👋 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 tried to fire Robert Mueller in June, but backed down after Don McGahn threatened to quit if Trump went through with it. After receiving the order from Trump, the White House counsel refused to ask the Justice Department to fire Mueller and said he would resign instead. Mueller learned about Trump’s intention in recent months through interviews with current and former senior White House officials. (New York Times / Washington Post)
To recap: Trump asked Comey for loyalty; asked him to drop the Flynn probe; fired Comey; pressured Sessions not to recuse; pressured Sessions to fire McCabe; pressured Coats, Rogers, Pompeo &multiple congressmen to say he wasn’t under FBI investigation; and tried to fire Mueller.— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 26, 2018
2/ Trump and his allies have repeatedly denied that Trump ever considered firing Mueller. At least eight times since June 2017 Trump and his team have said Mueller’s job was safe. (CNN)
3/ Mueller’s investigation is moving much faster than previously thought, and he appears to be wrapping up the part of the investigation that deals with possible obstruction of justice. Even if Mueller concludes the obstruction probe, other elements of the investigation are likely to continue for several more months. (Bloomberg)
4/ John Dowd said he is the one who will decide if Trump will sit down with Mueller. The statement from Trump’s attorney comes days after Trump said he would be glad to speak with Mueller and would do so under oath. (CNN)
5/ Trump’s immigration proposal is DOA after Chuck Schumer opposed the framework released by the White House. The one-page proposal would allow as many as 1.8 million young immigrants to become citizens in exchange for spending $25 billion on a border wall and security, as well as imposing restrictions on family-based immigration and eliminating the visa lottery system. (Politico / Axios)
Trump said he’d be willing to publicly apologize for retweeting three anti-Islamic videos posted by a leader of Britain First, one of the U.K.‘s far-right groups. Trump said he didn’t know who the group was and that he didn’t want to cause any difficulty. (CNBC)
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency gained access to a nationwide license plate recognition database, which gives the agency access to billions of license plate records and real-time location tracking data. (The Verge)
Jeb Bush warned Republicans that Trump’s leadership, tweeting, and “racist” comments could cost the party control of Congress in November if they don’t distance themselves from the former reality TV star. (USA Today)
Several State Department employees have retained attorneys, charging that they have been put in career purgatory because of their previous work for Obama. (CNN)
Patrick Meehan will not seek reelection after coming under scrutiny for alleged inappropriate behavior with a longtime female aide that resulted in a congressional payout. (Washington Post)
Hillary Clinton kept a senior adviser accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young subordinate on her 2008 presidential campaign, despite recommendations by her campaign adviser to fire Burns Strider. (New York Times)
Robert Mueller’s team has interviewed at least one member of Facebook’s team that was associated with Trump’s 2016 campaign. Facebook had embedded staff on Trump campaign. (WIRED)
Trump will ask for $716 billion in defense spending in his 2019 budget, which will be unveiled next month. The proposed budget would be a 13% increase over 2017. (Washington Post)
Trump was booed at Davos for criticizing the media as “nasty” and “fake.” (HuffPost)
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