👋 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/ National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster could leave the White House after months of personal tension between him and Trump. The Pentagon is searching for a “four-star military job suited for McMaster.” This is not the first time that speculation has been floated over the future of McMaster’s role in the Trump administration. (CNN)
2/ A Trump-appointed federal judge who donated to the Trump campaign and worked on his presidential transition team is refusing to recuse himself from overseeing a legal battle involving Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the dossier of intelligence that contains claims Trump has ties to Russia. U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden donated $1,000 to Trump’s presidential campaign. (ABC News)
3/ Robert Mueller filed additional criminal charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. The 32-count indictment adds new tax and bank fraud changes to the one filed on October 27th, which charged the two with failing to disclose their political consulting work in Ukraine and laundering millions of dollars. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / Associated Press)
- Michael Flynn will not accept financial support from Trump’s “Patriot Legal Expense Fund,” which was established using Trump’s campaign funds to help White House and campaign aides with the legal expenses related to the special counsel’s probe. (ABC News)
4/ The NRA blamed the Florida school shooting on a “failure of school security” and a “failure of family.” Wayne LaPierre, CEO and vice president of the NRA, accused Democrats of “exploit[ing] tragedy for political gain,” blamed “rogue” leadership of the FBI, and attacked the left for promoting a “socialist agenda” intended to strip firearms away from law-abiding citizens. (ABC News / NBC News / NPR)
5/ In 2016, Trump tweeted that he didn’t want “guns in classrooms.” Yesterday, he made a “concealed carry” proposal to arm teachers. Today, Trump tweeted that he never said he wanted to “give teachers guns.” In the same tweet, however, he suggested that the government would “look at the possibility of giving ‘concealed guns to gun adept teachers.’” And, at a White House “listening session,” Trump said that “gun-free” school zones make it like “going in for ice cream” for school shooters. While on Twitter, he promised that “ATTACKS WOULD END!” with his strategy of arming “highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive.” (Washington Post / BuzzFeed News)
6/ Trump’s listening session talking points had to remind him to say “I hear you” and to ask “What would you most want me to know about your experience?” A photographer captured a picture of the talking points Trump was given for Wednesday’s listening session with survivors of the school shooting in Florida. (Washington Post)
7/ Marco Rubio and the NRA were repeatedly heckled after they refused to back a full ban on military-style assault weapons while discussing gun violence with the high school students who survived the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Rubio said he supported legislation to raise the legal age to purchase a rifle to 21 and to create gun violence restraining orders. He said he was “reconsidering” support for a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, and that he opposed Trump’s proposal to arm teachers or put armed security in classrooms. (CNN / The Guardian / New York Times)
8/ Paul Ryan removed the chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The House speaker will now recommend a nominee for the commissioner post, which Trump will formally nominate. The reason for passing on Matthew Masterson for a second four-year term, and whether the decision originated with Ryan or the White House, is unclear. (Reuters)
A Republican congresswoman claimed that “so many” people who commit mass murders “end up being Democrats.” Claudia Tenney didn’t provide evidence to back up her claim. She is the incumbent for a contested congressional seat in Central New York. (Washington Post)
A man threw an explosive device over the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro, but ended up killing himself with the blast. The blast didn’t injure anyone else or cause any major property damage. (New York Times)
Trump Jr. “liked” conspiracy theories on Twitter about last week’s school shooting in Florida, including one that called a survivor an agent of “the deep state media.” (ABC News)
Melania Trump’s parents may have relied on “chain migration” – the same process that Trump has publicly called on Congress to end. Melania’s parents are lawful permanent residents of the United States and are reportedly close to obtaining their citizenship. (Washington Post)
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner drank chocolate milk to demonstrate his commitment to diversity. The Republican governor called the drink “really, really good” and exclaimed: “Diversity!” (Chicago Tribune)
Trump is considering pulling Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from California as punishment for what he claimed was a “lousy management job” in patrolling illegal immigration. (CNN)
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