👋 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/ The Graham-Cassidy bill appears dead on arrival after Susan Collins announced she’ll join John McCain and Rand Paul in opposing the legislation. The latest health care proposal included more funding to Alaska, Arizona, Kentucky, and Maine in an effort to win votes from Lisa Murkowski, McCain, Paul, and Collins. Ted Cruz said he doesn’t support the bill and suggested that Mike Lee also opposes it. The three “No” votes likely kill the last-ditch GOP effort to repeal Obamacare this week before protections against a Democratic filibuster expire. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / Associated Press / CNN)
- Healthcare.gov will be shut down for 12 hours on all but one Sunday morning during open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act. (PBS)
2/ Trump issued an executive order to expand his travel ban and permanently restrict visitors from eight countries. With his revised, temporary travel ban now expired, the new order will stay in place until Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela meet security requirements set by Homeland Security. Starting October 18th, the new order indefinitely bans almost all travel to the US from the eight countries. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)
3/ Jared Kushner used a private email account through his first nine months in the White House to trade emails with senior White House officials and outside advisers. At times, Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus also used private email accounts to correspond with Kushner. During the campaign, Trump routinely attacked Hillary Clinton for using a personal email account to handle government business when she was secretary of state. Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said he adhered to government record-keeping requirements by forwarding all the emails to his government account. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)
- Ivanka Trump used a personal email address to communicate with a government official after her father took office. Documents from a Freedom of Information Act request show that on February 28, Trump emailed the administrator of the Small Business Administration from a personal domain. At the time, Trump was operating inside the White House in a nonofficial capacity. (Newsweek)
4/ Homeland Security notified 21 states that they had been targeted by Russian government hackers during the 2016 election campaign. Hackers penetrated computer systems in a handful of states, but there is no evidence that hackers tampered with voting machines. DHS left it to individual states to decide whether to publicly acknowledge if they had been targeted, but officials confirmed that Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington were among the states targeted. (Washington Post)
5/ The White House and Justice Department have missed deadlines and are withholding records related to the Russia investigation by the House intelligence committee and the Senate judiciary committee. The Senate judiciary committee has requested information about the DOJ’s decision to prevent two senior FBI officials from sitting down for transcribed interviews to provide eyewitness accounts of the Comey firing. The House intelligence committee is threatening to hold a public hearing over documents the DOJ failed to turn over regarding the FBI’s ties to the British operative who compiled a dossier of allegations on Trump’s connections with Russia. (CNN)
6/ North Korea accused Trump of declaring war, saying it has “every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down U.S. strategic bombers, even if they are not yet inside the air-space border of our country.” The North’s assertion that the US has declared war comes two days after Trump tweeted that “Little Rocket Man (and North Korea) won’t be around much longer!” while the Air Force flew B-1B Lancer bombers and F-15C Eagle fighter escorts in international airspace near North Korea.
Last week, White House aides warned Trump not to personally attack the North Korean leader during his United Nations speech, saying that insulting Kim Jong Un in such a prominent venue could irreparably escalate tensions. Ignoring the advice, Trump went ahead and said the US may have to “totally destroy” North Korea and that “rocket man is on a suicide mission.” The White House rejected the notion that the US had declared war, calling the suggestion “absurd.” (New York Times / CNN / Politico / NBC News)
7/ Tom Price will stop using taxpayer-funded travel on private jets, pending a formal review by his department’s inspector general. The Health and Human Services Secretary has spent more than $400,000 on at least 24 private charter jets since May. (Politico)
8/ Steve Bannon tried to place a mole inside Facebook days before he took over Trump’s president campaign in August 2016. The plan was “for Breitbart to flood the zone with candidates” for a Public Policy Manager role at Facebook’s WhatsApp, who would then report back to Bannon. Breitbart News Tech Editor Milo Yiannopoulos forwarded Bannon’s request to a group of contracted researchers, one of whom responded that it “Seems dificult [sic] to do quietly without them becoming aware of efforts.” (BuzzFeed News)
9/ More than 200 football players, coaches, and team owners sat, knelt or raised their fists in defiance during the national anthem on Sunday after Trump called for NFL teams to suspend or fire players who protested the anthem. Several teams stayed in their locker rooms during the anthem. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now,” Trump said to a crowd Friday night at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama. “Out. He’s fired. He’s fired.” Later, Trump tweeted that “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag and Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”
Trump Jr. piled on, attacking Roger Goodell after the NFL commissioner released a statement criticizing Trump’s comments, saying “If only Roger Goodell cared as much about domestic abuse and traumatic brain injury as he does about disrespecting America.” Steven Mnuchin defended Trump’s comments, saying that players “have the right to have the First Amendment off the field.”
But that’s not all. Trump also disinvited the Golden State Warriors from the traditional White House visit because Stephen Curry said he didn’t want to go. LeBron James then called Trump a “bum,” and tweeted that going to the “White House was a great honor until you showed up!” Phew! (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post)
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
If only Roger Goodell cared as much about domestic abuse and traumatic brain injury as he does about disrespecting America. #nfl— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 25, 2017
poll/ 52% of Americans disapprove of the Graham-Cassidy health care bill. 20% said they approved of the Republican legislation aimed at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, while 28% don’t have an opinion. (CBS News)
poll/ 86% of Americans support DACA, the residency program for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. 62% oppose also Trump’s demand for a wall on the US border with Mexico. (ABC News)
poll/ 29% of Americans hold a favorable view of the Republican Party – down 13 percentage points since March. The previous low point for the GOP was 30% – hit twice – in 2013 following the shutdown over Obamacare, and 1998, in the wake of the House approving two articles of impeachment against then Bill Clinton. (CNN)
poll/ 72% of Americans trust military generals more than Trump on North Korea. 42% trust Trump “not at all.” 67% oppose a preemptive strike by the US on North Korea. (Washington Post)
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