👋 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.
Send your thoughts, suggestions, or complaints to:
1/ House Freedom Caucus leaders Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “The DOJ is keeping information from Congress. Enough is enough,” Jordan said in a statement. “It’s time to hold Mr. Rosenstein accountable for blocking Congress’s constitutional oversight role.” The resolution is unlikely to pass, as top GOP lawmakers have not signed on to the effort, but it represents the strongest step that conservative allies of Trump have taken so far in their feud with Rosenstein and the Justice Department. (Politico / CNN / Washington Post)
- Jim Jordan plans to run for speaker of the House of Representatives “to bring real changes to Congress.” Jordan vowed to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act, build a wall along the southern border, make the 2017 tax cuts permanent and cut federal spending to avoid large deficits if he becomes speaker. At least four Ohio State wrestlers have accused him of knowing about sexual abuse by a team doctor while he was an assistant wrestling coach at the university three decades ago. (CNN / Washington Post)
2/ Paul Ryan rejected the efforts by House conservatives to impeach Rosenstein, saying “I don’t think we should be cavalier with this process or with this term.” 11 of the 236 Republicans in the House accused Rosenstein of withholding documents and being insufficiently transparent in his handling of the Russia probe led by Robert Mueller. Ryan added that the House Republicans document request doesn’t rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that warrant impeachment under the Constitution. (Associated Press / Vox / Washington Post / Politico)
3/ Robert Mueller is scrutinizing Trump’s tweets and negative statements about Jeff Sessions and James Comey as part of his obstruction of justice investigation. Mueller is trying to determine whether Trump’s statements and actions constitute attempts to obstruct the investigation via witness intimidation and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to impede the inquiry. Mueller also reportedly wants to question Trump about his tweets. (New York Times)
4/ A federal grand jury subpoenaed the CFO of the Trump Organization to testify as a witness in the ongoing probe into Michael Cohen’s business practices. Allen Weisselberg’s name was mentioned on the recently released audio recording of one of Cohen’s conversations with Trump from September 2016, during which the two discussed buying the rights to Karen McDougal’s story about her alleged affair with Trump. Weisselberg is a long-time financial gatekeeper for Trump, and has been working for the Trump Organization since at least the 1980s. (Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Law and Crime)
- The government seized more than 100 recordings from Michael Cohen. They include conversations Cohen had with reporters and others who were discussing matters related to Trump and his businesses. Cohen made some of the recordings with an iPhone, without telling anyone he was taping them. Most of the recordings involve conversations between Cohen and reporters who asked him about Trump during and after the 2016 election. (Washington Post / The Hill)
5/ The lawyer Trump Jr. met with at Trump Tower during the campaign had worked more closely with Russian government officials than she previously let on. Natalia Veselnitskaya, who previously denied acting as a representative of Russian authorities, served as a ghostwriter for top Russian government lawyers and received assistance from senior Interior Ministry personnel. [This story is developing…] (Associated Press)
6/ The Trump administration failed to document consent in most cases where migrants were deported without their children. The new information contradicts repeated claims by the White House that migrant parents gave consent to leaving their children behind. This has been a key talking point for Trump administration officials who have defended the separations and deportations. (Politico)
7/ A multi-state lawsuit challenging the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census will be allowed to move forward in court. The suit, brought by more than two dozen states and cities and other groups, is the largest of six lawsuits arguing against the new citizenship question. In his opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman said the plaintiffs “plausibly allege that Secretary Ross’s decision to reinstate the citizenship question was motivated at least in part by discriminatory animus and will result in a discriminatory effect.” (NPR)
poll/ Trump’s job approval rating is below 40 percent in three politically important Midwest states: Michigan (36%), Wisconsin (36%), and Minnesota (38%). (NBC News/Marist)
Mike Pompeo refused to provide details about what Trump discussed with Putin last week. The Secretary of State took exception to questions by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about Trump’s private one-on-one with Putin, but claimed he is “very confident that I received a comprehensive debriefing from President Trump.” (New York Times / Washington Post)
Newly disclosed emails reveal Michigan Republicans planning to gerrymander district maps to their party’s advantage, while celebrating the plight of their Democratic opponents. A federal lawsuit unearthed records that show Republicans intent on drawing boundaries that would explicitly help their party, including by packing African-Americans into a metropolitan Detroit House district. “Perfect. It’s giving the finger to Sandy Levin,” one of the Republicans wrote. “I love it.” (New York Times)
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed rolling back Obama-era loan forgiveness rules for students who were defrauded by for-profit colleges. The proposal would require that in order to receive loan forgiveness student borrowers prove that they have fallen into hopeless financial straits or prove that their college knowingly deceived them. The proposal is set to go into effect a year from now. (New York Times)
Someone untied Betsy DeVos’ 163-foot yacht and set it adrift on Lake Erie. The captain of the Seaquest called the police to report that the yacht had been untied and set adrift. By the time the police arrived, the $40-million yacht had hit a dock, causing large scratches and scrapes that are estimated to cost between $5,000 and $10,000 to repair. The yacht is one of ten boats owned by the DeVos family. (Detroit News / Toledo Blade)
The man who used a pickax to vandalize Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this week was bailed out of jail by the man who vandalized Trump’s star in 2016. Austin Clay was booked on suspicion of felony vandalism and held on $20,000 bail for the incident, but he was bailed out shortly after his arrest by James Otis, who pleaded no contest to felony vandalism charges in 2017 for a similar incident. (The Hill)
The White House banned network pool reporter Kaitlan Collins from the Rose Garden because of the questions she asked Trump during a photo op. In a statement, Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the dis-invitation, claiming that Collins “shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so.” Sanders continued: “To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House.” (CNN)
Coca-Cola Company announced that it will raise prices in response to the financial strain caused by Trump’s tariffs. Coca-Cola’s CEO said they are increasing prices due to the rising costs of delivery and metal prices after the U.S. imposed $50 billion in duties on Chinese products earlier this year. (The Hill)
The White House corrected the official transcript of Trump’s press conference with Putin in Helsinki to include a previously omitted question about whether Putin wanted Trump to win in 2016. Ten days after the press conference, the transcript has been updated to include the full question. (The Hill / CNN)
Meta: Trump used Twitter to accuse Twitter of “shadow banning” Republican voices after the social platform fixed an issue related to improving “conversation health,” which limited the reach of “troll-like behaviors.” The president vowed to spend his time to “look into” the matter he called a “discriminatory and illegal practice.” Twitter responded: “We do not ‘shadowban.’” (CNBC / Vice News)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.