👋 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’s budget slashes funds for the EPA and State Department. The budget would funnel an additional $54 billion into defense programs, beef up immigration enforcement, and significantly reduce the nondefense federal work force to further the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” in the words of Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon. Major elements of the plan have already been declared dead on arrival by the Republican leadership in Congress, and much of the fiscal fine print will be filled in by Capitol Hill lawmakers and their aides over the next month. (New York Times)
- Trump federal budget 2018: Massive cuts to the arts, science and the poor. $54 billion bump in defense spending would be offset by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. (Washington Post)
2/ Mulvaney justifies budget: We can’t ask a coal miner to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “Make no mistake about it, this is a hard-power budget, not a soft-power budget,” Mulvanery says. (Politico)
3/ Federal judge in Hawaii freezes Trump’s new entry ban order hours before it would have temporarily barred the issuance of new visas to citizens of six Muslim-majority countries and suspended the admission of new refugees. (Washington Post)
- 2 federal judges ruled against Trump’s latest travel ban. A judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order Wednesday evening blocking Trump’s travel ban. Meanwhile, a second judge in Maryland ruled against Trump overnight, with a separate order forbidding the core provision of the travel ban from going into effect. (New York Times)
- Judges used Trump’s own words in ruling against his revised travel ban. Two federal judges halted the Trump’s second attempt at his executive order, citing his campaign trail vows to seek a Muslim ban, which amounted to “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the Executive Order and its related predecessor.” (Politico)
4/ Trump says he will submit evidence of wiretapping to House committee “very soon.” Trump added that he “will be, perhaps speaking about this next week” and predicted that “you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next 2 weeks.” (Fox News)
5/ Senate Intelligence Committee leaders say there is no indication that Trump Tower was under surveillance. The Republican chairman and top Democrat said in a joint statement they have seen no evidence to support Trump’s claim about Trump Tower being wiretapped. (Politico)
6/ Paul Ryan says health care bill is still on track, despite increasing GOP opposition. Don’t worry, everything is going according to plan. (NPR)
- Ryan: Health care plan must change to pass the House, marking a significant retreat from his earlier position that the carefully crafted legislation would fail if substantially altered. Rah roh. (Washington Post)
7/ Trump aides are privately blaming the health care bill’s problems on Paul Ryan. The Trump administration is trying to put some distance between them and Ryan, as the House’s Obamacare replacement bill gets criticized by conservative activists and Trump’s base of voters. (BuzzFeed News)
- Trump acknowledges that the repeal bill wouldn’t be great for his supporters. Trump signaled that the Republican bill is not in its final form, admitting that the current legislation does not favor the voters who elected him. (Talking Points Memo)
8/ John McCain accused Rand Paul of “now working for Vladimir Putin” after the Kentucky senator objected to a bill advancing Montenegro’s push for NATO membership. (The Daily Beast)
9/ Tillerson promises new policy on North Korea after “20 years of a failed approach.” China is expected to present a plan to cool North Korea tensions and suspend its ballistic missile tests and nuclear activities. The United States and South Korea would also halt their large-scale military exercises that annually antagonize Pyongyang. (CNN)
10/ Trump wants $4.1 billion for border wall. Republicans are showing increasing reluctance to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, as Trump prepares to ask Congress to include billions for one of his signature campaign promises in his first budget proposal since taking office. (Politico)
11/ Moscow paid $45,000 for Flynn’s 2015 talk at RT’s 10th anniversary party. RT is the Russian state-owned television network described by U.S. intelligence officials as “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet.” (Yahoo News)
- Flynn worked for several Russian companies and was paid more than $50,000 shortly before he became a formal adviser to the then-candidate. (Wall Street Journal)
- Flynn collected nearly $68,000 in fees and expenses from Russia-related entities in 2015, a higher amount than was previously known. (Washington Post)
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