👋 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/ Investigators are examining if Trump’s digital operation helped guide Russia’s election meddling. The digital team was overseen by Jared Kushner. The House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in states that supported Hillary Clinton. (McClatchy DC)
- The White House is under siege by Trump Jr.’s Russia revelations. The president is enraged that the Russia cloud still hangs over his presidency and, now, over his family. (Washington Post)
2/ Jared Kushner’s lawyers discovered Trump Jr.’s emails while reviewing documents. The team amended Kushner’s clearance forms to disclose it, but Kushner still faces potential trouble because he currently works in the White House and neglected to mention the encounter on the forms he filled out for a background check to obtain a security clearance. (New York Times)
3/ The White House won’t say whether Jared Kushner still has a security clearance after he omitted the interaction with the Russian lawyer on his application for a security clearance. He later included the meeting on a supplemental form. Sarah Huckabee Sanders dodged the question, saying the White House has “never discussed the security clearance” of a staff member. (Talking Points Memo / CNN)
4/ Trump’s lawyer said the President didn’t see the emails until Trump Jr. released them. Jay Sekulow also said Trump was not aware Trump Jr. was offered information about Clinton from Russia. “The President, by the way, never saw an email – did not see the email – until it was seen today,” Sekulow said, referring to Trump Jr.’s tweets containing copies of the email chain. Trump said he did not fault his son for holding the meeting. “I think many people would have held that meeting,” he added. (CNN / Reuters)
5/ Trump’s other lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, isn’t seeking a security clearance. Several lawyers who have represented presidents and senior government officials said they could not imagine how Kasowitz could handle a case full of sensitive material without a clearance. Kasowitz is Trump’s attorney in the Russia investigations. (ProPublica)
6/ Kasowitz wants to wall off Jared Kushner from discussing the Russia investigation with Trump. The goal is to protect Trump from special counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation into Kushner’s three meetings with the Russians. Kasowitz has “complained that Kushner has been whispering in the president’s ear about the Russia investigations […] while keeping the lawyers out of the loop.” (Axios / New York Times)
7/ US intelligence overheard Russian officials discussing Trump associates before the campaign began. Starting in the spring of 2015, intelligence agencies detected conversations where Russian government officials discussed meetings with Trump business associates and advisers. It’s not clear which Trump associates or advisers the Russians were referring to, or whether they had any connection to his presidential aspirations. (Wall Street Journal)
8/ Trump tweets that he has “very little time for watching T.V.,” saying his “W.H. is functioning perfectly, focused on HealthCare, Tax Cuts/Reform & many other things.” (Politico)
9/ An Iowa Republican wants to use funding from food stamps and Planned Parenthood to pay for Trump’s border wall. Representative Steve King said the government needs to “ratchet back down” the number of Americans on food stamps and that he’d “find half a billion” of the $1.6 billion needed for the wall “from right out of Planned Parenthood’s budget.” (CNN)
10/ The State Department spent more than $15,000 for rooms at the Trump hotel in Vancouver. The 19 rooms booked represent the first evidence of State Department expenditures at Trump-branded properties since he took office in January. (Washington Post)
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