👋 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 invited Putin to the White House, according to Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov. “When our presidents spoke on the phone, Trump suggested having the meeting in Washington at the White House,” Ushakov said. “This is quite an interesting, positive idea.” During a March 20 phone call, Trump congratulated Putin for his reelection victory and discussed a possible meeting. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “a number of potential venues, including the White House,” were discussed during the phone call. (Washington Post / Bloomberg)
2/ Trump tweeted that “DACA is dead” and there would be no “NO MORE DACA DEAL” while pressing Congress to “immediately pass border legislation” because “our country is being stolen!” Trump claimed that “a lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA,” even though the program is only available to people who have lived in the U.S. since 2007. Trump ended DACA in September. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)
3/ Local news stations owned by Sinclair Broadcasting were forced to recite the same script warning of “biased and false news” and “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories” that have been plaguing the country. Local news anchors have reportedly been uncomfortable with the “forced read.” Sinclair is the country’s largest broadcaster and owns or operates 193 TV stations. (New York Times / Deadspin)
4/ Trump tweet-defended Sinclair’s “fake news” promotional campaign, which alleges “irresponsible, one-sided news stories” by mainstream media. “So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased,” Trump tweeted. “Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.” (Politico / Washington Post)
5/ Trump patched in Lou Dobbs, the Fox Business host, via speakerphone to senior-level meetings on issues such as trade and tax policy during his first year in office. Trump would often interrupt officials so Dobbs could offer his opinion. (The Daily Beast)
6/ Trump demanded that the Washington Post register as a “lobbyist” for Amazon while accusing the online retailer of a “Post Office scam” in a series of weekend tweets. Trump continued his Twitter attack on Monday, saying that “only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon […] and this will be changed.” The Post is owned by Bezos. However, the Post and Amazon are two separate entities. (CNBC / The Hill / Politico / Washington Post)
Shares of Amazon.com fell 6% after Trump attacked the online retailer over the pricing of its deliveries through the United States Postal Service and promised unspecified changes. (Reuters)
The Dow dropped more than 600 points and the Nasdaq fell about 3% as Trump attacked Amazon on Twitter. Trump accused Amazon of taking advantage of the US Postal Service, and he suggested that Amazon does not pay its fair share of taxes. (CNN Money)
7/ Trump’s presidential campaign spent $158,498.41 on office supplies at Amazon in 2015 and 2016. The Trump for President committee continued to use Amazon after the election, spending more than $2,000 in 2017. (CBS News)
poll/ 48% of Americans overall trust CNN as a source of information more than Trump. In addition, 45% trust MSNBC more than Trump while 30% trust Fox News over Trump. Republicans, however, trust Trump as a source more than either CNN (12% versus 75% for Trump) or MSNBC (11% versus 72% for Trump). Republicans are also more likely to trust Trump than Fox News (35% versus 21%). (Monmouth University)
China will impose tariffs on 128 U.S. goods in response to Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum. The new Chinese tariffs will affect more than $3 billion in U.S. exports to China, including a 15% tariff on American fruit and nuts and a 25% tariff on pork, recycled aluminum, and more. (Politico)
A third woman has sued to nullify a Trump-related non-disclosure agreement, which prohibits disparagement and disclosure of information about Trump, his company and family members. Jessica Denson claims she was harassed by a superior while working for the campaign. (Bloomberg)
Scott Pruitt’s daughter also stayed in the Capitol Hill condo where Pruitt rented a bedroom from a lobbyist. Ethics officials at the EPA signed off on the arrangement, which allowed Pruitt to pay roughly $2,150 less than other tenants would have paid during the same five-and-a-half-month stay. (CBS News)
Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said he didn’t resign his position, as the White House previously claimed. Shulkin said he was never asked to submit a letter of resignation. (Politico)
Trump called the FBI and Justice Department “an embarrassment to our country!” in a tweet. House Republicans recently subpoenaed the Justice Department for its records relating to the probe of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. (Politico)
A new book claims that Kellyanne Conway is the “number one leaker” in Trump’s White House, and that she leaks more information to the press than any other individual. (CNN)
Robert Mueller’s team has been asking about Roger Stone’s 2016 claim that he met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Stone wrote in a August 2016 email that “I dined with Julian Assange last night,” which Mueller’s team has been asking about during grand jury testimony. (Wall Street Journal)
Chris Christie is worried that Trump won’t be able to stop himself from committing perjury if he sits down with Robert Mueller. “He’s a salesman. And salesmen, at times, tend to be hyperbolic. […] That’s okay when you’re on the campaign hustle. […] It is not okay when you’re sitting talking to federal agents because, you know, 18 USC 1001 is false statements to federal agents. That’s a crime. That can send you to jail.” (Washington Post)
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