👋 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 Secret Service has blown through its budget to pay agents because of Trump’s frequent travel and large family. More than 1,000 agents have hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year. The Secret Service has enough to money to continue protecting Trump and his family through September. If Congress don’t lift the cap, about a third of the agency’s agents would be working overtime without being paid. (USA Today / Washington Post)
2/ Republican political committees have spent nearly $1.3 million at Trump-owned properties this year. Federal Election Commission records show the Republican National Committee paid the Trump International Hotel in Washington $122,000 last month and at least 25 congressional campaigns, state parties, and the Republican Governors Association have together spent more than $473,000 at Trump hotels or golf resorts this year. (Washington Post)
3/ The Trump administration disbanded the National Climate Assessment panel, a group aimed at translating scientific findings into concrete guidance for both public and private-sector officials. Its members have been writing the Climate Science Special Report, due for release in 2018, which estimated that human activities were responsible for an increase in global temperatures of 1.1 to 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit from 1951 to 2010. (Washington Post)
4/ The Trump administration cut funding for Obama’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention program after three years instead of the planned five. The Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that the “very weak evidence of positive impact of these programs stands in stark contrast to the promised results, jeopardizing the youth who were served.” (Axios / Wired)
5/ Trump will address the nation tonight on a “path forward” in Afghanistan at 9PM ET. The speech will “provide an update on the path forward for America’s engagement in Afghanistan and South Asia.” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis received authority in June to send as many as 3,900 troops to Afghanistan. It will be Trump’s first prime-time broadcast on a specific policy issue. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times)
6/ Paul Ryan will hold his first public town hall in nearly two years tonight. The town hall will air tonight at 9:30PM ET on CNN. Last month, Ryan said he would not hold public town halls due to concerns over potential protesters coming in from outside districts. (CNN / The Hill)
7/ Trump’s pick for USDA chief scientist has argued that homosexuality could lead to the legalization of pedophilia. Sam Clovis also said that homosexuality is a choice and the science on “LGBT behavior” is unsettled. Clovis is not an agricultural scientist and lacks the “specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education and economics” required by law for the position. (CNN / Politico)
8/ At least 15 charities have cancelled their planned fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago. Large nonprofits began walking away from Mar-a-Lago after Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville and claimed there were “very fine people on both sides.” (New York Times / Washington Post)
9/ Trump thanked a fake Twitter user and then attacked the “dishonest Fake News Media.” The account was created in October 2015, but it first tweeted just 3 days ago, gathering over 6,000 followers with memes and posts exclusively celebrating Donald Trump. Trump thanked the bot for its tweet saying that “Every single day the #FakeNews media try to take you down.. You never falter, you always stand strong!” (Mashable)
10/ Mitch McConnell undercuts Trump that “most news is not fake.” McConnell told a group at the Louisville Chamber of Commerce that he reads a variety of sources that Trump has blasted, including the New York Times, and that “it is my view that most news is not fake.” (Politico)
11/ Robert Mueller is investigating the Russian lobbyist with deep ties to Moscow who attended the Trump Jr. meeting. It was previously reported that Rinat Akhmetshin attended the June 2016 meeting between Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. However, Akhmetshin’s ties to the Russian government and Kremlin-backed oligarchs are much deeper than was previously known. Akhmetshin has been accused of being involved in various hacking schemes and nurturing a relationship with the former deputy head of Russia’s intelligence service, who was until last year a top aide to Putin. (New York Times)
poll/ Trump’s job approval rating is below 40% in three key states that won him the White House. Six-in-10 voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin also say Trump’s conduct as president has embarrassed them. (NBC News)
poll/ 28% approve of Trump’s response to Charlottesville. 42% believe Trump has been equating neo-Nazis and white supremacists to those who oppose them. (ABC News)
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