👋 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/ Senate Republicans’ are aiming for a vote on their Obamacare repeal by the Fourth of July recess. Republican leaders are faced with two choices: craft a bill that can get 50 votes, or bring up a bill they know will fail in order to end the health care debate and move on to tax reform, demonstrating that Republicans are too divided. They’re prepared to take a failed vote on the Obamacare repeal in order to “show them a body” and bring the seven-year quest to a definitive end. (Politico / Vox)
2/ Trump’s frustration with Jeff Sessions grows, blaming him for the “watered down, politically correct version” of the travel ban. He’s also upset with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from investigations related to the Russia probe. (New York Times)
3/ Eric Trump called the Trump-Russia collusion allegations the “greatest hoax of all time.” He added that the investigation into possible coordination between his father’s presidential campaign and the Kremlin’s election meddling was a “witch hunt.” (The Daily Beast / ABC News)
4/ Donald Trump shifted money from Eric Trump’s kids cancer charity into his business. Eric Trump’s charity golf event was supposed to use his family’s golf course for free with most of the other costs donated, but the Trump Organization billed the charity for more than $1.2 million for its use. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament. The “maneuver would appear to have more in common with a drug cartel’s money-laundering operation than a charity’s best-practices textbook.” (Forbes)
5/ The contractor that leaked classified NSA documents on Russian hacking was charged by the Justice Department. Reality Leigh Winner, 25, is accused of “removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.” She leaked a top-secret NSA report showing that Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one US voting software supplier last year. Winner faces up to 10 years in prison for leaking classified information. (CNN / Washington Post)
- What we know about the leaked secret NSA report on Russia. (ABC News
6/ The Russian attacks on the election systems were broader and targeted more states than those detailed in yesterday’s leaked intelligence report. The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said, “I don’t believe they got into changing actual voting outcomes.” (USA Today)
8/ Scott Pruitt falsely claimed that “almost 50,000 jobs” have been added in coal. The actual gains were in “mining” jobs, which have nothing to do with coal. 1,000 coal jobs have been added since Trump became president. (Washington Post)
9/ Trump took credit for the $110 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia that began in the Obama administration. Further, there is no deal: just letters of interest for “intended sales,” but no contracts. (Brookings)
10/ He also appeared to take credit for the Gulf nations decision to cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, an important US ally. Qatar hosts one of the Pentagon’s largest military bases in the Middle East and is a linchpin in the campaign against ISIS. (CNN / The Daily Beast)
11/ Kids are quoting Trump to bully their classmates. There’s been more than 50 incidents, across 26 states, where a white K-12 student used Trump’s rhetoric to bully Latino, Middle Eastern, black, Asian, or Jewish classmates. Teachers don’t know what to do about it. (BuzzFeed News)
12/ Comey will stop short of accusing Trump of obstructing justice in his congressional testimony, despite some legal experts saying Trump’s requests could meet the legal definition of obstruction. Comey will also dispute Trump’s assertion that Comey told him three times he is not under investigation. “He is not going to Congress to make accusations about the president’s intent, instead he’s there to share his concerns.” (ABC News)
13/ Trump might live-tweet during Comey’s testimony on Thursday. He “wants to be the messenger, his own warrior, his own lawyer, his own spokesman” and as such will directly respond to Comey on Twitter as the testimony is underway. “He wants to be the one driving the process.” (CNBC / The Hill / Raw Story)
14/ Sean Spicer said Trump’s tweets are official statements, but didn’t indicate whether that included both of his Twitter handles: @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS. Regardless, the ACLU said they will use Trump’s tweets to build their argument in the Supreme Court case on the travel ban. (CNN)
Yes, we may incorporate @realDonaldTrump's tweets about the ban into our Supreme Court argument.— ACLU (@ACLU) June 5, 2017
- The Knight First Amendment Institute asked Trump to unblock his critics on Twitter, saying his account is a “designated public forum” subject to the First Amendment and bars the government from excluding individuals from a public forum because of their views. (Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University )
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