👋 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/ A drunk George Papadopoulos bragged about the political dirt Russia had on Hillary Clinton to Australia’s top diplomat at a London bar in May 2016. Australian officials passed the information about Papadopoulos to their American counterparts two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online. The FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election following the revelation that the Trump campaign had information about the DNC’s hacked emails Trump and his advisers have dismissed Papadopoulos’ campaign role as just a “coffee boy.” (New York Times)
2/ Trump suggested that former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin should face jail time after the State Department posted emails it found on Anthony Weiner’s computer. Abedin had forwarded State Department passwords to her personal Yahoo account. In a tweet, Trump called on the “deep state” Justice Department to prosecute both Abedin and James Comey. (Washington Post)
3/ Orrin Hatch will retire at the end of the year, resisting pressure from Trump to seek an eighth term. The move opens the door for Mitt Romney to run for the seat. During the 2016 campaign, Romney called then-candidate Trump a “fraud” and “phony” who was unfit to serve. Hatch is 83-years-old and the longest-serving Senate Republican. (New York Times / Politico)
4/ 2017 was the safest year on record for commercial passenger air travel with airlines recording no commercial passenger jet deaths. Trump took credit for the record on Twitter, but didn’t provide details what he did to improve airline safety. (Reuters / The Hill)
- Workplace deaths in the coal mining industry increased last year to their highest point in three years. 15 miners died on the job in 2017, compared with eight in 2016. (The Hill)
5/ White House aides are worried about 2018 as several senior officials are expected to depart in the coming year – with no replacements lined up – and Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation looms. Aides expect few things to get done in Washington this year as they head into a contentious midterm election season. (Politico)
- Democrats are already campaigning for 2020. Many Democrats and some Republicans say there’s a chance Trump may not be on the ballot in 2020 for any number of reasons: He resigns; gets removed from office; chooses not to seek re-election; or loses in a GOP primary. Steve Bannon placed Trump’s odds of completing his first term at 30%. (NBC News)
6/ More women than ever are considering a run for governor. At least 79 women — 49 Democrats and 30 Republicans — are running for governor or seriously considering it as filing deadlines approach. A record 34 women ran for governor in 1994. (Washington Post)
Elizabeth Warren is positioned to run for president in 2020 if she decides to. (Politico)
Kirsten Gillibrand’s voting record suggests she’s running for president in 2020. Gillibrand’s record is consistently anti-Trump. (Washington Post)
Trump has made 1,950 false or misleading claims in 347 days – an average of 5.6 claims a day. (Washington Post)
Anthony Scaramucci is telling friends that Trump misses him and want him back in the West Wing. (The Daily Beast)
Trump rescinded proposed rules that would have required companies to disclose the chemicals used in fracking. (Associated Press)
The Interior Department won’t criminally prosecute energy companies and other businesses that accidentally kill migratory birds, reversing a longstanding practice at the agency. (Reuters)
Trump renewed leases for a copper and nickel mining operation on the border of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which reversed an Obama-era decision. (Washington Post)
Trump scrapped Obama’s proposal for the federal government to underwrite half the cost of an Amtrak tunnel connecting New Jersey to Penn Station. (Crain’s New York)
The Justice Department wants a question about citizenship to be added to the 2020 census. Critics say the move could limit participation by immigrants who fear that the government could use the information against them. (ProPublica)
South Korea proposed holding high-level talks with North Korea, a day after Kim Jong-un suggested inter-Korean dialogue to discuss easing military tensions and his country’s participation in the Winter Olympics in the South. (New York Times)
Trump tweeted that the US is watching the “brutal and corrupt Iranian regime” amid deadly protests in the country. The State Department lists Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. (CNN)
Trump tweets the US “foolishly” handed Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years while getting “nothing but lies and deceit” in return. He’s pledged to put a stop to it. (Reuters)
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