👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ Trump’s voter-fraud commission asked all 50 states to turn over their full voter roll data for every voter in the US. The request includes a person’s voting history, party affiliation, name, address, date of birth, last four of their Social Security number, and their voting history dating back to 2006. Trump created the commission to investigate the alleged 3 million to 5 million undocumented immigrants he claimed voted illegally in the 2016 election. There is no evidence this happened. The commission is chaired by Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and a voter-fraud hardliner. (Washington Post)
- Presidential commission demands massive amounts of state voter data. A commission created by President Donald Trump to enhance confidence in America’s elections has asked all 50 states for copies of their voter records which often include names, addresses and ages. The commission has said it intends to make the information widely available. (ProPublica)
2/ At least 24 states are refusing to turn over voter data to Trump’s election panel. “At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression,” Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. (The Hill)
24 states won't provide voter data to Kobach: AZ, CA, CT, IN, KY, MA, MN, MS, NC, NM, ND, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) June 30, 2017
3/ Trump wants to “immediately” repeal Obamacare if the Senate health care bill fails. Trump tweeted that “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” Trump’s tweet came minutes after Senator Ben Sasse said on Fox News: “We need repeal. We need replace. Trying to do them together hasn’t seemed to work.” McConnell declined to comment on Trump’s suggestion. (Axios / Politico / ABC News)
If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
4/ Repealing Obamacare now would cause 18 million Americans to lose health coverage in the first year, which would reach 26 million a few years later. About 20 million people are covered now under the Obamacare markets or the law’s Medicaid expansion. One GOP aide said the chances of repealing first and then replacing are “zero.” Another added that it is “not going to happen.” (Politico / Axios)
- Senate health bill could hit employer-sponsored plans. A little-noticed provisions could cut four million people from employer coverage and boost out-of-pocket costs. (Wall Street Journal)
5/ A GOP opposition researcher sought Clinton’s emails while claiming to represent Michael Flynn. Peter W. Smith considered Flynn an ally in his effort to contact hackers hoping to find the 33,000 personal emails deleted by Clinton. “He said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this – if you find anything, can you let me know?’” said a computer security expert who searched hacker forums on Smith’s behalf. Smith, who died on May 14, supported Flynn’s efforts to establish relations with Russian officials. (Wall Street Journal)
6/ “Morning Joe” hosts suggest Trump tried to blackmail them with a National Enquirer hit-piece. On Friday’s show, Joe Scarborough recounted a story where “three people at the very top of the administration” called and texted him to say the National Enquirer was going to run a negative story about him and Mika Brzezinski. “If you call the president up, and you apologize for your coverage,” the officials said, “then [Trump] will pick up the phone and basically spike this story.” In a Washington Post op-ed by Scarborough and Brzezinski today, the couple said that during the campaign, Trump called Mika “neurotic” and promised to personally attack them after the campaign ended. Trump is friends with David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer. (CNN / Washington Post)
Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
7/ Republicans and cable news talk shows denounced Trump’s attack on Brzezinski, accusing him of demeaning women and his office. Republican lawmakers, from Paul Ryan to Lindsey Graham, reacted by making public pleas for Trump to stop the personal attacks. (CNN / Washington Post)
Please just stop. This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office.— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) June 29, 2017
Stop it! The Presidential platform should be used for more than bringing people down.— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) June 29, 2017
Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 29, 2017
This is not okay, Mr. President. https://t.co/O9HORCzocV— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 29, 2017
8/ Kellyanne Conway said the media’s coverage of Trump is “neither productive nor patriotic” and supports Trump’s use of social media to attack his opponents. “I like the fact that the president uses social media platforms to connect directly with Americans and in this case,” Conway said. “What [White House spokeswoman] Sarah Sanders said yesterday is true, that the president normally does not draw first blood. He is a counterpuncher as he said on the campaign trail.” (Politico)
9/ Trump appoints an anti-transgender activist to the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. In 2016, Bethany Kozma campaigned to oppose the Obama’s guidance to public schools that transgender students have the right to use bathrooms matching their gender identity, repeating an unsubstantiated assertion the policy leads to sexual assault. (BuzzFeed News)
10/ The White House council for women and girls has been silently disbanded while the administration evaluates whether to keep the office. Obama’s White House Council on Women and Girls was created in 2009 to monitor the impact of policy changes and liaise with women’s groups. (Politico)
11/ Scott Pruitt is launching an initiative to “critique” climate science at the EPA. Pruitt’s stated that he believes the climate is changing and humans have some role, but is skeptical that greenhouse gases are the primary cause of climate change, despite overwhelming scientific consensus. (Climatewire / The Hill)
12/ The House intelligence committee to interview another former Trump adviser in its Russia probe. Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign communications adviser, has agreed to come before the committee next month. Caputo once worked in Moscow and has connections to Russia. He has denied any collusion with Russian officials. (CNN)
13/ A Russian-funded radio station replaced a bluegrass station in DC. 105.5 FM now broadcasts Sputnik, a “global wire, radio and digital news service” funded by the Russian government. (DCist)
14/ NASA denied that it’s running a child slave colony on Mars. An Alex Jones guest alleged the space agency had kidnapped children and sent them on a two-decade mission to space… (The Daily Beast)
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