👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
Send your thoughts, suggestions, or complaints to:
1/ Jeff Sessions confirmed as Attorney General, capping a bitter and racially charged nomination battle. Sessions survived a near-party-line vote, 52 to 47, in the latest sign of the extreme partisanship at play as Trump strains to install his cabinet. No Republicans broke ranks in their support. (New York Times)
- How senators voted on Sessions. (New York Times)
- Why Jeff Sessions is so uniquely dangerous. Sessions will not prioritize citizens who have had their lives ruined by racial disparities in policing, or by the persistent use of excessive force by officers who are shielded from accountability. He won’t be an attorney general who will side with those consigned by petty judges to cycles of poverty and crime, or those circulating in and out of a new generation of debtors’ prisons. (Esquire)
2/ Republicans vote to rebuke Elizabeth Warren for impugning Sessions’s character. In an extraordinarily rare move, Mitch McConnell interrupted Warren’s speech in a near-empty chamber, as debate on Jeff Sessions’s nomination, saying she had breached Senate rules by reading past statements against Sessions. (Washington Post)
- Silencing Elizabeth Warren backfires on Senate GOP. Warren went straight from the Senate floor to a call-in appearance on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show. Adding fuel to the backlash, supporters noted the apparent hypocrisy that Warren’s male colleagues were able to read from the letter uninterrupted. (CNN)
- “Nevertheless, she persisted” becomes new battle cry after McConnell silences Elizabeth Warren. If the Republican senators had intended to minimize Warren’s message, the decision backfired — severely. (Washington Post)
- Jeff Merkley reads Coretta Scott King’s letter about Jeff Sessions on Senate floor. Uninterrupted. (The Oregonian)
3/ Appeals Court panel appears skeptical of Trump’s travel ban. The appeals court judges seemed taken aback by the assertiveness of the administration’s position, which in places came close to saying the court was without power to make judgments about Trump’s actions. (New York Times)
- Trump decries “disgraceful” opposition as appeals court weighs immigration order. Trump also repeated claims that politics plays a role in the challenges to the travel ban and questions about his authority to implement it. (Washington Post)
- Gorsuch calls Trump’s tweets about the judiciary “demoralizing” and “disheartening” to the independence of the courts. Gorsuch took exception to Trump calling a federal judge in Seattle a “so-called judge” after blocking the President’s travel ban. (CNN)
- Homeland Security chief admits travel ban was rushed. People caught up in the confusion after the ban was imposed were denied access to lawyers, held in detention for hours without food, and in some instances coerced into signing away their entry visas. (New York Times)
4/ House Republicans voted to eliminate the only federal agency that makes sure voting machines can’t be hacked. In a little-noticed 6-3 vote, the House Administration Committee voted along party lines to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission, which helps states run elections and is the only federal agency charged with making sure voting machines can’t be hacked. (The Nation)
5/ Trump invites sheriff to “destroy” Texas state lawmaker who opposes asset forfeiture, a practice by which law enforcement can seize the cash and property of individuals suspected of committing a crime without a guilty verdict. Proponents of the practice argue that allows law enforcement to effectively combat terrorism and the drug trade, while opponents, including some conservatives, argue that it allows police to seize assets without due process. (Politico)
6/ Leaks suggest Trump’s own team is alarmed by his conduct: an impulsive, sometimes petty chief executive more concerned with the adulation of the nation than the details of his own policies ― and quick to assign blame when things do not go his way. (Huffington Post)
7/ Yemen withdraws permission for U.S. antiterror ground missions after the raid, in which just about everything went wrong, killed several civilians, including children. It was an early test of Trump’s national security decision-making. The White House continues to insist that the attack was a “success.” (New York Times)
8/ US military to rent space in Trump Tower. Military support for a president, including the military staff assigned to keeping the “nuclear football” nearby, requires close proximity to the commander in chief, which is why the Pentagon needs to rent a more expensive space closer to the penthouse where Trump resides when he’s in New York. The floors available to rent cost about $1.5 million a year. (CNN)
9/ Trump faults media while lying about murder rate. Trump has suggested that the national news media suppresses bad news about violence. He has implied that this is for ideological reasons. (CNN)
- Trump says his critics “pull out the racist card” when they characterize him or his policies as anti-Muslim or anti-black. Trump also defended himself against criticism that he makes comments without factual evidence to support them, such as his unsubstantiated claim that millions of undocumented immigrants voted illegally. (Washington Post)
- Conway clashes with CNN’s Jake Tapper on air. Tapper pressed Conway sharply on Trump’s false claim that the U.S. murder rate is “the highest it’s been in 45 to 47 years.” Conway then tried to shift the conversation to the criticism she has received from media reports, while asserting that she’s “the most open press person in the White House. (Politico)
10/ Democrats to plot anti-Trump strategy in Congress and at the polls. Democrats are thinking about how to capture the fast-growing wave of resistance to the Trump administration, as seen at congressional town halls, congressional offices, and airports since Trump was sworn. Trump is polling poorly across the country but stronger in swing seats. (Washington Post)
11/ White House weighs terrorist designation for Muslim Brotherhood, targeting the oldest and perhaps most influential Islamist group in the Middle East. Officially designating the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization would roil American relations in the Middle East. (New York Times)
12/ Spicer: Nordstrom dropping Ivanka Trump’s line is “direct attack on Trump”. Spicer told reporters during his daily press briefing that the decision – which Nordstrom said was a result of poor sales, not politics – was because of the clothing company’s displeasure with Trump’s executive orders and his policies. (Talking Points Memo)
Nordstrom’s shares up nearly 5 percent after clash with Trump. (Vox)
T.J. Maxx backs away from Ivanka Trump as President assails Nordstrom. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores sent a note to employees telling them to throw away signs for Ivanka Trump products. (New York Times)
13/ Republicans push carbon tax at White House. A carbon tax, long favored by economists as the most straightforward way to address climate change, could gain traction as part of a broad tax overhaul. (Bloomberg)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.