👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
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1/ Trump will withdraw from the Paris climate deal. A small team is now deciding on whether to initiate a full withdrawal, which could take 3 years, or exit the underlying United Nations climate change treaty, which would be a faster, more extreme move. World leaders, the Pope, major oil companies, and even Ivanka and Kushner have pushed Trump to stay in the deal. (Axios / Politico / New York Times)
2/ Elon Musk threatens to leave Trump’s advisory councils if the US exits the Paris climate deal. He joins twenty-five leading tech companies who signed a letter arguing in favor of climate pact that is set to run as a full-page ad in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal tomorrow. (Bloomberg / Politico / The Verge)
Don't know which way Paris will go, but I've done all I can to advise directly to POTUS, through others in WH & via councils, that we remain— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 31, 2017
Will have no choice but to depart councils in that case— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 31, 2017
3/ Comey will testify publicly about Trump pressuring him to end his investigation into Flynn’s ties to Russia. Comey will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee and is expected to confirm that Trump confronted him over the Russia investigations. Mueller and Comey discussed parameters to ensure his testimony won’t hurt the special counsel’s investigation. It will be Comey’s first time speaking in public since Trump unexpectedly fired him. (CNN / Wall Street Journal)
4/ The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas. Four are related to the Russia investigation – Michael Flynn and Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, and their businesses. The other three – to NSA, FBI, CIA – are related to how and why the names of Trump’s associates were “unmasked.” (Wall Street Journal)
5/ Al Franken: “everything points to” collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russians. “My feeling is that there was some cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” the Minnesota Democrat said. (Bloomberg)
6/ The Russia probe has slowed Trump’s effort to fill hundreds of vacant jobs across the federal government. The growing scandal is scaring off candidates and distracting aides from finding new recruits. The White House has announced nominees for just 117 of the 559 most important Senate-confirmed positions. (Politico)
7/ Trump’s top advisers claim he backed NATO’s Article 5, despite never explicitly doing so during his speech to NATO last week. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed by the national security adviser and director of the national economic council, they wrote that by “reconfirming America’s commitment to NATO and Article 5, the president challenged our allies to share equitably the responsibility for our mutual defense.” (Wall Street Journal)
8/ Paul Ryan appointed a controversial cancer doctor to a Health and Human Services committee, which will advise the Trump administration on policy around health information technology. Patrick Soon-Shiong leads a network of for-profit and not-for-profit ventures researching cancer. The problem: the majority of the expenditures of his nonprofits flow to his for-profit businesses, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest. (Politico)
9/ Trump didn’t expect so much “covfefe” of his midnight tweet. The big guy fired off “…negative press covfefe” just before going to bed. Six hours later, he corrected the mistake, but not before becoming a worldwide joke on social media. So much for letting his lawyers vet his tweets. (Associated Press)
Wakes up.— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) May 31, 2017
📈 Lookups fo...
Regrets checking Twitter.
Goes back to bed.
- Sean Spicer offered a cryptic explanation for Trump’s incomplete, misspelled tweet that went viral overnight: “The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.” (The Hill)
10/ Meanwhile, Trump’s been asking world leaders to call him on his cellphone, breaking protocol and raising concerns about the security and secrecy of his communications. (Associated Press)
11/ Jared Kushner built a luxury skyscraper using loans designed to benefit projects in poor, job-starved areas. Working with state officials in New Jersey, they defined a district that included some of the city’s poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods, but excluded wealthy neighborhoods blocks away, allowing Kushner Companies and its partners to get $50 million in low-cost financing. While not illegal, critics liken it to the gerrymandering of legislative districts. (Washington Post)
poll/ 8% think GOP health care bill should pass. Nearly half of consumers say that their cost of health care will be “worse” under the American Health Care Act, compared to 16% who think the cost will be “better” and 36% who feel it will be “about the same.” (CNN Money)
poll/ 43% want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings, but most don’t believe that Trump is actually guilty of an impeachable offense, like treason, bribery or obstructing justice. (Politico)
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