👋 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/ Overheard in a Washington steakhouse, a White House counsel discussed the extent to which the administration should cooperate with the Russia investigation. Ty Cobb supports prompt turnover of all relevant emails and documents to special counsel Robert Mueller; Trump lawyer Don McGahn is concerned doing so might weaken the White House’s future position. (New York Times)
2/ Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly, calling it out for “mismanagement” and claiming it had not reached “its full potential.” In his opening remarks, he also praised Trump World Tower, a “successful project” located “right across the street” from the United Nations. Trump’s rhetoric toward North Korea escalated over the weekend. (CNBC / The Week)
3/ Republican senators are pushing for a last-minute vote on the latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Led by Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, the effort to pass the bill in question has not currently garnered enough votes. John McCain continues to advocate for putting the bill through committee. (New York Times)
4/ Mike Flynn’s family established a legal defense fund, citing a “tremendous financial burden” stemming from the Russia investigation. In a public statement, Flynn’s siblings emphasized that the legal fees required of former Trump aides “far exceed their ability to pay.” The Trump administration recently legalized anonymous donations to legal defense funds. (ABC News)
5/ The Trump administration confirmed it is indeed pulling out of the Paris Agreement despite reports to the contrary. Over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported that top officials were considering remaining a party to the agreement. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster called the article “a false report.” The United States cannot formally withdraw from the deal until 2020. (Washington Post)
6/ The Department of the Interior recommended cutting, scaling back, or otherwise changing the boundaries of seven national monuments. An Interior report recommends, for example, reducing the size of Bear Ears in Utah and opening protected ocean waters for commercial fishing. The White House has not yet acted on the report’s recommendations. (Wall Street Journal)
7/ The Trump administration is considering closing the U.S. embassy in Cuba. Rex Tillerson attributed the potential move to “the harm that certain individuals have suffered” at the embassy from unexplained “health attacks.” The Havana diplomatic compound reopened in 2015. (AP)
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