👋 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/ Federal investigators have sought the cooperation of Paul Manafort’s son-in-law in an effort to gain leverage over Trump’s former campaign chairman and turn him into a cooperating witness. Jeffrey Yohai, who hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, is a business partner of Manafort’s. It’s unclear if investigators have secured Yohai’s cooperation. Manafort is a focus in the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. He and Yohai are also under investigation for some of their business and real estate transactions. (Politico)
2/ Special counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed Manafort’s bank records. The subpoenas were sent in recent weeks from a Washington grand jury to global banks for account information and transaction records involving Manafort and some of his companies. It’s unclear when it happened, but Manafort is responsible for alerting authorities to the meeting involving Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton. (Bloomberg)
3/ Trump’s lawyer called the FBI raid on Manafort’s home a “gross abuse of the judicial process” for the sake of “shock value.” John Dowd also questioned the validity of the search warrant, calling it an “extraordinary invasion of privacy.” (Fox News)
4/ Trump doubled down on his threats to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea, suggesting that “maybe it wasn’t tough enough.” Trump escalated his rhetoric, saying “things will happen to them like they never thought possible” should North Korea attack the US or its allies. He added that he’s “backed by 100 percent by our military, we’re backed by everybody and we’re backed by many other leaders.” (USA Today / ABC News / Washington Post)
5/ The White House has failed to coordinate with a coalition of Latino organizations to develop Affordable Care Act outreach campaigns ahead of the open enrollment period, which begins on November 1st. Since 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House have helped develop education campaigns aimed at helping millions of Latinos sign up for health insurance. Trump has repeatedly announced his intention to “let Obamacare implode.” (Talking Points Memo)
6/ A nonpartisan study found that Trump’s own actions have triggered health care premium increases. Trump’s mixed signals have created uncertainty “far outside the norm,” which is leading to double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many consumers. 15 of the 20 major metropolitan areas will see increases of 10% or more next year. (Associated Press)
7/ Key posts across the executive branch are still empty, because the Trump administration has yet to nominate anyone – including several pivotal to relations with North Korea. (CNN)
8/ Trump tweeted that Mitch McConnell should “get back to work” and “put Repeal and Replace, Tax Reform and Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!” It’s Trump’s third tweet in two days calling out the Senate majority leader. Later in the day, Trump suggested that if McConnell doesn’t get health care reform, taxes, and an infrastructure bill passed, he should step down as majority leader. (CNN / ABC News / Axios)
9/ Scott Pruitt cast doubt on the idea that climate change poses a threat to the US, despite a recent report concluding that Americans are already feeling the effects of climate change. The EPA chief called for “red team/blue team” to try and challenge what he says is “so-called settled science” on climate change. Pruitt is skeptical of the scientific consensus that human activity is far and away the primary cause of climate change. NOAA and the American Meteorological Society published their annual “State of the Climate” report today, which concludes that 2016 was the third consecutive warmest year on record in 137 years of record keeping, with the highest levels of greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level, and sea surface temperature. (The Hill)
poll/ 70% of Americans believe Trump’s finances are fair game in the federal investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. (CNN)
poll/ Nearly half of Republicans say they would support postponing the 2020 presidential election if Trump proposed it in order to fix what they believe to be large-scale voter fraud. Claims that 3 to 5 million “illegals” voted in the election are not true, but that hasn’t stopped a substantial number of Republicans from believing the rumors. (Washington Post)
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