👋 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/ March For Our Lives: Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are calling for a March 24 march on Washington and a national student walkout to demand action on gun control and challenge the politicians that have failed to protect them. A shooting at the Parkland, FL, high school on Feb. 14 left 17 dead. The March 24 march is to bring attention to school safety, ask lawmakers to enact gun control, and “demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end this epidemic of mass school shootings.” They’re encouraging students from around the country to join the protest. (Reuters / ABC News / March For Our Lives)
- CHART: How Have Your Members Of Congress Voted On Gun Bills? (NPR)
🏴 Do Something: March For Our Lives.
2/ Former Trump aide Rick Gates will plead guilty to fraud-related charges and has agreed to testify against Paul Manafort. Gates, currently facing roughly 18 months in prison, could see “a substantial reduction in his sentence’’ if he cooperates with Mueller’s investigation. (Los Angeles Times)
3/ Several conservatives want Trump to issue presidential pardons as a way of limiting Robert Mueller’s investigation. Larry Klayman, a conservative legal activist, said: “I think he should pardon everybody” – Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos – “and pardon himself.” (Politico)
4/ The new White House security clearances policy puts a “bull’s eye” on Jared Kushner, according to an official. John Kelly announced Friday that the White House will no longer allow some employees with interim security clearances access to top-secret information. Abbe Lowell, one of Kushner’s lawyers, said Kelly’s directive “will not affect Mr. Kushner’s ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the president.” Kushner requests more information from the intelligence community than any White House employee. (Washington Post)
5/ Robert Mueller’s interest in Jared Kushner has expanded beyond his contacts with Russia and now includes his efforts to secure financing for his company from foreign investors during the presidential transition. Mueller’s investigators have been asking about Kushner’s conversations during the transition to finance a Kushner Companies-backed New York City office building facing financial troubles. (CNN)
6/ Trump blamed everybody but Russia as he lashed out against the Russia investigation in a nine-hour, profanity-laced, and error-laden tweetstorm. He attacked the FBI, CNN, the Democratic Party, his national security adviser, former president Obama, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Hillary Clinton, and more. He never criticized Russia or Putin’s attempts to undermine U.S. elections. (Politico / Washington Post / CNN)
“They are laughing their asses off in Moscow”: Trump takes on the FBI, Russia probe and 2016 election. (Washington Post)
America Is Under Attack and the President Doesn’t Care. Trump’s gravest responsibility is to defend the United States from foreign attack – and he’s done nothing to fulfill it. (The Atlantic)
👑 Portrait of a President: The WTF Guide to Presidential Behavior.
7/ National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster said the “evidence is now incontrovertible” that Russia meddled in the U.S. political system, essentially telling the Munich Security Conference to ignore Trump’s tweet. Trump countered on Twitter, naturally: “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems.” (Washington Post)
8/ Trump suggested that the FBI could have stopped the school shooter at a Florida high school if they spent less time on the Russia investigation. “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!” Trump tweeted. (The Hill)
Trump “is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system” for gun purchases, according to Raj Shah, principal deputy press secretary. (CNN)
A prominent Republican political donor vowed not to contribute to any candidates or election groups that didn’t support a ban on the sale of military-style firearms to civilians. Al Hoffman Jr. said he would seek to marshal support among other Republican political donors for a renewed assault weapons ban. (New York Times)
Trump Jr. will give a foreign policy speech while on an “unofficial” business trip to India promoting his family’s real estate projects. (Washington Post)
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court issued a new congressional map to replace the state’s current gerrymandered one, which the court said is so partisan it violates the state’s Constitution. (HuffPost)
Trump called Oprah “very insecure” and accused her of being “biased and slanted” after she moderated a discussion between 14 pro- and anti-Trump voters. (CNN)
Trump went golfing today, three days after skipping a weekend of golf out of respect for the 17 people killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week. (The Hill)
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