👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ Trump believes millions voted illegally – but provides no proof. The claim has long been debunked. (CNN)
2/ Trump orders the construction of a Mexican border wall. It’s the first in a series of actions to curtail immigration and bolster national security. It includes slashing the number of refugees who can resettle in the United States and blocks Syrians and others from “terror prone” nations from entering temporarily. (NY Times)
3/ Federal works told to stop talking to Congress and the press. The freeze has startled aides on the Hill and people at those agencies, who worry that it could abruptly upend current operations and stifle work and discussions that routinely take place between branches of government. (Huffington Post)
4/ Trump has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (ProPublica) Trump also banned employees from giving social media updates and speaking with reporters. (The Hill)
5/ USDA scientists have been put on lockdown. “Starting immediately and until further notice” the department’s main research division “will not release any public-facing documents,” according to an internal memo. UPDATE: The order was rescinded by the department on Tuesday. (Buzzfeed)
6/ USDA disavows gag-order emailed to scientific research unit. An internal email sent to staff at its Agricultural Research Service unit this week calling for a suspension of “public-facing documents,” including news releases and photos, was flawed and that new guidance has been sent out to replace it. (Reuters)
7/ A National Park deleted tweets on climate change after Trump silenced federal scientists. The tweets were posted by a former employee and officials decided to delete them because the account had been “compromised,” a National Parks official said. (Buzzfeed)
8/ GOP Rep.: ’Better to get your news directly from the president.” The chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee said that Donald Trump was a more credible news source than the entire press corps. (Talking Points Memo)
Spicer: The media “disposition should be” Trump is correct “unless we can prove otherwise”
“…at some point, the disposition should be he is going to do it unless we can prove otherwise. He has shown through every step of the way that he’s going to win. And so it just seems to me it’s just odd that if those are the odds, if you are looking at his track record, the track record is a proven track record of success and winning. And yet, the media’s default is on every scenario, whether it’s hasn’t nominees getting through or winning a primary or him accomplishing something, it’s immediately negative and a failure.” (Media Matters)
9/ Trump’s disregard for the truth threatens his ability to govern. In the first five days of his presidency, Trump has put the enormous power of the nation’s highest office behind spurious — and easily disproved — claims. (Washington Post)
10/ Trump dogged by insecurity over popular vote, media coverage. He might hold the most powerful office in the world, but he’s dogged by insecurity over his loss of the popular vote in the election and a persistent frustration that the legitimacy of his presidency is being challenged by Democrats and the media, aides and associates say. (Associated Press)
11/ For Trump, everything is a rating. Trump spent his first weekend in office at war with math. He said that his inauguration crowd — which photographs showed was dwarfed by Barack Obama’s estimated 1.8 million in 2009 — “looked like a million, a million and a half.” His staff members backed up that claim with what his adviser Kellyanne Conway memorably termed “alternative facts.” (NY Times)
12/ Trump 101: What he reads and watches.
With an allergy to computers and phones, he works the papers. With a black Sharpie in hand, he marks up the Times or other printed stories. When he wants action or response, he scrawls the staffers’ names on that paper and either hands the clip to them in person, or has a staffer create a PDF of it — with handwritten commentary — and email it to them. An amazed senior adviser recently pulled out his phone to show us a string of the emailed PDFs, all demanding response. It was like something from the early 90s. Even when he gets worked up enough to tweet, Trump told us in our interview he will often simply dictate it, and let his staff hit “send” on Twitter. (Axios)
13/ “We the People” demand Trump release his tax returns. One of the features on the White House website that didn’t vanish when President Trump took the oath of office on Friday is the “We the People” page, which allows ordinary Americans to petition their government to address an issue of importance to them. The Obama White House, which created the feature, responded to petitions that received at least 100,000 signatures within 30 days. (NY Times)
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