👋 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 authorized tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, exempting Canada and Mexico, and leaving the door open for other countries to be excluded. The moves will impose a 25% levy on steel and 10% charge on aluminum. The tariffs will take effect in 15 days. (New York Times / CNBC)
2/ Trump said he still likes “globalist” Gary Cohn and he has a “feeling” he’ll come back to the White House. Trump’s economic advisor resigned Tuesday after losing his fight against stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum. (CNBC)
3/ White House counsel Don McGahn issued ethics waivers to 24 ex-lobbyists and corporate lawyers allowing them to regulate the industries in which they previously worked. Trump signed an executive order a week into his presidency that barred former lobbyists and lawyers from participating in matters that they previously lobbied for or worked on for private clients, purportedly as a way to prevent corruption and “drain the swamp.” (NBC News)
4/ Trump asked Don McGahn and Reince Priebus about their discussions with Robert Mueller’s investigators. In one episode, Trump wanted McGahn to issue a statement denying that McGahn told investigators that Trump once asked him to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. McGahn had to remind Trump that he did ask him to have Mueller fired. In the other, Trump asked Priebus how his interview with Mueller’s investigators had gone, and whether they were “nice.” (New York Times)
5/ Jared Kushner met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday in an attempt to reduce tensions between the U.S. and Mexico in the wake of a contentious phone call about Trump’s proposed wall on the southern U.S. border. Kushner, however, did not invite the U.S. ambassador to Mexico to accompany him on the trip. Ambassador Roberta Jacobson is among the State Department’s top Latin American experts, with more than 30 years of diplomatic experience in the region. (The Hill / New York Times)
6/ The head of Trump’s voter fraud commission acknowledged that their plan for identifying voter fraud wasn’t a good one. The White House wanted to check voter information against federal databases to identify people who were on voting rolls illegally. (HuffPost)
7/ Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty to an 18-count indictment as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The judge set the trial to begin July 10. Last week Manafort pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent. (ABC News / Reuters)
8/ A federal judge expressed skepticism about whether Trump can constitutionally block Twitter users and recommended that Trump mute rather than block his critics in order to resolve a First Amendment lawsuit. Trump’s lawyer in the case argued that Trump’s use of Twitter was personal and didn’t qualify as a state action. A lawyer for the plaintiffs said that the account is operated in an official capacity because Trump often uses Twitter to announce policies or policy proposals. (Reuters / Associated Press)
poll/ 41% of American voters think Trump is the worst president since World War II. The same poll shows Trump with a 38% approval rating. (Quinnipiac)
California Gov. Jerry Brown shot back at Jeff Sessions and Trump for suing the state over its immigration laws. Brown called the administration “full of liars” and said Robert “Mueller is closing in. There are more indictments to come. So obviously the attorney general has found it hard to be just a normal attorney general. He’s been caught up in the whirlwind.” (CNN)
Trump is “very unhappy” with Sarah Huckabee Sanders over her handling of questions about his alleged affair with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels. (The Hill)
Kellyanne Conway declined to say whether Trump would discipline her for violating the Hatch Act. “The president and I have spoken about this,” Conway said, adding: “I won’t reveal my private conversations with the president about anything except that he would like me to speak about publicly, including steel and aluminum.” (Politico)
The head of the U.S. Forest Service resigned following reports of sexual harassment and retaliation at the agency. (Politico)
Republicans in Utah wanted to name a highway after Trump to thank him for reducing the national monuments in the state. The sponsor of the bill, who believed he had enough votes to pass the measure, dropped the bill after receiving too many personal attacks for the plan. (New York Times)
Corey Lewandowski met with the House Intelligence Committee for three hours, telling reporters he answered “every relevant question you could imagine.” (ABC News)
Eleven countries signed a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which spans a market of 500 million people. The U.S. withdrew from the deal three days after Trump’s inauguration. (Reuters)
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