👋 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 “will take action” to end any North Korea threat to the US and will not accept a hostile regime with nuclear weapons. While the administration is not planning to respond to the failed missile launch, Trump’s national security adviser said the launch “fits a pattern of provocative and destabilizing and threatening behavior on the part of the North Korean regime.” (ABC News)
- Trump administration warns North Korea to end its nuclear testing or face US reprisals. North Korean leader is “unpredictable” and a threat to the world, McMaster said, and it’s “clear” that Trump would not allow the North to threaten the US. (Los Angeles Times)
- Trump is willing to consider “kinetic” military action to counteract North Korea’s destabilizing actions, including a sudden strike. Trump’s preference is for China to take the lead on dealing with North Korea. (Bloomberg)
2/ From South Korea, Pence calls the North Korean missile launch “a provocation.” Trump is considering an array of military, diplomatic, and other options to respond to the “risks plaguing both the region and the United States.” Pence is in South Korea on behalf of Trump to convey to the troops stationed there that “we’re proud of you and we’re grateful for your service.” (New York Times)
3/ Trump is “trying to out-North Korean the North Koreans” with his aggressive rhetoric against the totalitarian state, the former US ambassador to South Korea said. He added that people are nervous because they’re not sure what Trump means by it. “When you talk in those terms, you’ve got to be prepared to back it up.” (Politico)
4/ A raft of potential conflicts are arising across the executive branch, according to an analysis of recently released financial disclosures. Trump’s filled the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck. (New York Times)
5/ The energy chief is ordering a study of the US electric grid to examining whether policies that favor wind and solar energy are accelerating the retirement of coal and nuclear plants critical to ensuring steady, reliable power supplies. The effort suggests that the administration may be looking for other ways to keep coal plants online. (Bloomberg)
6/ Trump wants to know why people are still talking about his taxes following a nationwide Tax March that drew thousands of people in dozens of cities. He declared on Twitter that “The election is over!” (Washington Post)
- Protesters clash with Trump supporters in Berkeley, California. At least 21 people were arrested and 11 were injured, with seven transported to the hospital in unknown condition. (CNN)
7/ A GOP lawmaker responds to concerns about Internet privacy by saying the “Nobody’s got to use the Internet.” Town hall attendees were told that using the Internet is a choice by their Wisconsin congressman, F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Washington Post)
8/ Marijuana is “not a factor” in the war on drugs Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said. Solving the nation’s drug problem does not involve “arresting a lot of users,” either. Instead, he said methamphetamines, heroin, and cocaine were responsible for the deaths of 52,000 people that cost the country $250 billion. (Politico)
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