👋 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 may have incited violence during a Louisville campaign rally a federal judge in Kentucky said. Trump’s attorneys sought to have the case dismissed on free speech grounds. The judge noted that speech inciting violence is not protected by the First Amendment and ruled that there is plenty of evidence that the protesters’ injuries were a “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s words. Trump repeatedly said “get ’em out of here” before the protesters were shoved and punched by his supporters. (Washington Post)
2/ Michael Flynn initially failed to disclose payments from Russian propaganda network. The former National Security Advisor’s financial disclosure forms made no mention of a $45,000 payment from a Russian state-run media network. (The Daily Beast)
3/ The United Nations warns that Americans’ right to protest is in danger under Trump. At least 19 states have introduced measures that would criminalize peaceful protests, stiffen penalties for demonstrators who block traffic, and even allow motorists to run over and kill agitators as long as the crash was “accidental.” The bills represent an “alarming and undemocratic” trend that could have a chilling effect on activism. (Washington Post)
4/ Democrats are urging Trump to veto the bill allowing your internet provider to sell your browsing history without your permission. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said consumers would be stripped of critical privacy protections and would make private data from laptops, iPads, and cellphones fair game for internet companies to sell.(Associated Press)
5/ The Chinese ambassador has established a back channel with Jared Kushner. The Chinese have found Trump to be a bewildering figure, but Kushner has been a steady hand, helping orchestrate a fence-mending phone call between Trump and the Chinese President over the four-decade-old “One China” policy on Taiwan. (New York Times)
6/ FBI is probing whether Trump aides helped Russian intelligence carry out cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political targets in early 2016. The FBI is going back further than originally reported to determine the extent of possible coordination. (CBS News)
7/ Obama administration officials made a list of Russian probe documents to keep them safe. The former administration was so concerned about what would happen to key classified documents after Trump took office that they created a list of document serial numbers to give to senior members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. (NBC News)
8/ Mark Cuban doesn’t think Trump could have pulled off Russia collusion. Cuban argued that Trump “isn’t detail oriented, organized or big picture enough” to pull off any such “conspiracy.” (The Hill)
9/ The Senate Judiciary Committee panel is set to vote on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. The vote sets the stage for a showdown in how Gorsuch’s confirmation will be achieved: Democrats will try to filibuster the vote. Republicans have vowed to change the Senate’s rules if necessary. (USA Today)
10/ Russian government posts April Fools’ Day prank offering “election interference.” The Russian Foreign Ministry posted on an audio message of an automated telephone switchboard to arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to “to use the services of Russian hackers,” and “to request election interference.” (CBS News)
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