👋 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.
Send your thoughts, suggestions, or complaints to:
1/ The Supreme Court partly reinstated Trump’s travel ban. The administration may now impose a 90-day ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the US, as long as they lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Trump said the court’s decision to hear arguments on the travel ban cases in October was a “clear victory” for national security and will go into effect in 72-hours. Three justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — said they would have let the complete ban take effect while the court considers the case. (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)
2/ Trump will meet with Putin in Germany next month. Trump wants a full bilateral meeting, while the State Department and National Security Council are urging for restraint. All 17 US intelligence agencies have agreed Russia was behind the hack of DNC’s email and tried to influence the election to benefit Trump. A former KGB general said Putin has “other priorities” than discussing the accusations that Russia hacked the election, such as easing sanctions, raising oil prices, as well as next year’s presidential elections in Russia. (Associated Press)
3/ A Russian government official making $75,000 per year spent nearly $8 million on Trump condos in South Florida. There is also no public disclosure of Igor Zorin’s properties in Russia, which is illegal under Russian law. None of Zorin’s property purchases used bank financing, meaning he most likely paid cash. He made roughly $75,000 in 2015 and $159,000 in 2016. In one sale, a Florida company transferred a condo valued at $1.5 million to Zorin. No deed of sale was recorded, meaning the price paid — if any — is unknown. (Miami Herald)
4/ Russia is recalling Sergey Kislyak as the FBI and Congress continue to investigate the 66-year-old diplomat’s contacts with Trump’s team during the 2016 presidential campaign. Kislyak spent nearly 10 years at the center of US–Russia relations. (BuzzFeed News)
5/ The Trump administration has done little to prevent Russian hacking in the next election. Trump has shown no interest about how to prevent future election interference. Comey testified that Trump never asked him about how to stop a future election attack, while Jeff Sessions, who sits on the National Security Council, testified that he has not received a classified briefing on Russian election interference. Sean Spicer has never addressed the topic with Trump, either. Despite blaming the 2016 hacks on Obama, Trump hasn’t said what he would do to stop Russian hacking. (NBC News)
6/ The Senate health bill would leave 22 million more uninsured by 2026, slightly lower than the 23 million the House bill was projected at. 15 million more people would become uninsured next year compared to the current law. The federal deficit would decrease by $321 billion over a decade, compared to $119 billion for the House’s version. (New York Times / Washington Post)
7/ White House allies are retaliating against a Republican Senator who opposes the Obamacare repeal plan. America First Policies launched a $1 million attack against Dean Heller to both punish and sway his vote. (Politico)
8/ Trump confirmed that he called the health care bill “mean” and then accused Obama of stealing his term. Last week Obama said the Senate health care bill “will do you harm.”, adding that there is a “fundamental meanness” to the Republican health care bill. In a Fox and Friends interview, Trump took credit. “Well he actually used my term, ‘mean.’ That was my term,” he said. “Because I want to see – and I speak from the heart – that’s what I want to see, I want to see a bill with heart.” (CNN)
9/ Kellyanne Conway suggested people who lose Medicaid coverage could find jobs to provide health insurance. Projections show the Senate health bill would cut Medicaid by $800 billion, which Conway asserted is not a cut, but rather “getting Medicaid back to where it was.” (CNBC / ABC News)
10/ Senate Republicans are skeptical their health care bill can pass this week. Republicans say the biggest problems with the Obamacare repeal bill are its steep Medicaid cuts and effects on older Americans’ premiums. “There’s no way we should be voting on this” before the recess, Senator Ron Johnson said, urging party leaders to “not rush this process.” (Politico)
11/ Trump tweets that Democrats are “OBSTRUCTIONISTS” and that Obama “colluded or obstructed” on Russia. Here is Trump’s full tweetstorm: “The Democrats have become nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS, they have no policies or ideas. All they do is delay and complain.They own ObamaCare! The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win and did not want to ‘rock the boat.’ He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good. The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero ‘tapes’ of T people colluding. There is no collusion and no obstruction. I should be given apology!” (CNN / The Daily Beast)
12/ Kushner finalized a $285 million loan from a bank trying to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The loan came a month before the election and both cases were settled in December and January. Deutsche Bank is Trump’s biggest lender. (Washington Post)
13/ Ivanka Trump, senior adviser to the president: “I try to stay out of politics,” gives him “an A, of course” for his performance. She’s met with senators to discuss paid family leave, delivered the keynote at the Republican National Convention, and has met with world leaders. She added that her father has “phenomenal” political instincts. (ABC News / Politico / CNN)
14/ Trump drives his golf cart on the green. Doesn’t care. Does it all the time. (Washington Post)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.