👋 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/ Steve Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council. The White House said Bannon was placed on the committee to monitor Michael Flynn - he never attended a meeting. The national intelligence director and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are “regular attendees” of the NSC’s principals committee, again. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made the change. (Bloomberg)
- Pence says Bannon’s removal from the National Security Council is not a demotion. Adding, Bannon is a “very highly valued” member of Trump’s administration and will “continue to play important policy roles.” (Talking Points Memo)
2/ Neil Gorsuch failed to cite the source of work he copied in his book and an academic article. Gorsuch borrowed from the ideas, quotes, and structures of scholarly and legal works without citing them. The White House pushed back against suggestions of impropriety. Hey, @Gorsuch, here’s how you cite a source => (Politico)
3/ Democratic senator holds floor in 15 hour marathon speech criticizing Gorsuch. Democrats say Gorsuch is too radical in his strict interpretations of the Constitution to serve on the Supreme Court. (ABC News)
4/ A federal appeals court ruled that companies cannot discriminate against LGBT employees because of their sexual orientation. The judge wrote that the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin or sex, needed to be interpreted based on evolving societal norms. The battle is likely headed to the Supreme Court. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
5/ North Korea fired a ballistic missile as Trump prepares to meet with Chinese President Xi. The missile fell into the Sea of Japan, but the concern surrounding North Korea’s weapons program is that it could eventually equip long-range missiles with a nuclear warhead. (CNN)
6/ Ivanka Trump: “If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good… then I’m complicit.” Trump said people will have to do without her “public denouncements” and trust that she’s telling her dad hard truths about his policies. (CBS News)
7/ The House Intelligence Committee wants Susan Rice to testify in the probe of alleged Russian election interference. The White House and the House panel’s chairman have accused the Obama administration of improperly using surveillance information, including “unmasking” the redacted names of Trump’s transition team members for political gain. (Wall Street Journal)
8/ Trump says Susan Rice may have committed a crime by seeking the identities of his associates. Trump provided no evidence to back his claim, but said he thinks this is “going to be the biggest story. It’s such an important story for our country and the world. It is one of the big stories of our time.” Current, former, Republican and Democratic intelligence officials have all said that there is nothing unusual or unlawful about Rice’s requests. The identities of Americans swept up in surveillance of foreign officials by intelligence agencies are supposed to be obscured, but can be revealed for national security reasons – a regular occurrence. (New York Times)
- Rice denies compiling and leaking names of Trump officials from intelligence reports. Rice said she “absolutely” never sought to uncover “for political purposes” the names of Trump officials concealed in intelligence intercepts. (Washington Post)
9/ Rubio: It’s no coincidence that the Syria gas attack happened after Tillerson’s “concerning” comments. Last week in Turkey, Tillerson said he thinks the long term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people. (CNN)
10/ Trump: Chemical attacks in Syria “crossed many, many lines beyond a red line.” He then criticized Obama for not taking military action in Syria – at the time Trump had publicly urged the president not to do so. (Politico)
- Trump’s changes his view of Syria and Assad Altered after “unacceptable” chemical attack, say he would not tolerate the “heinous” chemical weapons attack. (New York Times)
11/ The Senate’s most senior Republicans are split on the going “nuclear” and changing the rules to confirm Gorsuch. McConnell says the “nuclear option” helps the Senate, while McCain says “whoever says that is a stupid idiot.” (Washington Post)
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