👋 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/ Omarosa released audio of Trump campaign aides discussing how to handle the potential release of a tape where Trump used the “n-word.” Trump claims he never said the word, tweeting that “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary and never have” and that Omarosa “made it up.” The audio appears to corroborate Omarosa’s claims that Trump aides were aware of the recording and talked about how to handle it. Trump tweeted that, according to “The Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett, the long-rumored tape of him using a racial slur doesn’t exist. (CBS News)
2/ Trump called Omarosa “that dog” and a “crazed, crying lowlife” after she released a recording of his campaign aides in October 2016 discussing how to handle a tape on which Trump is said to have used the n-word. In recent weeks, Trump has attacked several African-Americans, calling Don Lemon “the dumbest man on television,” questioning the intelligence of LeBron James, repeated said Maxine Waters has a “low I.Q.,” among others. (New York Times / Washington Post)
3/ Sarah Huckabee Sanders can’t “guarantee” that Trump hasn’t been recorded using the n-word. Sanders also insisted Trump was not using racially coded language when he disparaged Omarosa, who is African-American, as a “dog.” (ABC News / CNN / Washington Post)
4/ Trump called Trump Jr. “a fuckup” after he released his emails about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, according to Omarosa’s forthcoming book. The book says Trump erupted in anger after Omarosa mentioned that Trump Jr. had released screenshots of his email exchanges with Rob Goldstone on Twitter. “He is such a fuckup,” Omarosa claims Trump said. “He screwed up again, but this time, he’s screwing us all, big-time!” (New York Daily News)
5/ The Trump campaign filed an arbitration action against Omarosa, alleging that her tell-all book broke a 2016 confidentiality agreement. Manigault Newman’s book, “Unhinged,” portrays Trump as bigoted and racist and questions his mental capacity. Hours after the campaign filed the arbitration action, Manigault Newman declared: “I will not be silenced,” “[I] will not be intimidated,” and “I’m not going to be bullied by Donald Trump.” The Trump campaign hired attorney Charles Harder in its arbitration fight. Harder is best known for representing wrestler Hulk Hogan in his sex tape lawsuit against now-defunct gossip site Gawker. (Politico / Associated Press / Washington Post / CNBC)
- White House officials were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements that prevents them from writing tell-all books once they leave the Trump administration. The clause was embedded in the White House’s two-page non-disclosure agreement that prohibits top aides from disclosing confidential information in the form of books without Trump’s permission. If aides violate those terms, the non-disclosure agreement stipulates that they would be required to forfeit any royalties or earnings to the U.S. government. (Politico)
6/ Paul Manfort sent recommendations for senior White House positions to Jared Kushner in late 2016. Manafort sent Kushner a recommendation to appoint the chair of the Federal Savings Bank, Stephen Calk, as Secretary of the Army around the same time that Manafort received the first part of what would be $16 million in loans from Calk’s bank. He also suggests two other appointees: Pat Sink and Vernon Parker. “The 3 indivituals (sic) are people who I believe advance DT agenda,” Manfort wrote in an email to Kushner. “They will be totally reliable and responsive to the Trump White House.” That same day, Kushner responded: “On it!” (Politico / Bloomberg)
7/ Manafort’s lawyers declined to call any witnesses to defend him against charges of bank and tax fraud, resting their defense without presenting their own evidence. Manafort is letting the case go to the jury because he and his lawyers “do not believe that the government has met its burden of proof.” (New York Times / ABC News)
poll/ 66% of Americans think Robert Mueller should try to complete his investigation before the midterm elections. 70% believe Trump should testify under oath in Mueller’s investigation and 34% approve of Trump’s handling of the Russia investigation, compared to 55% who disapprove. 56% say Trump has interfered with the investigation. (CNN)
poll/ 31% of Americans like Trump as a person; 51% dislike him. (Quinnipiac)
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