👋 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/ The FBI said in a statement that it has “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.” FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein went to the White House on Monday in hopes of preventing the release of the memo, which was written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. Wray told John Kelly that The Memo™ contains inaccurate information and paints a false narrative. Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines on Monday to release the memo, as well as voting against releasing the Democrats’ 10-page point-by-point rebuttal of the document. Trump has five days to stop the release of the document, if he chooses to do so. While the FBI Director isn’t part of the official White House review process, he was allowed to read the memo on Sunday. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)
- Devin Nunes refused to say whether he worked with Trump’s team on The Memo™. “I’m not answering,” Nunes said during a contentious closed-door meeting of the House Intelligence Committee. (The Daily Beast)
2/ Trump promised “100 percent” to release The Memo™ as he was leaving the House chamber following his first State of the Union address. C-SPAN cameras captured Rep. Jeff Duncan on a hot mic asking Trump to “release the memo.” Trump replied: “Oh yeah, oh, don’t worry. 100 percent.” This morning, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “There are no current plans to release the House Intelligence Committee’s memo” and that Trump had not “seen or been briefed” on the memo’s contents. John Kelly, meanwhile, said the memo will “be released here pretty quick.” The Justice Department previously warned that the memo’s release could compromise intelligence gathering and threaten national security. (Washington Post)
3/ Trump asked Rod Rosenstein if he was “on my team” during a December meeting at the White House. “Of course, we’re all on your team, Mr. President,” Rosenstein said, who wanted Trump to push back on the Nunes memo. Trump, however, wanted to know where Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation was going. It’s Trump’s fourth loyalty request from a Justice Department official. Last year, Trump asked for Comey to pledge his loyalty at a private dinner seven days after the inauguration. Comey declined. (CNN / Axios)
4/ The FBI agent Trump accused of “treason” wrote the first draft of the James Comey letter reopening the Hillary Clinton email probe. Republicans have accused Peter Strzok of being a Clinton supporter, charging that the text messages between him and FBI lawyer Lisa Page prove that Mueller’s investigation is biased against Trump. (CNN)
5/ The Justice Department turned over documents on a proposed Jeff Sessions resignation prior to his interview with Robert Mueller’s team. The documents also included emails with the White House about Michael Flynn. (ABC News)
6/ Trump signed an executive order to keep Guantanamo Bay open, prior to the start of his first State of the Union address. During the speech, Trump reiterated the Bush-era notion that suspected terrorists should be treated as “unlawful enemy combatants” instead of criminals. The majority of detainees held in the facility were never charged with a crime. Of the 41 detainees that remain at Guantanamo, only seven are facing any formal charges. (CNBC)
7/ The director of the CDC resigned following a report that she purchased shares of tobacco stock after taking charge of the agency. Brenda Fitzgerald bought the shares a month into her tenure as CDC director, where her mission was to convince smokers to quit and keep children from becoming addicted. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death. (Politico / CNN)
poll/ 48% of Americans who watched Trump’s State of the Union address had a “very positive” impression of the speech, the lowest net positive rating for a State of the Union address since 1998. (CNN)
A train carrying members of Congress to their legislative retreat in West Virginia hit a truck, leaving at least one person dead. (CNN)
Trey Gowdy will not seek reelection in 2018. “I will not be filing for re-election to Congress nor seeking any other political or elected office; instead I will be returning to the justice system,” the chairman of the House Oversight Committee said in a statement. (Politico)
The Trump administration is seeking a 72% budget cut to the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, underscoring the administration’s focus on “beautiful clean coal.” (Washington Post)
Secretary of Defense James Mattis wants to ban personal cell phones from the Pentagon. There are approximately 23,000 military and civilian staff that work in the Pentagon. (CNN)
Trump called for Democrats and Republicans to come together in his first State of the Union address, while hailing his administration’s first year as an “extraordinary success” that represents “our new American moment.” (New York Times / Washington Post)
Fact-checking Trump’s first State of the Union address. (New York Times)
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