👋 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/ Appeals court rejects request to immediately restore travel ban. A federal appeals court early Sunday rejected a request by the Justice Department to immediately restore President Trump’s immigration order. The ruling meant that refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations would, for now, continue to be able to enter the country. (NY Times)
A judge in a lower federal court had put a temporary stop to the travel ban. Because the appeals court declined to intervene immediately, affected travelers can enter until at least until Monday. The appeals court set a schedule asking challengers to the ban to file a response by roughly 3 a.m. Eastern on Monday, and the Justice Department — representing the Trump administration — to reply to that by 6 p.m.
Trump administration had said it was improper for a lower court to engage in “second-guessing” of President Trump’s controversial immigration order and asked the appeals court to dissolve the judge’s order that stopped its implementation. (Washington Post)
- Pence defends Trump’s criticism of judge who blocked travel ban. “The judge’s actions in this case,” Mr. Pence added, “making decisions about American foreign policy and national security, it’s just very frustrating to the president, to our whole administration, to millions of Americans who want to see judges that will uphold the law and recognize the authority the president of the United States has under the Constitution to manage who comes into this country.” (NY Times)
- What happens if Trump decides to ignore a judge’s ruling. If Trump were to ever go down this road, the ultimate arbiter would be the other branch of government. He said Trump could be held in contempt of court, and it would then be up to the House of Representatives. the Trump administration has given no indication that they’ll actually ignore this particular court order. (Washington Post)
2/ Trump tells O’Reilly he “respects” Putin in Super Bowl interview. In a preview, Trump reveals his plans for dealing with Putin. O’Reilly asked Trump whether he “respects” the former KGB agent: “I do respect him, but I respect a lot of people,” Trump said, “That doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him.” (Fox News)
- Pelosi calls for probe of possible Russian blackmail of Trump. House and Senate panels are also investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, including possible contacts between the Kremlin and Trump’s campaign. (Politico)
3/ McConnell rebukes Trump’s attack on the federal judge who temporarily halted his travel ban. The Senate Republican leader also distanced himself from the president on Russia, voter fraud and the travel ban. (Politico)
- McConnell: No federal money for voter fraud prob. While McConnell says there is voter fraud, he doesn’t believe it’s as widespread as Trump claims or requires federal intervention. He says that cleaning up voter rolls is best left to the states. (The Hill)
4/ Sanders on Trump: “This guy is a fraud” and is working with Wall Street as he looks to roll back some banking regulations. Sanders criticized Trump for appointing “all of these billionaires” to his Cabinet, and singled out his major financial adviser, who comes from Goldman Sachs. (Politico)
- From “drain the swamp” to Government Sachs. Although Trump campaigned as an economic populist, his brand of populism was simply old-school Reaganomics—giveaways to the rich and pro-corporate deregulation—rebranded with a nationalist and protectionist twist. After the election, Trump stocked his Cabinet with Wall Street billionaires and mega-millionaires—Wilbur Ross, Steve Mnuchin, Cohn—who had benefitted personally from the lax regulatory regime that was in place before 2010. (The New Yorker)
5/ “We’ll do better”: Trump’s White House tries to gain a sense of order amid missteps. The big thinker remains chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who has used chaos as a tool for implementing transformative policy but who aides said is now trying to adapt to working within Priebus’s structure. (Washington Post)
6/ White House pulls back from bid to reopen C.I.A. “Black Site” prisons, where the C.I.A. once tortured terrorism suspects. The White House circulated among National Security Council staff members a revised version of the draft order on detainees that deleted language contemplating a revival of the C.I.A. prisons. (NY Times)
7/ New FCC chair blocked 9 companies from providing affordable Internet to the poor. The program, known as Lifeline, provides registered households with a $9.25-a-month credit, which can then be used to buy home Internet service. As many as 13 million Americans may be eligible for Lifeline that do not have broadband service at home, the FCC has found. (Chicago Tribune)
8/ Trump’s F.D.A. pick could undo decades of drug safeguards. (NY Times)
9/ Trump posted a false news report to his Facebook page and got thousands of shares.The report claimed that Kuwait had also issued a visa ban on several Muslim-majority countries after President Trump’s immigration order. They didn’t. (BuzzFeed News)
- Trump’s lies are not the problem. It’s the millions who swallow them who really matter. As the alt-right continues to set the agenda in global politics at a frightening pace, has the world reverted to a 20th-century era of totalitarianism? (The Guardian)
10/ Trump is right: Silicon Valley is using H-1B visas to pay low wages to immigrants. This drafted executive order could actually mean higher wages for both foreign workers and Americans working in Silicon Valley. (Huffington Post)
11/ “The Senate is coming apart.” The Senate is barely functioning. And the future looks even bleaker. Things have gotten so bad in the chamber lately that Chuck Schumer even voted against Mitch McConnell’s wife. (Politico)
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