👋 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 Trump reelection campaign paid $50,000 to Trump Jr.’s attorney two weeks before the release of his emails. Alan Futerfas started representing Trump Jr. on July 10th, but was paid at least $50,000 on June 27th. Futerfas’s expertise is in white collar criminal defense, not political or election law. In total, Trump disclosed $677,826 in payments described as “legal consulting” between April and June. (Politico / The Daily Beast)
2/ Trump’s lawyer blamed the Secret Service for vetting and allowing Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer. The Secret Service pushed back, saying that Trump Jr. was not a “protectee of the USSS in June, 2016. Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time.” On ABC’s “This Week,” Jay Sekulow said: “Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in. The President had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me.” (Reuters / CNN)
3/ Sean Spicer contradicted both Trump and Trump Jr. on the Russian lawyer meeting. Spicer said that “there was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe” that the meeting was about anything other than international adoption policy. The statement contradicts the contents of Trump Jr.‘s email setting up the meeting. And, earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that “Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!” (The Daily Beast)
4/ Mitch McConnell delayed the Senate vote on the health care bill until John McCain returns from surgery where he had to remove a blood clot above his left eye. Neurosurgeons said McCain’s recover could take a week or two. Rand Paul said the delay would strengthen critics’ position by giving them more time to mobilize against the bill. “The longer the bill is out there, the more conservative Republicans are going to discover it is not repeal,” he said. (New York Times / Washington Post)
- McCain’s surgery will delay Senate votes on health care bill. McConnell said the Senate would “defer consideration” of the bill, scheduled for this week, because John McCain would be absent, recovering from surgery that he had to remove a blood clot above his left eye. (New York Times)
5/ The CBO will not release its updated score for the Senate health care plan today as planned. The Senate Budget Committee did not provide an explanation or when the analysis was expected, saying it will provide further information and updates as appropriate. (CBS News / Washington Post)
6/ Insurers called the Senate health care bill “simply unworkable in any form” and warned that it would cause major hardship for middle-class people with serious medical problems. America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said “millions of more individuals will become uninsured.” (HuffPost)
7/ The office of a Republican senator who’s voiced concerns about GOP health care bill was burglarized. A note was found at Dean Heller’s office that reportedly read, “Vote no on the health care bill or I will lose my health care and die, and you will, too.” Heller has not said whether or not he will support the revised version of the bill. His seat is a top target for Democrats in 2018. (NBC News / Politico)
8/ Homeland Security will turn over Mar-a-Lago visitor logs. Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington filed suit with the National Security Archive and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University for the logs of visitors from Mar-a-Lago, the White House and Trump Tower. DHS will release the logs by September 8th. (Politico)
9/ Trump tweets that his low poll numbers are “not bad at this time.” His 36% approval rating means he has his base, and that’s it. (ABC News)
poll/ Americans prefer Obamacare to the Republican replacement by a 2-to-1 margin – 50% to 24%. More specifically, 77% of Democrats prefer Obamacare, while 59% of Republicans favor their party’s solution. (Washington Post)
poll/ 61% of Americans say the nation is headed down the wrong path and 55% now view Trump unfavorably. Both up 12 points since December. (Bloomberg)
poll/ Trump’s job approval rating in counties that fueled his election victory stands at 50%, while 46 percent disapprove. (NBC News)
poll/ 36% of all Americans approve of Trump’s job performance, down 6 points from his 100-day mark, itself a low. The previous president closest to this level at or near six months was Gerald Ford, at 39%, in February 1975. (ABC News)
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