👋 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/ Rudy Giuliani said Trump’s legal team is prepared to fight a subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court. “We would move to quash the subpoena,” Giuliani said, “and we’re pretty much finished with our memorandum opposing a subpoena.” Giuliani added that Trump’s legal team is ready to “argue it before the Supreme Court, if it ever got there.” Trump’s lawyers plan to argue that a sitting president cannot be indicted by citing Article II of the Constitution and a 2000 memo from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel following Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. (Washington Post / Business Insider)
2/ Robert Mueller doesn’t have to shut down his investigation before the midterms despite claims by Trump’s lawyers that he faces a September 1st deadline, according to current and former U.S. officials. Giuliani, meanwhile, said that if Mueller “doesn’t get it done in the next two or three weeks we will just unload on him like a ton of bricks.” (Bloomberg)
- Jurors began deliberations in Paul Manafort’s trial, who is charged with 18 counts of bank and tax fraud. The prosecution called 27 witnesses and presented 388 documents. The defense rested without calling any witnesses. (New York Times / Politico / CNN)
3/ Trump admitted that he revoked John Brennan’s security clearance because of his role in the Russia investigation. “I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham,” Trump said. “And these people led it. So I think it’s something that had to be done.” Brennan called Trump’s claims of “no collusion” with Russia to influence the 2016 election “hogwash” and that Trump “clearly has become more desperate to protect himself and those close to him, which is why he made the politically motivated decision to revoke my security clearance in an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him.” (ABC News / New York Times)
The retired commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden: “I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.” (Washington Post)
Trump has fired or threatened most senior officials related to the Russia investigation. Sally Yates was fired for refusing to defend Trump’s travel ban and her security clearance threatened. Trump has repeatedly threatened to fire Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein. James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok were fired and their security clearances threatened. Trump has twice threatened to fire Robert Mueller. James Clapper and Susan Rice’s security clearances were threatened and John Brennan’s security clearance was revoked. (Washington Post)
4/ Trump defended his trade policies and claimed that his steel tariffs will save the U.S. steel industry because the United States was “built on Tariffs, and Tariffs are now leading us to great new Trade Deals.” He said steel prices in the short term will be “a little more expensive,” but claimed they will eventually drop. He also said competition will be “internal, like it used to be in the old days when we actually had steel, and U.S. Steel was our greatest company.” (Wall Street Journal / Yahoo News / New York Times)
poll/ 37% of Americans say they’d like to see the Senate confirm Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. The public’s support is lower than nearly every nominee from the last four administrations. 40% say the Senate should not vote to confirm Kavanaugh, while 22% have no opinion. (CNN)
Forecast/ Democrats have a 75.4% of winning the House in the midterms while Republicans have a 24.6% chances of retaining control. (FiveThirtyEight)
Trump’s military parade is now estimated to cost $92 million – $80 million more than original $12 million estimate. (CNBC)
China and the U.S. will restart trade talks later this month, but expectations are low as Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow dismissed the talks as “second-level.” (Politico)
The Senate confirmed the 25th and 26th appellate court judges during Trump’s tenure – setting a record for the most confirmed during a president’s first two years in office. (Washington Post)
Omarosa Manigault Newman released a tape of campaign official Lara Trump offering her a $15,000-a-month job after she was fired from the administration. The job offer required her to sign a nondisclosure agreement, which she said she did not accept. (NBC News / Washington Post)
More than 300 newspapers nationwide published editorials pushing back against Trump’s attacks on the news media, saying “this dirty war on the free press must end.” Predictably, Trump tweeted that the newspapers were “in collusion” to publish “FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people.” (ABC News / Washington Post / New York Times)
The Senate unanimously passed a resolution affirming that “the press is not the enemy of the people.” Trump tweeted that “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY.” (CBS News)
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