👋 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.
Send your thoughts, suggestions, or complaints to:
1/ Carter Page testified that he received permission from Corey Lewandowski to visit Moscow in July 2016, he told the House Intelligence Committee during his seven-hour testimony yesterday. Page also told senior campaign officials Sam Clovis, Hope Hicks, and JD Gordon, as well as then-Senator Jeff Sessions, about his trip to Russia. When he returned, Page sent an email to campaign officials saying he had received “incredible insights and outreach” from “senior members” of Putin’s administration and suggested that Trump should make a foreign policy speech in Russia and “raise the temperature a little bit.” Page maintains that his trip was made as a private citizen and was unrelated to his role in the Trump campaign. (CNN / NBC News / Washington Post)
- Carter Page hearing transcript. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has released the transcript of the committee’s hearing with Carter Page. (House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence)
2/ Jeff Sessions will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on November 14th about his past statements regarding contacts between Trump campaign and Russian intermediaries. Sessions is also expected appear in a closed session with the House Intelligence Committee on the same day. (Reuters)
Justice Department dropped their case against a woman who laughed at Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing. (HuffPost)
3/ Trump told CIA director Mike Pompeo to meet with a former intelligence officer who claimed the DNC emails were “leaked” – not hacked. Pompeo met last month with William Binney, who has challenged a January 2017 intelligence community report from the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA that concludes “Putin ordered an influence campaign … to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” Trump has called the report “fake news.” (The Intercept)
4/ The White House has prepared an executive order to weaken the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which requires taxpayers to demonstrate proof of insurance or pay a fine. The order would broaden the “hardship exemption” that was established for those facing extraordinary circumstances (e.g., the death of a family member, bankruptcy, or natural disaster). Trump would sign the order if Republicans fail to include such a measure in the tax reform process. (Washington Post / Washington Examiner)
5/ Syria will join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the US as the only country to reject the global deal. France, meanwhile, said that Trump, “for the time being,” is not invited to December’s climate change summit in Paris. (New York Times / Reuters)
6/ Trump urged North Korea to “come to the table” and discuss giving up its nuclear weapons, casting the threat as a global crisis that required cooperation from Russia and China. Trump previously called Rex Tillerson’s effort to negotiate with North Korea a waste of time and threatened to unleash “fire and fury” against Kim Jong Un if he continued to provoke the US. (Bloomberg / Politico)
7/ Trump said “hundreds more” would have died in Texas if gun laws were tougher and another man using his own gun hadn’t been able to “neutralize” the shooter. Paul Ryan suggested that “prayer works” as an effective form of gun control. (Washington Post / The Hill)
8/ The Air Force failed to report Devin Patrick Kelley’s domestic violence court martial, which should have prevented him from buying guns. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis directed the Pentagon’s inspector general to review Kelley’s case and “define what the problem is.” The Pentagon has known for at least two decades about failures to report the outcome of criminal cases to the FBI, according to a 1997 report by the inspector general. (NBC News / Associated Press)
Senators plan to introduce bipartisan legislation to force the military to report domestic violence to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the database used for firearms background checks. Jeff Flake and Martin Heinrich are introducing the legislation after the Texas shooting to close a loophole where the military has not been reporting misdemeanors of domestic violence. (CNN)
Trump’s nominees for a top Pentagon job said it’s “insane” that civilians can buy assault rifles. Dean Winslow, Trump’s nominee for the Department of Defense’s top health affairs job, was asked if service members, like Kelley, who are convicted of domestic violence charges should be dishonorably discharged. He replied that it is “insane” that “a civilian can go out and buy a semiautomatic assault rifle like an AR-15.” John McCain told Winslow that this isn’t his “area of responsibility or expertise.” (Politico / Vox)
poll/ 32% of voters in “Trump counties” believe the country is better off with Trump as president than before. 41% say the country is worse off than it was before Trump became president. 53% say they don’t think Trump has a clear agenda. (NBC News)
poll/ 37% of Americans have a favorable view of the Democratic party – the lowest mark in more than a quarter century of polling. 30% of Americans hold a favorable view of the Republican party. (CNN)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.