👋 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 executive order suspends admission of all refugees for 120 days while a new system is put in place to tighten vetting for those from predominantly Muslim countries and give preference to religious minorities. Trump said that the goal is to screen out “radical Islamic terrorists” and that priority for admission would be given to Christians. (Washington Post)
2/ The extreme vetting plan to establishes a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations. The order also stops the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and bars entry into the United States for 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim countries linked to concerns about terrorism. Those countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. (NY Times)
3/ The order will block 500,000 legal U.S. residents from returning to American from trips abroad. The president has also used language that will affect those who are in the U.S. already on visas and green cards. (ProPublica)
4/ Trump’s immigration ban excludes countries with business ties. His proposed list doesn’t include Muslim-majority countries where his Trump Organization has done business or pursued potential deals. Properties include golf courses in the United Arab Emirates and two luxury towers operating in Turkey. (Bloomberg)
5/ Trump’s immigration ban is illegal. More than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed such discrimination against immigrants based on national origin. (NY Times)
6/ Following Trump’s executive order green card, visa holders already blocked by airports. Within hours of the executive order limiting immigration from Muslim countries, green card and visa holders were already being blocked from getting on flights to the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security issued a directive at 4:30 p.m. ordering the Customs and Border Protection to enforce the executive order. People who were still in the air as of 10:30 p.m. likely face being blocked at the airport when their planes land, he said. (NY Daily News)
7/ A little-noticed move by Trump could make it easier to deport immigrants. The move stripped federal privacy protections from many immigrants, raising fears among advocacy groups that information people willingly submitted to the federal government during the Obama administration could now be used to help deport them. (Washington Post)
8/ Governing without a script. Trumps seems to be running his administration much like he ran his company and campaign, eager to weigh in on every issue and willing to make last-minute calls. (Wall Street Journal)
9/ Trump blows up the U.S.-Mexico relationship. In one of his first instances of Twitter diplomacy as President, Trump wrote, “If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.” Not surprisingly, Peña Nieto cancelled. (The New Yorker)
10/ The theater of access. Trump’s relationship with the media may be obsessive, but it’s also deeply transactional — the media has always been a tool in his pursuit of fame and power. (NY Times)
11/ The Bannon coup. White House and Hill GOP leaders are astonished by the unambiguous, far-reaching power of Steve Bannon and policy guru Stephen Miller over, well, just about everything.(Axios)
12/ Trump’s first seven days in office were historic, chaotic, astonishing and unsettling. With a flurry of provocative executive orders, surreal events, unapologetic falsehoods and did-he-really-say-that tweets, Trump continued to obliterate political norms, serving notice that the gaze of history won’t change who he is. He made so much news and did so many unorthodox things that it was hard to keep track of everything that was changing in Washington. The question, though, is what did all that sound and fury signify? (Politico)
13/ Republican lawmakers fret about how to repeal Obamacare. Republican lawmakers aired sharp concerns about their party’s quick push to repeal the Affordable Care Act inside a closed-door meeting Thursday, according to a recording of the session obtained by The Washington Post. (Washington Post)
14/ Pence vows “full evaluation of voting rolls” over claims of fraud. In a private meeting with congressional Republicans this week, the Trump administration would pursue a wide-ranging probe of voting rolls in the United States to examine whether millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election as President Trump has charged. (Washington Post)
15/ Can a president who disregards the truth uphold his oath of office? His job demands a basic level of respect for the concepts of law and meaning. (Washington Post)
16/ Trump backers like his first draft of a New America. Trump voters interviewed said they cared little if the president spouted off on Twitter because he was issuing the kind of executive actions many had long craved — freezing federal grant money for environmental research, banning foreign aid for groups that give abortion counseling and cutting off immigration from several Muslim-majority nations. (NY Times)
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