👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
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1/ Nunes could be facing an ethics probe after disclosing the existence of a foreign surveillance warrant. House Ethics Committee rules compel Congress to investigate any “unauthorized disclosure of intelligence.” (The Daily Beast)
2/ FBI Director James Comey attempted to reveal Russian tampering months before the election. Obama administration officials blocked him. Comey had pitched the idea of writing an op-ed about Putin’s effort to influence the election. It would not have mentioned whether the FBI was investigating Trump’s campaign workers or others close to him. (Newsweek)
3/ The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked to question 20 people in its investigation into Russian interference in the election. The bipartisan composure contrasts the House Intelligence Committee, where Representative Devin Nunes ties to the Trump White House have raised doubts about his ability to conduct an impartial investigation. (New York Times)
- Fiorina calls for an independent panel or special prosecutor to handle the Russia investigation. (The Hill)
- Senate steps up as House Russia probe flails. The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee delivered a bipartisan show of force. (Politico)
4/ The US won’t tally LGBT people in the 2020 census. A draft of subjects planned for the census initially had a proposal to include sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time. That inclusion was not listed in the finalized report delivered to Congress this week. (Huffington Post)
5/ Neil Gorsuch looks short of the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. This is as close to must-win as it gets for Trump and the GOP after last week’s health care debacle and McConnell has guaranteed Gorsuch will be confirmed on April 7. If Democrats filibuster, McConnell will then need to whip 50 of his 52 members to change the rules unilaterally to end the filibuster by simple majority and allow Gorsuch’s confirmation. (Politico)
6/ Ivanka Trump will take an unpaid federal job as her father’s assistant. She’ll be moving from an informal, voluntary role to an official adviser. Her previous role raised ethics concerns, which would allow her to avoid some rules and disclosures. (New York Times)
7/ House GOP is weighing another vote on Obamacare. Paul Ryan is encouraging members to continue talking about how to “get to a place of yes” on health care. Members of Freedom Caucus have been talking with Republican moderate holdouts in an effort to identify changes that could bring them on board with the measure. (Bloomberg)
8/ Theresa May triggers the official Brexit process in a letter to the EU. The move kicks off a two-year negotiation period for both sides to agree to the divorce and establish a new trade deal before the March 2019 deadline. (BBC)
9/ DNC Chairman asks all staffers for their resignation letters in a major overhaul of the party’s organization. The mass resignation letters will give Tom Perez a chance to completely remake the DNC’s headquarters from scratch. (NBC News)
10/ Trump’s company pursues a second Washington hotel amid criticism over ethics. The second hotel would be under the new Scion brand and licensed by a developer from the Trumps. (Washington Post)
11/ Police union warns Trump’s “sanctuary city” cuts could risk safety. The Fraternal Order of Police were one of Trump’s biggest supporters during the 2016 election. (Reuters)
12/ Sean Spicer lashes out at a reporter: “Stop shaking your head.” Spicer snapped at the American Urban Radio Networks’ correspondent April Ryan after she asked how Trump’s administration would work to repair its image. (NBC News)
13/ Trump attacks The New York Times again. It’s not clear what set Trump off this time, but he took to Twitter falsely recalling the time when the “failing” New York Times “apologized” to its subscribers after the election “because their coverage was so wrong.” (Talking Points Memo)
.@realdonaldtrump False, we did not apologize. We stand by our coverage & thank our millions of subscribers for supporting our journalism.— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) March 29, 2017
14/ Health secretary pledges to uphold Obamacare, but little else. Tom Price was non-committal when asked if he would continue to promote Obamacare enrollment and enforce essential health benefits requirement, such as maternity benefits. (CNBC)
poll/ Republicans blame bill, not Trump, for the health care defeat. 49% of those surveyed said the Republican bill failed because it “just wasn’t popular.” 30% of Republicans said it didn’t pass because “Democrats didn’t compromise.” (CBS News)
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