👋 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, in a tweet, suggested that students and neighbors should have reported the Florida shooter to authorities, because there were “so many signs” that the shooter “was mentally disturbed.” The FBI was warned in September about a possible school shooting after a YouTube user named Nikolas Cruz – the same name as the shooter who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – left a comment that read: “Im going to be a professional school shooter.” The FBI said it had investigated the comment, but was unable to identify the person who posted it. (NBC News / CNN / BBC)
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called on Congress to look into issues related to gun violence. He is the first senior Trump administration official to call for a congressional review of gun violence. According to a Treasury official, however, says Mnuchin doesn’t support Congress examining new gun laws. (Washington Post / Politico)
Trump’s budget would cut millions of dollars from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which gun dealers use to verify if someone is banned from buying a gun before selling it to them. (HuffPost)
One of Trump’s first actions as president was to undo a regulation that would have made it more difficult for people with a known mental illness to buy guns by requiring their names to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Nikolas Cruz legally purchased the AR-15. (ABC News)
2/ A student who witnessed the shooting called out lawmakers on TV, looking directly into the camera and saying: “We’re children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together, come over your politics, and get something done.” He added: “Ideas are great but without action, ideas stay ideas and children die.” (CNN)
3/ The leader of a white supremacist group said the gunman in the Florida shooting was a member of his “white separatist paramilitary proto-fascist organization.” Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of killing 17 people in one of the deadliest school shootings in modern American history. His peers say he also wore a “Make America Great Again” hat in school. (Anti-Defamation League / The Daily Beast / New York Times)
4/ The admission that Michael Cohen facilitated a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels is raising legal and ethical questions. In particular, Cohen declined to say whether Trump or another party later reimbursed him for the payment. He insisted that the payment was a legal, personal gift by him to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. A lawyer who represented Clifford in the 2016 transaction issued a statement that said Cohen told him that the $130,000 payment was coming from his personal funds. (New York Times)
- Stormy Daniels said she has a “Monica Lewinsky dress” from the July 2006 night she allegedly had sex with Trump. According her, she’s kept the dress “in pristine condition” and wants to have it tested for samples of hair, skin or “anything else” that would contain DNA. (The Mercury News)
5/ Trump’s travel ban unlawfully discriminates against Muslims, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 9-4 vote. The court ruled that the ban, which targeted people from six Muslim-majority countries, violated the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion. (Reuters)
6/ The bipartisan immigration bill failed in the Senate after Trump threatened to veto the deal, which would have created a pathway to citizenship for nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants and allot $25 billion for border security. Negotiators in both parties reached a tentative agreement yesterday, but the measure fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed today. The final vote was 54-45. (Bloomberg / CNN / Politico)
7/ At least 130 White House officials did not have permanent security clearances as of November 2017, including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Dan Scavino, and Rob Porter. 47 of them report directly to Trump. (CNN / NBC News)
- Rob Porter was informed in September that his security clearance check was “delayed” in part because of concerns that he was “violent,” according to one of his ex-wives. (CNN)
8/ Steve Bannon was interviewed by Robert Mueller over several days this week, spending more than 20 hours in conversation with the team investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Bannon and his legal team also appeared for a closed-door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee, despite the White House telling lawmakers Bannon would not be answering questions pertinent to the Russia investigation. (NBC News / ABC News / CNN)
The IRS and the Justice Department issued subpoenas for documents from lenders and investors related to projects managed by Jared Kushner’s family. The projects in question date back to at least 2010 and are reportedly unrelated to the Mueller investigation. (Bloomberg)
Reince Priebus convinced Jeff Sessions not to resign shortly after Trump fired James Comey in May 2017. Trump berated Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation in a meeting in the Oval Office, which lead to Sessions offering his resignation. (New York Times / Vanity Fair)
Trump’s inaugural committee paid nearly $26 million to an event planning firm started by Melania’s adviser and longtime friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. The firm was created in December 2016 – 45 days before the inauguration. Trump’s inauguration committee raised $107 million and paid to WIS Media Partners $25.8 million. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal)
Trump’s 25-cent per gallon gas tax would wipe out 60% of tax cut benefit for individuals. The increased cost of gas at the pump would be about nine times larger than the estimated $4 billion companies are handing to workers in the form of bonuses, due to corporate tax cuts. (CNBC)
The Department of Defense has five options for Trump’s military parade, ranging from $3 million to as much as $50 million. (NPR)
A week after Rob Porter resigned following allegations of domestic violence, Trump said that he is “totally opposed to domestic violence.” It was his first condemnation of the conduct behind the allegations. (New York Times)
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