Rabo: So Russia Hacked A Series Of Emails To J Powell Saying “CTRL-P J”?
Mon, 12/14/2020 – 09:20
By Michael Every of Rabobank
MERCUTIO: I am hurt. A plague o’ both your houses! I am sped. Is he gone, and hath nothing?
GBP is on the front foot after the UK and the EU once again showed us that last-minute deadlines mean nothing, and continued talking in the hopes of avoiding a WTO-terms Brexit. Obviously that we did not see that happen on Sunday was good news, but both sides are stressing that this is still a very likely scenario unless the gaps over fishing and a level playing field can be bridged.
The former is quite likely, but the latter is a far harder sell in the UK without some seriously creative bureaucratic mechanisms. Then again, what does Europe specialise in? Indeed, rumours are that this very end might just be achieved right at the very end of negotiations. As BoJo says, markets “live in hope” they don’t end up with a plague on both the UK and EU houses, and the UK speedily gone and having nothing.
On which, today the US electoral college (EC) votes for president, meaning Joe Biden becomes President-Elect after the Supreme Court refused to hear Texas’s ‘Hail Mary’ case. Even so, the election may not be over yet. (*Groan*) The New York Times reports on a potential Trump tactic where several battleground states could today see TWO sets of electors vote –one for Biden and one for Trump– and both then be sent to Congress to be read on 6 January. Of course, only Biden’s will be official.
However, there is precedent for there to be a subsequent flip: look up what happened with Hawaii voters in the 1960 Nixon/Kennedy election. Consequently, and controversially, even after today this de facto gives Trump several more weeks for either more court cases, albeit the longest of long shots; or to try to persuade Republican-majority state legislatures to meet in plenary session and grant recognition to his EC voters. Were that to happen, it would then open up constitutional issues of whose EC slate would be counted on 6 January, the ones appointed by the Governors or the legislatures. Then recall the constitutional duty to count (or dismiss) EC votes falls squarely on Vice-President Pence. Then Vice-President Nixon, whom regarded the 1960 election as having been stolen from him by Kennedy, actually counted Hawaii’s EC votes for Kennedy when they had at first been marked down for him, after ballot totals shifted after the EC voters had been initially allocated. Would that action be repeated in the bitterly bipartisan US house of 2020 if it came to it?
This is all entirely hypothetical, of course, if entirely constitutional. Yet consider that given before 3 November markets were concerned about a potential ‘contested election’ ending in Congress, and are now completely relaxed, this would suddenly present a real “plague on both your houses” tail-risk surprise.
The same response will of course be hurled at Congress again if the latest bipartisan USD908bn stimulus bill set to be unveiled today then fails to pass. To try to ensure that something passes, this legislation will be two separate bills: one US748bn package for most of the provisions, and another USD160bn for state and local aid, along with liability provisions. Obviously, the main problem will be with the latter of the two bills, where state aid is anathema to Republicans and business liability shielding the same for many Democrats.
Will the two bills now really be separated? And can both sides swallow a measure they dislike to get something they do like in the second bill? We shall soon see. As repeatedly noted before, this on/off/on stimulus, the US election, and Brexit each seem to be reluctant to definitively resolve themselves before the other two do.
MERCUTIO: Help me into some house, Benvolio, Or I shall faint. A plague o’ both your houses! They have made worms’ meat of me: I have it, And soundly too: your houses!
Meanwhile, the US Treasury and agencies responsible for deciding internet and telecom policy were hacked over the weekend by a state actor: Micronesia, perhaps? No, Russia, says the Washington Post. Which likes to say ‘Russia’ a lot, of course. And what secrets were divulged in that hack? Doodles of all the fiscal stimulus that isn’t happening? The report that decided not to impose sanctions on any Chinese banks in line with the Hong Kong Autonomy Act? Or the series of emails to J Powell saying “CTRL-P J”?
BENVOLIO: O noble prince, I can discover all. The unlucky manage of this fatal brawl.