👋 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 weighs mobilizing National Guard for immigration roundups. A draft memo proposes to mobilize 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border. The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana. (Associated Press)
- US doesn’t plan to use National Guard to arrest immigrants. The White House and Department of Homeland Security both said they are not planning to use the National Guard to apprehend and arrest undocumented immigrants, despite a “preliminary draft memo” that indicated doing so was a possibility. (ABC News)
- Homeland Security on AP’s National Guard: “Absolutely Incorrect”. The memo the AP cited was an early, pre-decisional draft, that DHS Secretary John Kelly never approved, and that the department as a whole never seriously considered. (The Daily Beast)
- Migrants choose arrest in Canada over staying in the U.S. People who work with immigrants in Canada say these border-jumpers would rather be arrested in Canada than live in fear of how U.S. officials might handle their cases. (NPR)
2/ Senate on track to confirm Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator despite calls from Democrats to delay until he turns over thousands of requested emails from his time as attorney general as part of a public records lawsuit. Democrats boycotted a committee vote on Pruitt’s nomination last month in an effort to delay his confirmation. Republican leaders have shown no signs they intend to wait for the documents to be released before voting to confirm him. (ABC News)
- Senate confirms climate-change skeptic Scott Pruitt to lead EPA, an agency he sued as Oklahoma attorney general. Pruitt’s confirmation marked a serious defeat for environmental advocacy groups. Pruitt has sued the EPA more than a dozen times during the Obama administration, challenging the agency’s authority to regulate toxic mercury pollution, smog, carbon emissions from power plants and the quality of wetlands and other waters. In Oklahoma, he dismantled a specialized environmental protection unit that had existed under his Democratic predecessor and established a “federalism unit” to combat what he called “unwarranted regulation and systematic overreach” by Washington. Pruitt cleared the Senate by a vote of 52-46. (Washington Post)
3/ Trump – under fire – returns to his scorched-earth politics that served him during the campaign. He’ll continue his campaign-style reboot with a rally in Florida, reuniting with the devoted supporters who view Trump as a political crusader dedicated to the obliteration of Washington’s elites. (CNN)
4/ More Democrats call on Sessions to withdraw from Russia probe. A letter sent to Sessions by 55 lawmakers asks him to withdraw based on his ties to Trump’s campaign and key figures who have been alleged to have ties to Russia. (Washington Post)
5/ House G.O.P. leaders outline their plan to replace Obamacare. Their plan leans heavily on tax credits to finance individual insurance purchases and sharply reducing federal payments to the 31 states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility. They did not say how the legislation would be paid for, essentially laying out the benefits without the more controversial costs. (New York Times)
6/ Republican strategist Ana Navarro hits Kushner for complaining about CNN: “Oh, baby boy, I’m so sorry”. Kushner complained to an executive of Time Warner, CNN’s parent company, about unfair coverage of the Trump administration on CNN. (The Hill)
7/ Chaffetz seeks charge of ex-Clinton aide in email inquiry. The chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who has refused Democratic requests to investigate possible conflicts of interest involving Trump, is seeking criminal charges against a Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department employee who helped set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Chaffetz sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to convene a grand jury or charge Pagliano. (Washington Post)
8/ Tillerson aides layoff staff at the State Department. While Rex Tillerson is on his first overseas trip as Secretary of State, staffers were told that their services were no longer needed at the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the Counselor offices. (CBS News)
9/ Trump has a four-person short list for his national security adviser after retired Harward turned down the job. Trump gave no indication on how soon a decision could be made, but he is expected to move quickly even as questions grow over contacts with Russia by the former security adviser, Michael Flynn. (Washington Post)
10/ Trump hires Mike Dubke as White House communications director. The Crossroads Media founder will relieve pressure on Sean Spicer, who has been both the press secretary and communications director since Trump took office, which have traditionally been separate positions. (Washington Post)
11/ Ryan struggles to sell tax reform plan to fellow Republicans. Ryan has framed his proposal as a compromise between a tariff, which the president wants, and conservative orthodoxy against border taxes. He has suggested it’s in keeping with Trump’s “America first” mantra, since it would reward American manufacturers that make products here and sell it abroad. But the idea is sharply dividing Republicans — even within the White House. (Politico)
12/ Trump promises new immigration order as DOJ holds off appeals court. Trump said his administration will issue “a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people” next week. The Justice Department wrote at length in a 47-page about the “seriously flawed” Ninth Circuit ruling from last week, but nevertheless said: “(r)ather than continuing this litigation, the President intends in the near future to rescind the order and replace it with a new, substantially revised executive order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns.” (CNN)
13/ Trump call the news media “the enemy of the American people” in his escalating war against journalists. Trump has regularly referred to the media as the “opposition party,” and has blamed news organizations for stymieing his presidential agenda. But the language he deployed typically used by presidents to refer to hostile foreign governments or terrorist organizations. (New York Times)
- Trump wants you to take this bizarre survey on media bias. The “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey,” which was emailed to people who had previously signed up for campaign updates is designed to record his supporters’ anger at news organizations. (BuzzFeed News)
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