP’s Ron Todt: “An elevated section of Interstate 95 collapsed early Sunday in Philadelphia after a tanker truck carrying flammable cargo caught fire, closing a heavily traveled segment of the East Coast’s main north-south highway indefinitely, authorities said. Transportation officials warned of extensive delays and street closures and urged drivers to avoid the area in the northeast corner of the city. … The northbound lanes of I-95 were gone, and the southbound lanes were ‘compromised’ due to heat from the fire, said Derek Bowmer, battalion chief of the Philadelphia Fire Department. … There was no immediate time frame for reopening the highway, but officials would consider “a fill-in situation or a temporary structure” to accelerate the effort, he said.”
FORGOTTEN — “‘Nobody expected him to live this long’,” by NJ Advance Media’s Steve Politi: “The lawyers told him that he would never have to worry about money in his life. Jamie Cap was still just a kid then. What did he know? They told him the settlement from his lawsuit — which did not include a cost-of-living increase — would take care of his medical expenses. They told him his hometown would have fundraisers in his honor forever after he was paralyzed making a tackle in a high school football game. … That was May 1984, four and a half years after one tackle on a muddy field in Bound Brook as a high school junior had changed his life. Now, nearly four decades later, he sits in a wheelchair in that same room that his father built for him over an inground swimming pool. … Cap, now 60, is an example of what happens when an athlete doesn’t have that long-term support. He worries that the day is coming when he’ll be put in a nursing home and lose what little independence he has left — or, worse, that a lack of care will lead to a swift deterioration of his health.”