👋 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/ Trump’s tax plan will cut rates for businesses and the wealthy, while eliminating widely used exemptions and deductions. He dubbed the plan a “middle class miracle,” which would collapse the tax brackets from seven down to three while raising the lowest rate from 10% to 12% and cut the top rate from 39.6% to 35%. The standard deduction would double to $12,000 for individuals and to $24,000 for married couples. The White House and the Republicans haven’t said what loopholes would be closed in order to offset the trillions of dollars in revenue lost by cutting tax rates. Republicans want to pass a tax bill by the end of the year, which would be their first major legislative achievement this year. (Washington Post / Reuters / New York Times)
2/ Trump will cap refugee admissions at 45,000 in the next fiscal year. The ceiling has never been lower than 67,000, the number Ronald Reagan set in 1986, and the US hasn’t taken in so few refugees in a single year since 2006, when 41,223 were allowed to enter. In 2016, the US welcomed 84,995 refugees with Obama pushing to raise that number to 110,000 in 2017. Defense and State Department officials, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the United Nations had recommended that Trump admit at least 50,000 refugees during the next fiscal year. Meanwhile, Stephen Miller and John Kelly advocated admitting as few as 15,000 refugees. (Associated Press / New York Times)
3/ The acting head of the DEA will resign after losing confidence in Trump’s respect for the law. Last month, Chuck Rosenberg sent an agency-wide memo rebuking Trump’s suggestion that police were being “too nice” to suspects and shouldn’t shield their heads from hitting the roof of the police car during arrests. “We must earn and keep the public trust and continue to hold ourselves to the very highest standards,” Rosenberg wrote. “Ours is an honorable profession and, so, we will always act honorably.” Rosenberg will resign at the end of the week. (Politico / New York Times)
4/ Trump deleted his tweets supporting Luther Strange after Strange lost in Alabama’s primary runoff. The deleted tweets were archived by ProPublica and are no longer public on Twitter, but watchdog groups believe Trump is breaking the law when he deletes his tweets. Trump deleted at least three favorable tweets, including one saying that Strange “has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement.” Strange lost to Roy Moore, who took nearly 55% of the vote. (New York Times / Washington Post)
5/ Russian-bought political Facebook ads criticized Hillary Clinton, promoted Trump, and supported Bernie Sanders even after his presidential campaign had ended. The ads appeared designed to create divisions while sometimes praising Trump, Sanders, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. A number of the ads questioned Clinton’s authenticity and touted liberal criticisms of her candidacy. Trump took to Twitter to suggest that Facebook had colluded with the news media against him during the campaign, tweeting: “Facebook was always anti-Trump. The Networks were always anti-Trump hence, Fake News @nytimes (apologized) & @WaPo were anti-Trump. Collusion?” He added: “But the people were Pro-Trump! Virtually no President has accomplished what we have accomplished in the first 9 months – and economy roaring.” (Politico / The Hill)
- The Senate Intelligence Committee will call executives from Google to help understand Russian election meddling. The panel is seeking Google’s cooperation as it studies how Russia’s government might have exploited American social media and Internet companies during the 2016 campaign. (Politico)
6/ Three Americans with Russian business connections contributed almost $2 million to political funds controlled by Trump. All three men are associated with Viktor Vekselberg, one of the richest men in Russia, who holds frequent meetings with Putin. Donations began flowing to the RNC just as Trump was securing the Republican nomination and culminated in two large gifts – totaling $1.25 million – to the Trump inaugural fund following his victory. Unless the contributions were directed by a foreigner, they would be legal donations. (ABC News)
7/ The House Oversight Committee will investigate Tom Price’s use of private jets for government business, which he’s done at least 26 times and cost taxpayers more than $400,000. Trump told reporters that he’s “not happy about it. I’m going to look at it. I am not happy about it, and I let him know it.” When asked if he would fire Price, he replied: “we’ll see.” (The Hill / New York Times / CNN)
Trump on Tom Price's private plane use: "I'm not happy about it." pic.twitter.com/vRmnN57xLQ— Tasneem N (@TasneemN) September 27, 2017
poll/ 68% of Americans say the federal income tax system needs either a complete overhaul or major changes, cutting across party lines to include support by 77% of Republicans, 70% of independents, and 62% of Democrats. (CNN)
poll/ 57% of Americans disagree with Trump that the NFL should fire players who kneel. The results were split along party lines with 82% of Democrats and 29% of Republicans disagreeing with Trump’s comments about firing football players. (Reuters)
poll/ 51% of Americans say they are embarrassed to have Trump serve as president. 59% say Trump is not honest, 60% say he does not have good leadership skills, and 61% say he does not share their values. 69% of voters want Trump to stop tweeting. (Quinnipiac)
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