Tuesday AM

Judge Merrick Garland finally gets his day out of court

Kia ora and G'day

It's a newsy morning so I thought I'd dash out a quick AM update. Given the amount going on, you may have to put up with a PM newsletter as well.

BTW, if you're enjoying The Haps, please let your friends know about us. I'm happy for people to sign up to a free sub for the time being.

SCOTUS instructs Trump to hand over tax returns to Manhattan DA

Last-ditch efforts by Trump Organisation lawyers to stymie investigations into their dubious financial practices have failed. The NY Times reports:

The court’s order was a decisive defeat for Mr. Trump, who had gone to extraordinary lengths to keep his tax returns and related documents secret. There were no dissents noted.

The case concerned a subpoena to Mr. Trump’s accountants, Mazars USA, by the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat. The firm has said it will comply with the final ruling of the courts, meaning that the grand jury should receive the documents in short order.

Mr. Vance issued a three-word statement in response to the court’s order: “The work continues.”

A side note on the politics at play here. Cy Vance is far from beloved by liberals and progressives in NYC for a range of what they consider problematic prosecutorial decisions over his tenure. He's seen as soft on Wall St specifically, and elites in general. Given the Manhattan DA is an elected position, this dynamic creates considerable incentives for Vance to leave no stone unturned on this particular matter. I expect an aggressive pursuit of justice here. Here's a good overview of what appears to be the substance of the investigation.

Two Bosses Align

Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama are jointly hosting a podcast, an extremely well-kept secret. NBC News reports.

Spotify on Monday announced the launch of "Renegades: Born in the USA," featuring the former president and the legendary rock star in conversation on issues ranging from politics and the state of America to fatherhood, marriage and manhood. The conversations will span eight episodes, the first two of which go live on Monday.

Springsteen's recent drink-driving arrest must have briefly upset Spotify's plans – until it was revealed the Boss's blood alcohol level came in at 0.02, which is lower than mine would register today, after 14 years of sobriety.

Biden Boom Beckons?

As long as the US can get the pandemic under control, and emerging variants don't throw new spanners in the works, Goldman Sachs is one of several forecasters who expect robust growth in 2021.

Per MarketWatch:

Goldman Sachs analysts were bullish on the U.S. economy’s rebound in 2021 but said there were three big risks to the recovery. The investment bank is forecasting gross domestic product growth of 6.6% this year, which is 2.5 percentage points above the consensus. It expected a reduction in virus risk, brought about by mass vaccination, along with fiscal support for consumer spending to fuel a “midyear consumption boom” and “very strong growth” in 2021.

Attorney-General Merrick Garland Finally Faces Senators

After inexplicable delays, Biden's nominee for Attorney-General, Judge Merrick Garland, finally got the confirmation hearing today he was shamefully denied when Obama nominated him for the Supreme Court. He'll be comfortably confirmed, and his steady, at times moving, performance today won't have hurt.

Manchin and Collins Look Set to Derail OMB Nominee

Meanwhile, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Maine Republican Susan Collins have announced they will oppose the nomination of Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Mitt Romney is also a no. This effectively dooms her nomination, given the 50-50 Senate. Tanden has been widely attacked from the Right for mean tweets during her tenure at the Center for American Progress, which they contend makes her unsuitable for an agency they expect to act in a nonpartisan fashion.

Tanden was a perfectly solid choice, but – big picture – it's a fairly low stakes hill for Manchin and Collins to die on. Democrats writ large would be unwise to direct too much vitriol at Manchin who represents an overwhelmingly red state. They need him on far more consequential matters than Tanden's nomination, including the $1.9 trillion American Recovery Act that will get a vote in the House this week, and won't win a single Senate Republican.

Losers

It seems failed Georgia Senate candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler both want to run against Raphael Warnock in next year's midterms. They'll both probably lose to MAGA loon Doug Collins, unless he opts to primary Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

Given the likelihood that Stacey Abrams will be on the ballot for Governor, juicing Democratic turnout, I like Warnock's chances, whoever wins the GOP nod.

There's a lot more going on so expect to hear from me soon.