👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
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1/ Trump has been privately telling top White House officials that he wants the US to withdraw from the World Trade Organization. “He’s [threatened to withdraw] 100 times,” a person who’s discussed the subject with Trump. “It would totally [screw] us as a country.” Trump’s economic advisers have pushed back when he raises the idea of withdrawing from the WTO. which regulates international trade. (Axios / CNN)
2/ The Trump administration ran a family separation “pilot program” months before the announcement of the “zero tolerance” policy. At least 1,768 children were separated from their parents between October 2016 and February 2018; it is not known how many of these separations took place after Trump took office because the Department of Homeland Security will not release month-by-month figures. An additional 2,342 children have been separated since May 5, bringing the total number of separated kids to more than 4,100. (NBC News)
3/ The Department of Justice is drafting a plan to overhaul the U.S. asylum policy, which would prevent people from getting asylum if they entered the country illegally. It would also make it extremely difficult for Central Americans to qualify for asylum, and would codify an opinion written by Jeff Sessions that restricts asylum for victims of domestic abuse and gang violence. (Vox)
The UN migration agency voted down Trump’s candidate to lead the International Organization for Migration, which is responsible for coordinating assistance to migrants worldwide. (CNN)
Pence told the leaders of three Central American countries that “this exodus must end” and to respect U.S. borders. “Our nation needs your nations to do more,” Pence added. (NBC News)
4/ Justice Anthony Kennedy’s son, Justin, worked at Deutsche Bank for more than a decade, helping loan Trump more than $1 billion at a time when other banks wouldn’t. Since 1998, Deutsche has helped loan Trump at least $2.5 billion, of which at least $130 million is still owed to the bank. In 2017, Deutsche Bank AG agreed to pay $425 million to New York’s banking regulator over a money laundering scheme that helped Russian investors move $10 billion out of Russia. Trump later waived the fines for the bank after Robert Mueller issued a subpoena to Deutsche for the banking records of people affiliated with him. Following Trump’s first address to Congress in February 2017, he stopped to tell Justice Kennedy: “Say hello to your boy. Special guy.” (New York Times)
poll/ 67% of Americans do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. 53% of Republicans want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, while 81% of Democrats and 73% of independents do not. (Kaiser Family Foundation / Vox)
- The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a law requiring a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion was an unconstitutional burden. “Autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free,” the justices wrote. “At stake in this case is the right to shape, for oneself, without unwarranted governmental intrusion, one’s own identity, destiny, and place in the world. Nothing could be more fundamental to the notion of liberty.” (Associated Press)
Rep. Maxine Waters cancelled multiple events after receiving what she described as a “very serious death threat” against her. Waters was scheduled to speak Friday at the conference of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women in Birmingham and another event in Texas. Last week Waters encouraged protesters to confront Trump officials in public. (Washington Post / CNN)
George Papadopoulos will be sentenced by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 7. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and has agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s investigation. (NBC News)
Trump wants to make a deal with Putin on Syria that would allow the US to “get out ASAP.” Trump’s plan would let the Russians help Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad take back a region where the US-led coalition is experiencing increased opposition from “an unidentified hostile force” despite a previous ceasefire. (CNN)
Trump’s chief economic adviser lied on Fox Business that the federal budget deficit was “coming down rapidly,” contradicting all available data. The deficit from January through April was $161 billion, up from $135 billion at the same point last year. The deficit in fiscal year 2017 was $665 billion. In fiscal year 2016, the deficit was $587 billion. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the deficit will climb to $1 trillion annually by 2020. There is no publicly available data to justify Larry Kudlow’s claim. (Washington Post)
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