👋 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 signed an executive order to reverse his administration’s policy of separating families at the border. Trump said that while the order “will solve that problem” of children being separated from their parents, it wouldn’t end his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting everyone caught attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. The plan potentially violates a 1997 consent decree that prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention for more than 20 days. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / NBC News)
2/ Separating migrant children from their parents costs the Trump administration more than keeping them with their parents. The “tent cities” to house children cost $775 per person per night, compared with $256 per person per night to hold the children in a permanent housing facility. To house children with their family costs $298 per person per night. The increased cost is due to additional security, air conditioning, medical workers, and other government contractors to staff the tent cities. (NBC News)
Babies and young children separated from their families at the border are being sent to “tender age” shelters in South Texas. Doctors and lawyers who visited the shelters described the facilities as clean and safe, but that the kids were hysterical, crying and acting out. (Associated Press)
Corey Lewandowski replied “womp womp” to mention of a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome being separated from her parents by the Trump administration’s immigration policy. Trump’s former campaign manager later clarified his remark, saying he simply “mocked a liberal who attempted to politicize children as opposed to discussing the real issue which is fixing a broken immigration system.” (Politico)
Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled by protesters who chanted “Shame!” and “End family separation!” while she was having dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C. Diners at the restaurant applauded the protesters. The Homeland Security secretary paid her check and was escorted out of the restaurant by Secret Service agents after 15 minutes of chanting. (Washington Post / Politico)
3/ Michael Cohen resigned from his post as the deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee’s Finance Committee. Cohen cited the ongoing special counsel investigation as one reason for his departure. (ABC News / Politico)
4/ Federal prosecutors subpoenaed the publisher of the National Enquirer as part of their Michael Cohen investigation. Investigators requested information regarding American Media Inc.’s August 2016 payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal for the rights to her story alleging an affair with Trump. Prosecutors want to know if Cohen coordinated with American Media to pay McDougal and whether the payment violated campaign finance laws. (Wall Street Journal)
5/ Michael Bloomberg will spend $80 million to support Democratic congressional candidates in the 2018 midterms in order to flip the House of Representatives. (New York Times)
poll/ 51% of Americans say they are “more enthusiastic about voting than usual” in the midterm elections. In particular, 68% of voters are focused on which party controls Congress. 60% of voters say they consider their midterm vote either a vote either for Trump (26%) or against him (34%). (Pew Research Center)
The Senate rejected a White House plan to cut $15 billion in previously approved spending from the budget. The House had approved the rescissions package earlier this month, but the measure failed after two Republicans joined all Democrats in voting no. (Washington Post / CNN)
A lobbyist for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska visited Julian Assange nine times at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last year. Adam Waldman had more meetings with Assange in 2017 than almost anyone else. Deripaska is currently subject to U.S. sanctions. (The Guardian)
The Trump administration released its report on toxic water contamination, months after White House officials said they feared the findings would spark a “public relations nightmare.” (Politico)
Trump rescinded Obama’s rules meant to protect the Great Lakes and the oceans bordering the U.S. The order encourages more drilling and other industrial uses of the oceans and Great Lakes. (The Hill)
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