👋 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 designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism and said the Treasury Department will announce new sanctions on the country. He described the move as “a very large one.” Trump said the designation will impose “further sanctions and penalties” on North Korea in support of his administration’s “maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime.” The designation was rescinded by George W. Bush in 2008 in an attempt to negotiate a nuclear deal. (New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN / Politico)
2/ Nebraska regulators approved the Keystone XL pipeline. The 3-2 vote came four days after the existing Keystone pipeline leaked approximately 5,000 barrels of crude oil in South Dakota. The pipeline will transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Canada’s oil sands and North Dakota’s shale fields to oil refineries on the Gulf Coast. (Washington Post / Politico)
3/ Kellyanne Conway suggested that the White House supports Roy Moore because “we want the votes” to pass tax reform. Conway was discussing tax reform on Fox News when she began hammering Doug Jones, the Democrat in the Alabama Senate race, saying “He will be a vote against tax cuts.” Fox News host Brian Kilmeade interrupted: “So vote Roy Moore?” Conway replied: “I’m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through. Conway’s comment comes less than a week after saying “no Senate seat is worth more than a child.” (CNN / Washington Post)
- Mick Mulvaney said Trump “doesn’t know who to believe” about the allegations against Roy Moore and “thinks that the voters of Alabama should decide.” (Axios)
4/ Robert Mueller requested documents from the Justice Department related to the firing of James Comey. Investigators are seeking emails related to the firing, as well as to Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the investigation, not only those circulated between Justice Department officials, but any related communication they had with the White House. (ABC News)
5/ Kushner failed to disclose that a senior Russian official tried to arrange a meeting between Putin and Trump. The Senate Judiciary Committee accused Kushner of withholding an email from Aleksander Torshin, who claimed to be acting at the behest of Putin in a May 2016 email. The subject line read: “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.” Torshin’s email came a few weeks after a professor with ties to the Russian government told George Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” Spanish anti-corruption officials say Torshin is a “godfather” of the Russian mafia. (New York Times / NBC News)
- Jared Kushner testified that he didn’t recall if anybody on the campaign communicated with WikiLeaks. But a letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee shows Trump Jr. emailed Kushner to tell him WikiLeaks had contacted him on Twitter. (CNN)
6/ Hope Hicks and White House counsel Donald McGahn are scheduled to meet with Mueller in the coming weeks. “Of course they are worried,” said a Republican in frequent contact with the White House, describing the current atmosphere. “It’s going to be a long winter.” Another person close to the administration said that some staffers now jokingly ask, “Good morning. Are you wired?” when they gather in the morning at the White House. (Washington Post / CNN)
7/ H.R. McMaster mocked Trump at a private dinner, calling him “dope” and “idiot.” The National Security Adviser added that Trump has the intelligence of a “kindergartner.” (BuzzFeed News)
8/ Trump called on the NFL to suspend Marshawn Lynch for standing during the Mexican national anthem and sitting during the US national anthem. Trump tweeted that the Oakland Raiders running back showed “Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.” (CNN)
9/ A day earlier, Trump weighed in on three UCLA basketball players: “I should have left them in jail.” Trump took credit for the release of the three players arrested for shoplifting in China, but took to Twitter after the father of one of the players cast doubt on how much Trump was involved in freeing the players. “Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar,” Trump tweeted. “Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!” In a second tweet he added: “I should have left them in jail!” (New York Times / Politico)
poll/ 70% of Americans think Puerto Ricans aren’t getting the hurricane relief they need, up from 62% last month. (The Hill)
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will step down once her successor is sworn into the office. (Bloomberg)
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin didn’t think a picture of his wife striking a villainous pose while holding a sheet of dollar bills would go viral. (Politico)
Trump will keep the ban on importing elephant trophies in place. (New York Times)
The FCC is expected to release its plan for rolling back net neutrality this week. (Wall Street Journal)
Justice Department plans to sue to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. (Bloomberg)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.