👋 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/ Brett Kavanaugh challenged whether Roe v. Wade was “the settled law of the land” in a leaked 2003 email he wrote while serving in the George W. Bush White House. A lawyer for Bush deemed the email “committee confidential” when turning it over to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which meant it could not be made public or discussed by Democrats during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings this week. In the email, Kavanaugh wrote: “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe v. Wade as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.” Following the publication of the Kavanaugh email, two Democratic senators unilaterally released several other “committee confidential” emails. (New York Times / Washington Post)
Did Kavanaugh mislead the Senate on spying and abortion? (New York Times)
2/ Senator Cory Booker released 12 pages of confidential Kavanaugh emails on racial profiling, affirmative action, and other racial issues. Booker acknowledged that he would be “knowingly violating the rules” for releasing the “committee confidential” emails, adding: “And I understand that the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate […] I openly invite and accept the consequences … the emails being withheld from the public have nothing to do with national security.” Booker then invited Republican Sen. John Cornyn to “bring the charges.” (The Guardian / ABC News / CNN / The Hill)
Democratic Sen Cory Booker says he will knowingly release confidential documents related to Brett Kavanaugh: “I am going to release the emails about racial profiling and I will understand that the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate” https://t.co/w6FoAXdN1x pic.twitter.com/BWp67vIM4d— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 6, 2018
Separately, Senator Mazie Hirono published a “committee confidential” email about policies for Native Hawaiians. The leak was aimed at Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, who guards the interests of Native Alaskans. In that email, Kavanaugh questioned whether Native Hawaiians should be protected like Indian tribes. (CNBC)
The records that Booker and Hirono published had already been cleared for public release, according to Democratic and Republican aides on the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Washington Post)
READ: The Kavanaugh emails released by Cory Booker. (DocumentCloud)
3/ Kavanaugh refused to answer a yes or no question about whether he had discussed Robert Mueller’s investigation with one of Trump’s attorneys. During a tense exchange, Sen. Kamala Harris asked Kavanaugh whether he had spoken with anyone at Kasowitz Benson & Torres, a law firm founded by Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz. Kavanaugh dodged the question, responding: “Is there a person you’re talking about?” Harris responded: “I think you are thinking of someone, and you don’t want to tell us.” A Democratic aide said that some in the party “have reason to believe that a conversation happened and are continuing to pursue it.” (Politico / CNN / The Hill)
Marc Kasowitz: “There have been no discussions regarding Robert Mueller’s investigation between Judge Kavanaugh and anyone at our firm.” Sen. Kamala Harris responded to Kasowitz’s statement, saying his denial wasn’t “under oath.” (CNBC)
Just asked Kamala Harris about Kasowitz denial that no one at firm talked to Kavanaugh about Mueller probe.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 6, 2018
“They’re not under oath,” she told me.
So she doesn’t believe them?
“The question was asked under oath” and he didn’t answer, she says as elevator doors close
4/ The White House is in a state of “total meltdown” with Trump “absolutely livid” and reacting to the anonymous op-ed with “volcanic” anger. The op-ed by “a senior official in the Trump administration” who claims to be part of a “resistance” protecting the U.S. from its president, has set off finger-pointing within the West Wing at the highest levels of the administration. Aides and outside allies say “the sleeper cells have awoken” and that “it’s like the horror movies when everyone realizes the call is coming from inside the house.” (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / Talking Points Memo)
- Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo both denied authoring the anonymous op-ed published yesterday in the New York Times. “The Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds,” Pence’s spokesperson said on Twitter. “It is sad that you have someone who would make that choice,” said Pompeo. “I come from a place where if you’re not in a position to execute the commander’s intent, you have a singular option, that is to leave.” Social media speculation that Pence wrote the op-ed comes from the use of word “lodestar” in the piece, a word that Pence has used multiple times over the course of more than a decade. (Washington Post / HuffPost)
The Trump administration rejected an intelligence report last year showing refugees are not a significant security threat to the U.S. Hardliners inside the White House then issued their own report earlier this year that misstated the evidence and inflated the threat posed by those who were born outside the country. (NBC News)
The Trump administration plans to ignore a court ruling in order to detain immigrant children with their parents indefinitely. The proposed changes by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services would end the Flores Settlement Agreement, a federal consent decree that banned indefinite detention 20 years ago. (NBC News / Washington Post)
A government photographer edited photos of Trump’s inauguration to make the crowd look bigger than it was after Trump intervened. The photographer cropped out the empty space “where the crowd ended” after Trump requested a new set of pictures on the first day of his presidency. The details were not included in the final report of the Interior Department inspector general’s office on its inquiry into the situation. (The Guardian)
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