👋 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/ Comey says the Justice Department has no information supporting Trump’s tweets alleging Obama ordered a wiretap in the run-up to the election. “I have no information that supports those tweets,” Comey says. (Washington Post)
- Trump’s wiretapping accusations come to a head as Comey testifies at the House Intelligence Committee. He is expected to say that there was no wiretapping, debunking allegations that Trump has repeatedly refused to withdraw. (CNN)
- Gowdy used Trump-Russia hearing to accuse Obama officials of leaking Flynn’s undisclosed contact with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. He proceeded to grill Comey as to which former official in Obama’s administration could have potentially “unmasked” Flynn’s name. (Talking Points Memo)
- NSA Chief denies British spying accusation when asked about a claim that British intelligence might have spied on Trump tower on behalf of the US. (CNN)
2/ Comey confirms FBI probe into Trump-Russia collusion. The director of the FBI says the probe is part of a larger investigation into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, but sees “no information” to support wiretapping claim. (Politico)
- Comey says Russia wanted to hurt US and Clinton, and help Trump. “They wanted to hurt our democracy, hurt her, help him. I think all three we were confident in at least as early as December,” Comey said. (CNN)
3/ Trump slams Comey hearing as “fake news” four hours before Comey confirmed the existence of a probe on “the Russian story.” Trump preemptively tried to swat down lingering allegations that his campaign engaged in improper activities with the Russian government during the 2016 election. (Salon)
4/ Gorsuch begins his confirmation hearings. While Judge Neil Gorsuch faces broad support among Republicans, but Democrats are angry that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to block a hearing in 2016 for Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. (Washington Post)
CALL YOUR SENATOR
Gorsuch is an avowed originalist and an enemy of women’s healthcare, LGBTQ rights, and access to justice. Here’s everything you need to know to call your senator. (5 Calls)
- Democrats make case against supreme court nominee, challenging Gorsuch’s “originalist” approach to the constitution. Gorsuch believes he should interpret the words of the constitution as they were understood at the time they were written. Which, you know, was in the era of slavery. (The Guardian)
5/ White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears. The unusual shadow government of political appointees is tasked with monitoring the secretaries’ loyalty to Trump. (Washington Post)
6/ New York attorney general steps up scrutiny of the White House as it hires a public-corruption prosecutor to target the Trump administration. (Wall Street Journal)
7/ At least 10 GOP lawmakers have said that Trump should release his tax returns. They’ve all declined, however, to join efforts to use the power of Congress to make it happen. (The Hill)
8/ Germany rejects Trump’s claim it owes NATO and U.S. “vast sums” for defense. “There is no debt account at NATO,” the German Defense Minister said, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2% of their economic output on defense to NATO. (Reuters)
9/ Latest North Korean rocket test shows “meaningful progress” in its effort to build a more powerful rocket and missile. The test indicates that the North has developed a more sophisticated engine. (New York Times)
- North Korea says it’s not afraid of US threat of military strike. “The nuclear force of (North Korea) is the treasured sword of justice and the most reliable war deterrence to defend the socialist motherland and the life of its people,” the official Korean Central News Agency quoted the spokesman as saying. (ABC News)
10/ Biden to rally with House Democrats to save Obamacare a day before House Republicans vote to dismantle the health law. Republican leaders have scheduled a vote on their Obamacare repeal bill for Thursday, the actual anniversary of the signing of the law. (Politico)
poll/ Almost half of Canadians want illegal border crossers deported. 40% of respondents said the border crossers could make Canada “less safe.” (Reuters)
poll/ Trump approval rating sinks to 37%, lower than any other commander-in-chief at this point in his first term since Gallup started tracking the issue in 1945. (ABC News)
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