👋 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/ The House oversight panel says Flynn did not comply with the law. Trump’s former national security adviser did not properly disclosed payments from Russia on his security clearance application. Flynn received $45,000 for a speech he gave to RT-TV in Russia. (CNN)
2/ Flynn’s Turkish lobbying now linked to Russia. A Turkish man that gave Flynn a $600,000 lobbying deal just before Trump picked him to be national security adviser had business ties to Russia. (Politico)
- Sally Yates is set to testify at the May 8 Senate hearing. Yates was supposed to tell lawmakers last month about phone calls between Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The hearing was abruptly postponed amid accusations the White House didn’t want her to testify. (CNN)
3/ A federal judge has blocked Trump’s directive seeking to deny federal funding to “sanctuary cities.” The ruling is another high-profile blow to Trump’s efforts to use executive orders to carry out major policy moves. (Politico)
4/ Trump promised the biggest tax cut in history. The plan he put forward as a candidate would reduce revenues by 2.6% of GDP. That would be less than the cuts that Truman made (2.7%) in 1945, as well as those that Reagan enacted (2.9%) in 1981. (Washington Post)
5/ The government’s costs could increase by $2.3 billion in 2018 if Congress and Trump decide not to fund Obamacare-related payments to health insurers. Trump has threatened to withhold the payments to force Democrats to the negotiating table on a healthcare bill to replace Obamacare. (Reuters)
6/ The White House is “confident” it will avert a shutdown as Trump shows flexibility on his wall. Trump softened his demand that a deal to keep the federal government open include money to begin construction on his long-promised border wall. He is open to delaying funding for wall construction until September. (Washington Post)
- White House backtracks after Trump opens the door to delaying funding for border wall. Sean Spicer said Trump has not given up on getting funding for the wall now, despite Trump telling conservatives he could come back to it in September. (ABC News)
7/ Mexico is worried that the border wall will worsen flooding. Engineers believe construction of the border barrier may violate a 47-year-old treaty governing the shared waters of the Rio Grande. If Mexico protests, the fate of the wall could end up in an international court. (NPR)
8/ Republican lawmakers ask Trump to scale back Obama-era protections for gays and lesbians in order to make good on campaign promises to protect religious liberty. Trump has said that he supports the LGBTQ community and does not support any kind of discrimination. But Trump also believes there should be policies that allow for people to express their religious beliefs. (USA Today)
9/ Ivanka Trump gets booed and hissed at during a Berlin event. She was put on the spot about her father’s attitudes toward women and grilled by the moderator about what, exactly, her role is in the Trump administration. She defined her goal as enacting “incremental positive change.” (Politico)
10/ The US imposed sanctions on 271 employees of the Syrian government it said were responsible for producing chemical weapons and ballistic missiles. (New York Times)
11/ Trump warns Canada over its import tax on dairy: “We will not stand for this.” Last April, Canada implemented a new import tax on dairy, which had been duty-free under the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. (The Hill)
12/ Trump slaps Canada with 20% tariffs on softwood lumber in response. The move has drawn criticism from the Canadian government, which vowed to sue if needed. (Bloomberg)
- Analyst says Canadian lumber tariffs will not affect home prices. The US Home Construction ETF dropped nearly 1% following the announcement, which a homebuilding analyst called “a papercut.” Investors worried about an increase in costs. (CNBC)
13/ State Department posts, then removes article promoting Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Critics had complained that the website was moonlighting as a promotional outlet for Trump’s real estate empire. (Salon)
poll/ 37% of Americans say Obamacare should be repealed and replaced. 61% say it should be kept and fixed instead. 79% say Trump should seek to make the current law work as well as possible, not to make it fail as soon as possible, a strategy he’s suggested. (ABC News)
poll/ 50% have little to no confidence in the GOP healthcare plan. 51% say Obamacare is either working well the way it is or that it needs just minor modifications to improve it. (NBC News)
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