👋 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/ Trump told 12 Senate Democrats that he would “get killed” financially by the GOP tax bill in an attempt to increase Democratic support by claiming the bill would hurt wealthy taxpayers like himself. Trump wants Democrats to support repealing the estate tax, because they need to give something to rich people. Repealing the estate tax would provide an additional $300 billion dollar tax break to the wealthy.
The Joint Committee on Taxation found that the tax bill would add $1.574 trillion to the deficit over a decade, which is $74 billion over the maximum amount it can add if Republicans want to take advantage of special Senate rules that would allow them to pass the bill with 50 votes. The Senate plans to release its tax bill this week; it is expected to differ significantly from the House bill. (NBC News / Washington Post)
- The CBO: Repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate would leave 13 million more Americans without insurance and reduce the federal deficit by $338 billion over a decade. Republicans are considering cutting the ACA’s requirement that most Americans obtain health coverage as part of tax reform. (Politico)
2/ Trump warned North Korea that developing nuclear weapons was putting the country in “grave danger.” Trump, during a speech to South Korea’s National Assembly, called on all countries to isolate Pyongyang by denying it “any form of support, supply or acceptance,” saying the “world cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens it with nuclear devastation.” He warned North Korea to “not underestimate us and do not try us.” Trump’s return to tough talk came a day after he had softened his rhetoric and asked Pyongyang to “come to the table” and “make a deal.” (Reuters)
3/ Corey Lewandowski’s “memory has been refreshed” about Carter Page’s trip to Russia. In March, Trump’s former campaign manager said he “never met Carter Page.” On Tuesday, Lewandowski described Page as a “low-level volunteer” who had “no formal role in the campaign,” and “to the best of my recollection, I don’t know Carter Page.” Page testified last week to the House Oversight Committee that he had asked Lewandowski and Hope Hicks for permission to travel to Moscow. After the trip, Page emailed Lewandowski, Hicks, Sam Clovis, JD Gordon, and then-Senator Jeff Sessions about his trip to Russia, where he met with Russian officials and discussed the presidential campaign. (Politico / Talking Points Memo)
4/ Leadership at the State Department is being “depleted at a dizzying speed,” the president of the Foreign Service officers’ union said. Since January, the State Department has lost 60% of its career ambassadors, 42% of its career ministers, and 15% of its minister counselors – and the numbers “are still falling.” (ABC News / Vox)
5/ Scott Pruitt will continue to roll back the Clean Power Plan despite a government report that finds climate change to be “unambiguous” with “no convincing alternative explanation” that anything other than humans are the cause. Pruitt said that the National Climate Assessment was part of the ongoing debate between scientists over the causes of global warming and the report won’t deter him from rolling back the rule aimed at combating climate change. Trump has dismissed climate change as a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese in order to gain an edge over the US. (USA Today)
6/ A fourth Trump judicial nominee has been deemed unqualified for the job by the American Bar Association. Brett Talley has faced criticism for a 2013 blog post in which he called on readers to “join the National Rifle Association” and characterized gun control legislation passed after the massacre at Sandy Hook as “the greatest attack on our constitutional freedoms in our lifetime.” Talley was tapped by Trump for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. (The Hill)
7/ A federal judge issued a gag order in the Paul Manafort and Rick Gates case, preventing both from making public statements about the case. The order doesn’t ban statements to the media outright, but prohibits any remarks that “pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice” in the money laundering and conspiracy case. (USA Today / Politico)
8/ The Justice Department told AT&T and Time Warner to sell off CNN’s parent company or DirecTV if they want to approval of their proposed merger. During the campaign, Trump criticized the proposed merger, arguing that “deals like this destroy democracy” and that it’s “an example of the power structure” he was fighting. Trump has also repeatedly labeled CNN “fake news.” (New York Times)
Election Night in America:
Democrats won victories in governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey last night. In Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam beat Republican Ed Gillespie, 54% to 45%. And in New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy defeated Republican Kim Guadagno, 55.4% to 42.5%. (New York Times)
The first African American woman was elected mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. Democrat Vi Lyles won about 58% to 42% of the vote in unofficial returns. (Charlotte Observer)
In Virginia, Danica Roem was first openly transgender person to be elected and seated in a state legislature after beating a 13-term incumbent who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe.” (Washington Post)
The first woman was elected mayor in Manchester, New Hampshire. Joyce Craig is the first Democrat to be elected mayor of Manchester in 14 years. (New Hampshire Union Leader)
In Maine, voters approved a ballot measure to expand Medicaid coverage. Some 80,000 adults will qualify under the expansion. Maine will be the 32nd state to expand the program, but the first where voters – not governors or legislators – have directly authorized an expansion. (Politico / New York Times)
Maine’s Republican governor said he won’t implement the expansion unless it is fully funded by the state’s Legislature. Paul LePage has vetoed legislation to expand Medicaid five previous times. LePage will be term-limited out of office next year. (Press Herald / The Hill)
House Republican Frank LoBiondo announced his retirement, which puts his New Jersey congressional district up for grabs in the 2018 election. (NJ.com)
Ted Poe also announced that he would not seek re-election, becoming the second House Republican to announce retirement yesterday. The Texas congressman was diagnosed with leukemia last year. (CNN)
Arizona congresswoman Martha McSally has told colleagues that she will run for Senate in 2018 as a GOP primary challenger to Kelli Ward. McSally would be the first Republican to join the Senate race since Jeff Flake retirement announcement. (AZ Central)
exit poll/ Half of Virginia voters said Trump was the reason for their vote with twice as many saying they were voting to oppose him (34%) as to support him (17%). (Politico)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.