👋 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 plans to go around Congress to provide new insurance options for Americans. The White House is finalizing an executive order, which Trump is expected to sign this week, that would expand health care plans offered by associations and allow individuals to pool together to buy insurance outside their states. “Since Congress can’t get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people – FAST,” Trump tweeted. By banding together to buy coverage, associations could join the large group insurance market, which is exempt from the ACA’s requirement that plans cover essential health benefits. (Washington Post / Bloomberg)
2/ The White House blamed Bob Corker for the Twitter tiff with Trump. On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted that Corker “didn’t have the guts” to run for re-election. Corker replied that it’s “a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.” Kellyanne Conway called Corker’s tweet “incredibly irresponsible” with Pence defending Trump against what he called “empty rhetoric and baseless attacks.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Corker said that Trump is acting “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’” and that he could set the nation “on the path to World War III.” As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Corker could block the confirmation of a new secretary of state if Trump pushed out Rex Tillerson and would play a key role on whether to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal. (New York Times)
3/ Trump gave Bob Corker a nickname as their feud escalates. “The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation,” Trump tweeted. “Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!” The transcript of the conversation has Corker saying “I understand we’re on the record. I don’t like normally talking to you on the record – I’m kidding you – but I will.” Labeling Corker “liddle” is a reference to the 2016 campaign, when he called Marco Rubio little. “Let me start with Little Marco. He just looked like Little Marco to me. And it’s not Little. It’s Liddle. L-I-D-D-L-E.” The New York Times reporter disputed Trump’s claim that Corker was recorded without his knowledge, tweeting that “Corker had 2 aides on line, also recording, and they made sure after it ended that I was taping, too.” (CNN / The Hill / New York Times)
Corker had 2 aides on line, also recording, and they made sure after it ended that I was taping, too.— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) October 10, 2017
4/ Trump challenged Tillerson to an IQ test after the secretary of state’s “moron” comment. “I think it’s fake news,” Trump said, “but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.” Tillerson reportedly called Trump a “fucking moron” and nearly resigned this summer. (Forbes / Washington Post)
- Mensa offered to host the IQ test for Trump and Tillerson. “American Mensa would be happy to hold a testing session for President Trump and Secretary Tillerson,” said Charles Brown, the group’s communications director. (The Hill)
5/ Scott Pruitt wants to eliminate the federal tax credits for the wind and solar power industries, saying the credits prevent utility companies from making the best decisions about power generation. “I’d let them stand on their own and compete against coal and natural gas and other sources,” the EPA chief said. (The Hill / Bloomberg)
6/ Carter Page told the Senate Intelligence Committee he will not cooperate with any requests to appear and would plead the Fifth. The Trump campaign’s former foreign policy adviser met with Sergey Kislyak on the sidelines of the GOP convention last year. In addition, the FBI has been monitoring Page since he travelled to Russia and met with high-level associates of Putin last year. (Politico)
7/ The House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to the partners who run Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the dossier of memos of alleged Russian efforts to aid the Trump campaign. Chairman Devin Nunes signed off on the subpoenas that demand documents and testimony. Nunes recused himself from the House’s panel earlier this year after going directly to the White House with information about “incidental” surveillance of Trump’s transition team. (CNN)
8/ Trump threatened to use federal tax law to penalize NFL players who kneel in protest during the national anthem. “Why is the N.F.L. getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country?” Trump tweeted. “Change tax law!” In a letter to all 32 NFL teams, commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants players to stand during the anthem despite the current NFL policy not requiring players to stand. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House “would certainly support the NFL coming out and asking players to stand.” (New York Times / ESPN / The Hill)
9/ Trump, meanwhile, sent a fundraising email praising Pence for walking out of an NFL football game after players kneeled. “Their stunt showed the world that they don’t believe our flag is worth standing for,” the email reads. “But your Vice President REFUSED to dignify their disrespect for our anthem, our flag, and the many brave soldiers who have died for their freedoms.” Nearly two dozen players from the 49ers knelt during the national anthem in what is now seen as an expensive political stunt. (CNN)
10/ Trump has made 1,318 false or misleading claims over the past 263 days. He has averaged five claims a day, even picking up pace since the six-month mark. (Washington Post)
poll/ Trump’s approval rating has fallen in every state since he took office. A majority of voters in 25 states and the District of Columbia said they disapproved of Trump’s job performance, including 55% in Michigan, 53% in Wisconsin and Iowa, and 51% in Pennsylvania. The share of Republicans who strongly approve of Trump has declined from 53% to 43% since January. 71% of Democrats strongly disapproved of Trump. (Morning Consult)
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