👋 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 pushes for border wall funding in spending dispute with Democrats. Aides have stressed that funding for a border wall and a vote on an effort to repeal and replace Obamacare could both be accomplished this week despite a budget deadline looming that could lead to a government shutdown. (ABC News)
- Nancy Pelosi calls Trump’s border wall “immoral, expensive, unwise.” The Trump administration is willing to push a government shutdown if funding for the border wall is not included in a bill to fund the government this week. (NBC News)
- The border wall would be “catastrophic” for the environment and endangered species. (NBC News)
2/ As a government shutdown looms, lawmakers could pass a short-term spending bill that would keep the government open in the interim while a longer-term measure is finalized. (New York Times)
3/ The French president called on voters to reject far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and back Emmanuel Macron to succeed him. President Hollande said “France’s make-up, its unity, its membership of Europe and its place in the world” are all at stake. (BBC)
4/ The Senate probe into Trump’s connection to Russia has no full-time staff. Seven part-time staffers are working on the inquiry, none with significant investigative experience, and no interviews with key individuals have been conducted. (Daily Beast)
- The Senate Intelligence Committee has made little progress in its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It is increasingly stymied by partisan divisions that are jeopardizing the future of the inquiry. (Yahoo News)
5/ A California Democrat called Attorney General Jeff Sessions “a racist and a liar,” after Sessions’s comments about a federal judge in Hawaii. (The Hill)
Dear "Attorney General" Sessions: You are a racist and a liar. Actually, just joking. Oh wait, your record shows you are a racist & a liar. https://t.co/efSMggbe9Y— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 23, 2017
6/ Defense Secretary Mattis is in Afghanistan to discuss war needs and how best to confront Russia for providing machine guns and other medium-weight weapons to the Taliban. (ABC News)
7/ Republican donors, leaders, and candidates worry the 2018 midterms will be a referendum on Trump’s performance. Republicans are expressing early concern over Trump’s lack of legislative accomplishments, his record-low approval ratings, and the overall dysfunction that’s gripped his administration. (Politico)
8/ Anti-Semitic incidents have surged since the election of Trump, and a “heightened political atmosphere” has played a role in the rise of actions ranging from bomb threats and cemetery desecration to assaults and bullying. (Reuters)
9/ Trump blasts approval rating polls as “fake news” conducted by media outlets whose polling about last year’s presidential election had proven incorrect. (Politico)
10/ “When I won,” Trump thought, “now I’ll get good press.” Once again, Trump displays a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the media, which is to act as a check on power. (Washington Post)
- Here’s the full transcript of an Oval Office interview between Trump and Associated Press White House Correspondent Julie Pace. (Associated Press)
- Trump: I gave “Face the Nation” the highest ratings “since the World Trade Center came down.” (The Hill)
11/ As the carrier group heads for Korean waters, China calls for restraint. The deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group has angered North Korea, which called it “an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade.” The US and Japan have begun joint naval drills in the region. (Reuters)
12/ The entire US Senate to go to the White House for a North Korea briefing. All 100 senators have been asked to attend the briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It’s unusual for the entire Senate to go to an event like this at the White House. (NBC News)
13/ Trump wants to cut the corporate rate to 15%, even if it means a loss of revenue and exacerbating the procedural and partisan hurdles he faces in search of his first major legislative victory. (Wall Street Journal)
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