👋 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 9th Circuit court ruled against Trump’s revised travel ban. It’s the second federal appeals court to uphold the block on the travel ban, declaring that Trump exceeded his authority in suspending the issuance of visas to residents of six Muslim majority countries. “A reasonable, objective observer — enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance — would conclude that the executive order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion,” Judge Watson wrote. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NPR)
2/ Jeff Sessions will testify in an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday about his role in the Russia investigation. Last week, James Comey testified that Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed meeting with Russia’s ambassador to the US. Before Sessions recused himself from the investigation, Comey believed certain details made Sessions involvement in the investigation “problematic.” The Committee hasn’t allotted time for Sessions to privately discuss classified matters after his public forum. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 2:30PM ET. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN)
3/ The Senate Intelligence Committee plans to interview Jared Kushner in late June or early July and is expected to be a closed session. A date has not been set, but Kushner is expected to provide documents and then return for questions from senators. (ABC News)
4/ D.C. and Maryland are suing Trump, alleging he violated anti-corruption clauses by accepting millions in payments and benefited from foreign governments since moving into the White House. The lawsuit says Trump’s continued ownership of a global business has makes him “deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors,” which has undermined the integrity of the US political system. (Washington Post / Politico)
5/ In a separate case, the Justice Department argued that Trump can accept payments from foreign governments while he is in office. Advocates from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington brought the suit against Trump in January, asserting that because Trump-owned buildings take in rent, room rentals and other payments from foreign governments he breached the emoluments clause. (Washington Post / Politico / The Hill)
6/ Senate Republicans won’t release a draft of their health care bill. It’s unclear what changes Republicans have made, because there have been no hearings and no possibility for amendment. They want to vote on the bill before the July 4th recess. (Axios / The Week)
7/ Trump’s attorneys won’t rule out firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to look into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. “I’m not going to speculate on what he will, or will not, do,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said. “That, again, is an issue that the president with his advisers would discuss if there was a basis.” (Politico)
8/ The secret service says it has no audio or transcripts of any tapes recorded in the White House. The FOIA request doesn’t exclude the possibility that recordings could have been created by another “entity.” (Wall Street Journal)
9/ Reince Priebus has until July 4th to clean up the White House. Trump has threatened to fire his chief of staff if major changes are not made. While Trump has set deadlines for staff changes before, he’s under more scrutiny than ever with the sprawling Russia investigation. (Politico)
10/ Trump’s visit to the U.K. might be put on hold to avoid large-scale protests. Trump’s come under criticism for starting a feud with London’s mayor on Twitter following the terrorist attack in London. Prime Minister Theresa May said there had been no change of plans for Trump’s state visit. More than half of the British public views Trump as a threat to global stability. (New York Times / Reuters)
11/ Preet Bharara said Trump tried to build a relationship with him before he was fired. The former US attorney in Manhattan said his contacts with Trump’s were strikingly similar to those between the president and Comey, which made him increasingly uncomfortable as they broke with longstanding Justice Department rules on communicating with the White House. (New York Times)
12/ The first full Cabinet meeting turned into a Trump tribute session. Pence, Sessions, Perry and Priebus took turns praising Trump’s first five months. Trump opened the meeting with a statement touting that he had led a “record-setting” pace of activity and that few presidents have passed more legislation than he has, despite Congress having passed no major legislation since he took office 144 days ago. (CNN / CNBC / New York Times)
poll/ 49% of voters think Trump committed obstruction of justice. 37% of voters say they think Trump is honest, to 56% who say he’s not. 53% of voters consider Trump to be a liar. (Public Policy Polling)
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