👋 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/ Pence puts North Korea on notice, warning them that “the era of strategic patience is over” regarding its nuclear and ballistic missile program. “North Korea would do well not to test his resolve — or the strength of the Armed Forces of the United States in this region,” the Vice President warned. (NPR)
- Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said “we need to apply pressure on North Korea so they seriously respond to a dialogue.” He also urged China and Russia to play more constructive roles on the issue. (Associated Press)
- Pence warns North Korea of US resolve as shown in Syria and Afghan strikes. (Reuters)
2/ North Korean envoy at UN warns of nuclear war possibility. The North Korean UN ambassador condemned the US naval buildup in the waters off the Korean Peninsula and said his country is ready to react to any “mode of war” from the United States. Any missile or nuclear strike by the United States would be responded to “in kind.” (CNN)
- North Korea “will test missiles weekly” despite international condemnation and growing military tensions with the US. (BBC)
3/ China and Russia have dispatched spy vessels to shadow Trump’s “armada” as it approaches North Korean waters. The two navies are hoping to track the movement of US ships in an effort to prioritize stability by “strengthening warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around the area. (The Telegraph)
- China, Russia send ships after US aircraft carrier. (The Salt Lake Tribune)
4/ South Korea is deploying an American missile defense system despite Chinese opposition. China had previously sanctioned South Korea to persuade them not to deploy the missile defense system. South Korea’s acting president vowed to press ahead with the “swift deployment” of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. (Washington Post)
5/ Trump taunts Democratic candidate in Georgia special election. He called the 30-year-old candidate a “super Liberal Democrat” that is soft on crime and big on raising taxes. Many see the special election as an early referendum on Trump’s performance so far. (Fox News)
6/ Jeff Sessions has brought sweeping changes to the Department of Justice. He’s moved quickly to roll back protections for transgender students, rescinded plans to phase out the government’s use of private prisons, and is resurrecting the tough-on-crime policies. (The Hill)
7/ Swing state voters wonder when the “winning” will start. Many still trust Trump, but wonder why his deal-making instincts don’t translate. They admire his zeal, but are baffled by his tweets. They insist he will be fine, but suggest that maybe Pence should assume a more expansive role. (New York Times)
8/ Corporate America is uniting on climate change. While consumer brands and industrial giants have been supporting government action on climate change for years, the biggest and most important US energy companies are now dropping their resistance to a global climate deal. The consensus is the broadest it’s been in a decade. (Axios)
9/ Trump’s border wall could leave some Americans on the “Mexican side.” Technically residents living near the Rio Grande Valley would be on US soil, but outside of a barrier built north of the river separating the two countries. (NBC News)
10/ The EPA becomes a target after Trump asks manufacturers how to boost domestic manufacturing. Nearly half of the 168 recommendations submitted were aimed at the EPA. (Washington Post)
11/ Russian TV says Trump is more dangerous than Kim Jong-Un. The Kremlin’s top TV mouthpiece said “Trump is more impulsive and unpredictable than Kim Jong Un.” (Bloomberg)
poll/ 45% say Trump keeps his promises, down from 62% in February. (Gallup)
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