What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics.
Curated by @matt_kiser

Site updated:
Search Results

Day 307: IT WAS ME.

1/ Trump called LaVar Ball an "ungrateful fool" and said that getting his son home was "a really big deal." Trump tweeted that "it wasn't the White House, it wasn't the State Department, it wasn't father LaVar's so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME." Ball is the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players detained in China for shoplifting and has refused to thank Trump for getting the players out of China. (CNN / NBC News)

2/ Trump and the White House insisted that Trump was working from Mar-a-Lago and very busy today an hour before he went golfing. First, the White House told reporters that Trump "will NOT have a low-key day and has a full schedule of meetings and phone calls." Soon after, Trump tweeted that he "will be having meetings and working the phones from the Winter White House in Florida." But an hour later, Trump left Mar-a-Lago to spend the morning at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. Since the inauguration, Trump has spent 98 days at his private properties – one out of every 3.1 days – and played golf approximately 60 times, or every 5.1 days. (Washington Post)

3/ The former director of the Office of Government Ethics filed a complaint over Kellyanne Conway's comments about the Alabama Senate race. Walter Shaub said Conway may have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from using their positions for political purposes. Earlier this week, Conway attacked the Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones, saying Jones "will be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime, weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners." (The Hill)

4/ Gary Cohn faked a bad connection to get off a phone call with Trump during a discussion with Democratic senators about tax reform earlier this month. The White House economic advisor wanted to have a conversation on tax reform without Trump, who was traveling in Asia at the time. Trump called in anyway and after 15 minutes Senator Tom Carper turned to Cohn and said, "We’re not going to have a real conversation here – can’t you just tell the president that he is brilliant and say we’re losing … the connection and then hang up?" And that's what happened. (CNBC / The Hill)

5/ The House GOP tax bill would scrap the $250 educator expense deduction. The deduction, for money that America's 3.6 million teachers spend out of pocket on classroom supplies, costs the federal government $210 million a year. The Senate GOP tax plan would double the deduction to $500. (Washington Post)

6/ Out of 38 economists, 37 said the GOP tax plans would cause the debt to increase "substantially" faster than the economy. The 38th economist misread the question. (Washington Post)

poll/ 36% of Americans expect to pay more federal, state, and local taxes under the House tax plan. 39% said they “strongly” or “somewhat” support it, while 31% oppose it and the rest are undecided. (Politico)

News Notes:

  • New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating what he calls a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC with fake public comments on net neutrality. (The Hill)

  • The FBI warned Representative Dana Rohrabacher in 2012 that Russia regarded him as an intelligence source worthy of a Kremlin code name. (New York Times)

  • Jared Kushner’s horizons are collapsing within the West Wing. (Vanity Fair)

  • Michael Flynn's business partner is now the subject of Robert Mueller's probe. (NBC News)

Day 306: A great, big, beautiful Christmas present.

1/ The FCC announced plans to roll back net neutrality regulations, clearing the way for companies to charge more and slow or block access to some websites. Net neutrality rules are aimed at giving consumers equal access to web content and prevent broadband providers from charging consumers more for certain content. The commission will vote December 14th on the new rules, which include a transparency provision requiring internet service providers to inform customers about their blocking and throttling practices. (New York Times / Reuters / Politico)

2/ Trump defended Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican Senate candidate accused of sexual misconduct with minors, saying that Moore "totally denies" the allegations. "We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat, Jones," Trump said. "I’ve looked at his record. It’s terrible on crime. It’s terrible on the border. It’s terrible on the military." (New York Times / NPR)

  • The Moore campaign: "We don't believe these women." (CNN)

3/ A federal judge blocked Trump's executive order to cut funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" that limit their cooperation with immigration authorities. US District Court Judge William Orrick said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress. (CNN)

4/ A second federal judge halted Trump proposed transgender military ban, saying that active-duty service members are "already suffering harmful consequences" because of the his policy. The preliminary injunction issued by the judge goes further than the earlier ruling and prevents the administration from denying funding for sex-reassignment surgeries. (Washington Post)

5/ Nearly 60,000 Haitians living in the US must leave within 18 months now that the Trump administration has ended their Temporary Protected Status. Temporary status was granted to Haiti in 2010, after an earthquake devastated the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The Department of Homeland Security said that the "extraordinary conditions" justifying their status in the US "no longer exist." Haitians with protected status are expected to leave by July 2019 or face deportation. (Los Angeles Times / New York Times / Washington Post)

6/ The Senate GOP tax plan would raise taxes on 50% of Americans by 2027, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said. Trump, meanwhile, touted the plan as a Christmas miracle, saying: "We’re going to give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas – hopefully that will be a great, big, beautiful Christmas present." (Washington Post)

7/ Tax experts say the House GOP tax bill is full of loopholes for the wealthy. As written, hedge funds could take advantage of the new, lower 25% tax rate intended for small businesses, while private equity fund managers could sidestep a new tax on their earnings. (Bloomberg)

8/ Trump is shutting down his charitable foundation. The foundation admitted to violating federal rules on "self-dealing," which prevents nonprofit leaders from funneling their charity's money to themselves, their businesses, or their families. (NBC News)

9/ The Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County settled a lawsuit using money from the Trump Foundation. The golf club then reimbursed Trump's charitable foundation the $158,000 used to settle the lawsuit. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating how the Donald J. Trump Foundation collects and disburses funds. The inquiry is ongoing. (Washington Post)

Russia News Notes:

  • Trump campaign adviser Carter Page held high-level meetings with Hungarian officials in Budapest. (ABC News)

  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller probes Jared Kushner’s contacts with foreign leaders. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Roman Beniaminov, a low-profile real estate exec turned pop star manager, knew about Russia’s "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. (The Daily Beast)

Day 305: A long winter.

1/ Trump designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism and said the Treasury Department will announce new sanctions on the country. He described the move as "a very large one." Trump said the designation will impose "further sanctions and penalties" on North Korea in support of his administration's "maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime." The designation was rescinded by George W. Bush in 2008 in an attempt to negotiate a nuclear deal. (New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN / Politico)

2/ Nebraska regulators approved the Keystone XL pipeline. The 3-2 vote came four days after the existing Keystone pipeline leaked approximately 5,000 barrels of crude oil in South Dakota. The pipeline will transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Canada's oil sands and North Dakota's shale fields to oil refineries on the Gulf Coast. (Washington Post / Politico)

3/ Kellyanne Conway suggested that the White House supports Roy Moore because "we want the votes" to pass tax reform. Conway was discussing tax reform on Fox News when she began hammering Doug Jones, the Democrat in the Alabama Senate race, saying "He will be a vote against tax cuts." Fox News host Brian Kilmeade interrupted: "So vote Roy Moore?" Conway replied: "I'm telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through. Conway's comment comes less than a week after saying "no Senate seat is worth more than a child." (CNN / Washington Post)

  • Mick Mulvaney said Trump "doesn't know who to believe" about the allegations against Roy Moore and "thinks that the voters of Alabama should decide." (Axios)

4/ Robert Mueller requested documents from the Justice Department related to the firing of James Comey. Investigators are seeking emails related to the firing, as well as to Jeff Sessions' recusal from the investigation, not only those circulated between Justice Department officials, but any related communication they had with the White House. (ABC News)

5/ Kushner failed to disclose that a senior Russian official tried to arrange a meeting between Putin and Trump. The Senate Judiciary Committee accused Kushner of withholding an email from Aleksander Torshin, who claimed to be acting at the behest of Putin in a May 2016 email. The subject line read: "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite." Torshin's email came a few weeks after a professor with ties to the Russian government told George Papadopoulos that the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails." Spanish anti-corruption officials say Torshin is a "godfather" of the Russian mafia. (New York Times / NBC News)

  • Jared Kushner testified that he didn't recall if anybody on the campaign communicated with WikiLeaks. But a letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee shows Trump Jr. emailed Kushner to tell him WikiLeaks had contacted him on Twitter. (CNN)

6/ Hope Hicks and White House counsel Donald McGahn are scheduled to meet with Mueller in the coming weeks. "Of course they are worried," said a Republican in frequent contact with the White House, describing the current atmosphere. "It's going to be a long winter." Another person close to the administration said that some staffers now jokingly ask, "Good morning. Are you wired?" when they gather in the morning at the White House. (Washington Post / CNN)

7/ H.R. McMaster mocked Trump at a private dinner, calling him "dope" and "idiot." The National Security Adviser added that Trump has the intelligence of a "kindergartner." (BuzzFeed News)

8/ Trump called on the NFL to suspend Marshawn Lynch for standing during the Mexican national anthem and sitting during the US national anthem. Trump tweeted that the Oakland Raiders running back showed "Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down." (CNN)

9/ A day earlier, Trump weighed in on three UCLA basketball players: "I should have left them in jail." Trump took credit for the release of the three players arrested for shoplifting in China, but took to Twitter after the father of one of the players cast doubt on how much Trump was involved in freeing the players. "Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar," Trump tweeted. "Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!" In a second tweet he added: "I should have left them in jail!" (New York Times / Politico)

poll/ 70% of Americans think Puerto Ricans aren't getting the hurricane relief they need, up from 62% last month. (The Hill)

News Notes:

  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will step down once her successor is sworn into the office. (Bloomberg)

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin didn't think a picture of his wife striking a villainous pose while holding a sheet of dollar bills would go viral. (Politico)

  • Trump will keep the ban on importing elephant trophies in place. (New York Times)

  • The FCC is expected to release its plan for rolling back net neutrality this week. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Justice Department plans to sue to block AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner. (Bloomberg)