👋 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 called LaVar Ball an “ungrateful fool” and said that getting his son home was “a really big deal.” Trump tweeted that “it wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME.” Ball is the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players detained in China for shoplifting and has refused to thank Trump for getting the players out of China. (CNN / NBC News)
2/ Trump and the White House insisted that Trump was working from Mar-a-Lago and very busy today an hour before he went golfing. First, the White House told reporters that Trump “will NOT have a low-key day and has a full schedule of meetings and phone calls.” Soon after, Trump tweeted that he “will be having meetings and working the phones from the Winter White House in Florida.” But an hour later, Trump left Mar-a-Lago to spend the morning at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. Since the inauguration, Trump has spent 98 days at his private properties – one out of every 3.1 days – and played golf approximately 60 times, or every 5.1 days. (Washington Post)
3/ The former director of the Office of Government Ethics filed a complaint over Kellyanne Conway’s comments about the Alabama Senate race. Walter Shaub said Conway may have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from using their positions for political purposes. Earlier this week, Conway attacked the Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones, saying Jones “will be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime, weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners.” (The Hill)
4/ Gary Cohn faked a bad connection to get off a phone call with Trump during a discussion with Democratic senators about tax reform earlier this month. The White House economic advisor wanted to have a conversation on tax reform without Trump, who was traveling in Asia at the time. Trump called in anyway and after 15 minutes Senator Tom Carper turned to Cohn and said, “We’re not going to have a real conversation here – can’t you just tell the president that he is brilliant and say we’re losing … the connection and then hang up?” And that’s what happened. (CNBC / The Hill)
Democratic Sen. Tom Carper says White House economic adviser Gary Cohn faked a bad connection to get President Trump off the phone so they could have a conversation on tax reform without him https://t.co/qcUnSEsysl— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 22, 2017
5/ The House GOP tax bill would scrap the $250 educator expense deduction. The deduction, for money that America’s 3.6 million teachers spend out of pocket on classroom supplies, costs the federal government $210 million a year. The Senate GOP tax plan would double the deduction to $500. (Washington Post)
6/ Out of 38 economists, 37 said the GOP tax plans would cause the debt to increase “substantially” faster than the economy. The 38th economist misread the question. (Washington Post)
poll/ 36% of Americans expect to pay more federal, state, and local taxes under the House tax plan. 39% said they “strongly” or “somewhat” support it, while 31% oppose it and the rest are undecided. (Politico)
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating what he calls a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC with fake public comments on net neutrality. (The Hill)
The FBI warned Representative Dana Rohrabacher in 2012 that Russia regarded him as an intelligence source worthy of a Kremlin code name. (New York Times)
Jared Kushner’s horizons are collapsing within the West Wing. (Vanity Fair)
Michael Flynn’s business partner is now the subject of Robert Mueller’s probe. (NBC News)
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