👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
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1/ Bannon called Trump’s firing of Comey the biggest mistake “in modern political history.” In an online-only segment from a sweeping “60 Minutes” interview, the Breitbart chairman claimed that if Comey was still in place, “we would not have a special counsel.” Bannon, who is plotting several GOP primaries, also criticized the “pearl-clutching mainstream media,” Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell. (CBS News / New York Times / Washington Post)
2/ The Trump administration has asked Supreme Court justices to continue to allow strict enforcement of its temporary refugee ban. Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government could not ban refugees who have formal assurances from resettlement agencies. The administration wants the Supreme Court to stay that part of the ruling. (ABC News)
3/ The FBI is investigating whether Russian news agency Sputnik has violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The law bars organizations from acting as undeclared governmental propaganda arms. The FBI has obtained several thousand internal Sputnik documents and emails and has interviewed a former White House correspondent who was fired in May. It is unclear whether or not the investigation falls under Mueller’s broader efforts. (Yahoo News)
4/ Aboard the papal plane, Pope Francis said the move to rescind DACA is not “pro-life.” Francis told reporters that if Trump is indeed pro-life, then he must understand that “family is the cradle of life and its unity must be protected.” Previously, the Pope has suggested calls to build walls are “not Christian.” (CNN)
5/ Infrastructure for Trump’s latest golf club, in Dubai, will be partially built by a Chinese firm, despite Trump’s promise not to work with foreign entities as president. Trump’s business partner awarded a $32-million contract to state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation for the work, which includes building a six-lane road. (McClatchy)
6/ A Senate report characterized Trump’s foreign policy as an “apparent doctrine of retreat,” given the budget request for the State Department. The International Affairs budget is 30 percent below 2017’s enacted level. Report author Lindsey Graham wrote that the United States’ distancing from multilateralism only serves “to weaken America’s standing in the world.” (The Hill)
7/ Trump said recent hurricanes are helping the U.S. Coast Guard improve its brand. “They are really—if you talk about branding, no brand has improved more than the United States Coast Guard,” he told reporters after returning from Camp David. (The Hill)
8/ Trump’s lawyer has hired a lawyer to advise him in the Mueller investigation. Mueller is seeking to question both White House Counsel Don McGahn and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Priebus has retained the same lawyer. (Law360 / Business Insider)
9/ Jeff Sessions wants all National Security Council staff to be subjected to lie detector tests. The alleged goal would be to identify leakers. There are over 100 people on the NSC. (Axios)
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