👋 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/ Democrats call for Nunes to recuse himself in Russia probe. Pelosi and Schiff both say Nunes is too close to the White House to lead a thorough investigation into Russia. His behavior has discredited and tarnished the House Intelligence Committee, making it difficult for him to remain credible. The committee has scrapped all meetings this week amid the turmoil. (CNN)
- The first GOP lawmaker calls for Nunes to recuse himself. “How can you be chairman of a major committee and do all these things behind the scenes and keep your credibility? You can’t keep your credibility,” Walter Jones said. (The Hill)
2/ Trump administration tried to block Sally Yates from testifying to Congress on Russia. The Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege. (Washington Post)
3/ Trump signs an executive order to dismantle Obama’s climate change policies. Trump celebrated the move as a way to promote energy independence and restore thousands of lost coal industry jobs. The executive order directs the EPA to start the legal process of withdrawing and rewriting the Clean Power Plan. (New York Times)
- Trump to sign an order dismantling Obama’s efforts to reverse climate change. The order will suspend, rescind, or flag for review more than a half-dozen measures in an effort to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels. Trump has called global warming a “hoax” invented by the Chinese. (Associated Press)
- Trump moves decisively to wipe out Obama’s climate-change record. The sweeping executive order seeks to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions. (Washington Post)
- Despite Trump’s move to ease carbon emissions, companies will continue to shift from coal. Energy experts say Trump’s expected roll back of the Clean Power Plan is unlikely to reverse the U.S. utility industry’s shift to natural gas, solar and wind as leading sources of electricity. (Wall Street Journal)
4/ Trump repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs allegedly connected to organized crime. Trump and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering. (USA Today)
5/ Congress votes to gut internet privacy rules. The vote repeals a set of landmark privacy protections, allowing internet providers to sell your browsing history, monitor your online habits, and deploy hidden tracking cookies on your phones. The measure heads to the White House, where Trump is expected to sign it. The measure was approved by the house 215-205. The Senate approved it last week by a 50-48 vote. (BuzzFeed News)
6/ Trump tweets: “Russia story is a hoax.” In a 37-minute, four-tweet Twitter tirade, Trump attacks Bill and Hillary Clinton, the “Podesta Russian Company,” the Freedom Caucus, Democrats, and Obamacare. (Politico)
7/ Congress may stiff Trump on funding to build his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump’s hoping to jump-start construction with money in a must-pass government funding bill. Democratic leaders are vowing to block any legislation that includes a single penny for the wall. The result could end in a government shutdown next month if the bill doesn’t pass. (Politico)
8/ Trump wants to do tax reform and infrastructure at the same time. The shift to infrastructure is to buy the support of Democrats while avoiding negotiations with the Freedom Caucus, which sank the health care bill. The infrastructure plan was likely going to be parked until next year. (Axios)
9/ Paul Manafort has engaged in a series of real estate deals in New York City over the past 11 years that fit a pattern used in money laundering. The former Trump campaign manager is also facing multiple investigations for his political and financial ties to Russia. (WYNC)
10/ The White House is asking Congress to cut $18 billion on everything from education to mental health programs. The cut would help pay for Trump’s military supplemental request, the proposed border wall, and the rest absorbed to help prevent a government shutdown. (Politico)
11/ House Republicans and the White House have restarted negotiations on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Just days after Trump said he was moving on to other issues, the White House is now saying hope they can still score the kind of big legislative victory that has so far eluded Trump. (New York Times)
12/ Trump believes the Supremacy Clause bars state lawsuits against a sitting president. A lawsuit claims Trump tarnished an “Apprentice” alum’s reputation and accuses him of kissing her twice in 2007 and attacking her in a hotel room. (Hollywood Reporter)
13/ Sanctuary city mayors fire back at Trump administration’s threat to cut fed funding. “If they actually act to take away our money, we’ll see them in court,” vowed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Fox News)
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