👋 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 Clinton campaign and the DNC helped fund research that resulted in the Trump dossier. A lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC retained Fusion GPS in April 2016 to conduct the research. Prior to that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by a still unknown Republican client during the GOP primary. (Washington Post)
2/ The firm behind the Trump dossier asked a judge to block the House Intelligence Committee from obtaining its bank records. Fusion GPS argues that the committee’s subpoena threatens the First Amendment rights of the journalists who compiled the dossier by revealing the identities of clients who sought political research from the firm, and poses an “existential threat” to the company. (Politico)
3/ Two House panels opened a joint investigation into the Justice Department’s actions during the 2016 campaign. The House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman said their investigation will look at FBI decisions regarding Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information and the FBI’s investigation into Trump campaign associates. (Reuters / Politico)
4/ Rematch: The feud between Trump and Bob Corker was relit ahead of the president’s critical meeting with Senate Republicans on taxes after Corker appeared on both NBC’s “Today” show and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He said Trump should “step aside” from tax reform, stop “kneecap[ing] your secretary of state,” and “leave it to the professionals for a while and see if we can do something that’s constructive for our country.”
Trump tweeted that Corker was trying to stymie his agenda, called him a “lightweight,” and charged that Corker “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee” – whatever that means. Corker replied on Twitter: “Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff.”
Then, in an interview with CNN, Corker escalated his criticism, calling Trump a serial liar, saying he regretted supporting him for president, accused him of debasing the country, and refused to say whether he trusted Trump with the nuclear codes. In an interview with ABC News, Corker stopped short of calling Trump a liar. Instead, he characterized Trump as “utterly untruthful.”
Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) October 24, 2017
Sen. Bob Corker doubles down on Trump critique; on North Korea "I would like him to leave it to the Professionals for a while" pic.twitter.com/ArgbRTxhnB— George Stephanopoulos (@GStephanopoulos) October 24, 2017
Paul Ryan: people should ignore the “Twitter this and Twitter that” and focus on the legislative actions taken by Congress. “So all this stuff you see on a daily basis on Twitter this and Twitter that, forget about it,” Ryan said. “Let’s focus on helping people, improving people’s lives, and doing what we said we would do that accomplishes that. That’s what we’re focused on.” (Business Insider)
5/ Jeff Flake announced that will not run for re-election, saying he “will no longer be complicit or silent” in the face of Trump’s “reckless, outrageous and undignified” behavior. The Republican senator delivered a 17-minute speech on the Senate floor less than an hour after Trump met with Republicans for lunch, saying the “stability of the entire world [is] routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters” and to “do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric” and “profoundly misguided.” (New York Times / CNN)
- The full transcript of Jeff Flake’s retirement speech. “None of this is normal,” Flake said. “And what do we, as United States senators, have to say about it? The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics, because politics can make us silent when we should speak and silence can equal complicity.” (Vox)
6/ Mitch McConnell and John McCain praised Flake’s speech, while Sarah Huckabee Sanders characterized it as “petty,” adding: “I don’t think Sen Flake’s language was befitting of the Senate floor.” (The Hill / CNN)
7/ A two-person Montana utility company linked to the Trump administration won a $300 million contract to repair Puerto Rico’s electrical infrastructure. The private-equity firm that finances Whitefish Energy was founded by Joe Colonnetta, who contributed $20,000 to the Trump Victory PAC during the general election, $2,700 to Trump’s primary election campaign, $2,700 to Trump’s general election campaign, and a total of $30,700 to the Republican National Committee in 2016. Whitefish Energy is also located in the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who is friends with the Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski. (Washington Post / The Daily Beast)
- Zinke funneled millions to questionable PACs. The Interior secretary has helped raise money for political operatives that some Republicans accuse of collecting donations from conservative voters while doing little for their cause. (Politico)
8/ Trump has personally attacked 1 in 5 Republican senators: Bob Corker, Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Dean Heller, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Lisa Murkowski, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ben Sasse have all drawn Trump’s ire. Republicans hold a 52-48 advantage in the Senate and can only afford to lose two votes on any piece of legislation. (CNN)
9/ Trump’s personal lawyer met with the House Intelligence Committee today. Michael Cohen emailed Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, during the presidential campaign seeking help getting a Trump Tower built in Moscow. Peskov said he never responded to the email. (NBC News)
10/ The Trump administration will allow refugees admission from all countries, but with new rules to better vet applicants. Refugee admissions had been halted in June for 120 days as part of Trump’s travel ban. The administration will now collect more personal data, such as names of family members and places of employment, as well as mine social media posts. (Wall Street Journal)
poll/ 55% of white Americans believe they face discrimination, although only 19% of white people say they have been personally discriminated against when apply for a job. (NPR)
poll/ 35% of Americans feel that diversity initiatives have left out white men. Of that group, 62% said they thought white men were missing promotions and other advancement opportunities. (Washington Post)
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