👋 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/ Congress passed a short-term spending deal to keep the federal government open for another week. House and Senate negotiators will work through the weekend to finalize a longer-term deal that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. (Washington Post)
2/ Trump says a “major, major conflict” with North Korea is possible over its nuclear and missile programs, but would prefer a diplomatic solution. The administration is preparing new economic sanctions, but has not taken the military option off the table. (Reuters)
- China warns situation with North Korea is at a “critical point.” (Reuters)
- Tillerson urges the UN to act “before North Korea does,” calling on the international community to implement sanctions and suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with Pyongyang. (Reuters)
3/ North Korea released a propaganda video showing the White House in crosshairs and aircraft carriers exploding. The video declares that “the enemy to be destroyed is in our sights.” (Washington Post)
4/ House Republicans failed to round up enough votes for their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Again. Revisions to the bill won over the Freedom Caucus this week, but those same changes drove away other members, including some who supported the first version. (New York Times)
- Trump is “just a few” votes shy of having enough votes to pass his Obamacare replacement bill through the House. (Politico)
5/ The economy turned in the weakest performance in three years as consumers slowed their spending. Gross domestic product grew by just 0.7% in the first quarter following a gain of 2.1% in the fourth quarter. (Associated Press)
6/ Trump agrees with the majority of Americans: He wasn’t ready to be president. “This is more work than in my previous life,” Trump said. “I thought it would be easier.” (Washington Post)
7/ Trump expands offshore oil drilling activity with new executive order. The order also reconsiders rules designed to prevent a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. (Bloomberg)
8/ Sessions recused himself from any Michael Flynn investigation, extending his recusal from investigations into the 2016 election. (Politico)
9/ Trump’s original campaign manager is now promising to arrange meetings with Trump and “key members” of the administration. While Corey Lewandowski says he’s not a lobbyist, ethics watchdogs say he is flouting the spirit of the lobbying rules and abusing his access to the White House. (Politico)
10/ The State Department wants to clear Nikki Haley’s remarks before she speaks in an attempt to foster greater coherence with American’s foreign policy efforts. (New York Times)
11/ The NSA halts the collection of Americans’ emails and texts due to compliance issues with FISA court rules. The warrantless surveillance program was suppose to only collect information from people overseas that mention a foreigner under surveillance. But, the NSA ended up collecting messages sent and received domestically as a byproduct. Oops. (New York Times)
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