👋 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 revoked former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance, citing what he called Brennan’s “erratic conduct and behavior.” Brennan has been one of Trump’s most prominent critics. Last month, the White House threatened to revoke the clearances for Brennan, Susan Rice, and James Clapper. Trump is also reviewing James Comey’s security clearance. Revoking their access to classified information could impact their ability to work as consultants, lobbyists and advisers in Washington. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC)
- John Brennan: Trump is “trying to get back at me” for criticism of his conduct and actions. (CNBC)
2/ The FBI has investigated several cyberattacks over the past year targeted at the Democratic opponent of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. The 15-term incumbent is widely seen as the most pro-Russia and pro-Putin member of Congress, who has voted against Russian sanctions and was warned by the FBI that Moscow was trying to recruit him as an asset. Last month, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the warning lights for future cyberattacks aimed at the U.S. were “blinking red” and last week Sen. Bill Nelson said that Russian hackers had “penetrated” county voting systems in Florida. (Rolling Stone)
3/ The Treasury Department has delayed turning over financial records related to the Russia probe and has refused to provide an expert to make sense of the money trail. Some of the department’s personnel have questioned whether the Treasury is intentionally impeding the investigation. At one point, the Treasury went at least four months before responding to a Senate Intelligence Committee request for sensitive financial documents. (BuzzFeed News)
4/ The Treasury Department retweeted-and-then-deleted a Trump tweet celebrating Republican midterm chances this fall, which experts say was a potential violation of federal campaign law. The department’s official Twitter account shared a tweet from Trump touting an upcoming “Red Wave.” The Hatch Act bans federal employees from engaging in political activity while on duty or serving in an official capacity. (The Hill / CNBC)
5/ Sarah Huckabee Sanders apologized for claiming that Trump has created three times as many jobs for black people as Obama did during his tenure. Sanders claimed that Obama created 195,000 jobs for black people during his eight years in office, while “Trump in his first year and a half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years.” The statement was false, as black employment between January 2009 and January 2017 increased by 3 million jobs. Since then, black employment has increased by about 700,000 jobs. (Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC)
poll/ 51% of Republicans say the news media is the enemy of the people and not an important part of democracy. Overall, 65% of Americans say the news media is an important part of democracy and not the enemy of the people. (Quinnipiac)
poll/ In nationwide generic Congressional ballot, Democrats lead Republicans 52% to 41% – up three percentage points since June. (CNN)
poll/ 75% of Republicans and 72% of Democrats said they are “very motivated” to vote in the midterms. The difference between the two is within the poll’s margin of error. 41.9% of eligible voters turned out in the 2014 midterms. (Politico)
Omarosa claimed Betsy DeVos said black students who booed her 2017 commencement speech lack the “capacity to understand” what she’s trying to accomplish, “meaning, all those black students were too stupid to understand her agenda.” She also goes after DeVos for being “woefully inadequate and not equipped for her job” in her book, “Unhinged.” (Politico)
Roger Stone posted a Nazi Space Force meme on his Instagram before deleting it after public outcry. “I love this,” Stone wrote in his original post. “Proud to be in this crew — but the only lies being told are by liberal scumbags.” The caption in the photo read: “In space no one can hear you lie.” Stone said he didn’t notice the swastikas in the photo. (Washington Post)
One of James Mattis’ most senior civilian advisers is under investigation for allegedly retaliating against staff members after she used some of them to run personal errands and conduct personal business. Dana White, the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, has been under investigation for several weeks and is alleged to have misused support staff by asking them to, among other things, fetch her laundry, go to the pharmacy for her, and take care of her mortgage paperwork. She is also alleged to have inappropriately transferred and reassigned personnel after they filed complaints about her. (CNN)
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