👋 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/ Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to financial crimes, violating foreign lobbying laws, and attempting to obstruct justice. He agreed to fully cooperate with Robert Mueller, though the details surrounding what kind of information Manafort agreed to provide the special counsel remain unclear. Manafort also agreed to forfeit multiple properties and bank accounts, participate in interviews, provide documents, and testify to the grand jury. Analysts noted the plea deal is “pardon proof” and that the $47 million forfeiture pays for the entire Mueller investigation. (ABC News / NBC News / Washington Post / emptywheel)
2/ Jared Kushner defended the eviction of the Palestine Liberation Organization from its Washington offices by insisting that punishing Palestinians would not affect the chances of a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. “There were too many false realities that were created — that people worship — that I think needed to be changed,” Kushner said during an interview. “All we’re doing is dealing with things as we see them and not being scared out of doing the right thing.” (New York Times)
3/ Details emerged about the secret letter concerning Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged high-school sexual misconduct, and Republicans released a letter defending his character. The defense letter—sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee—was signed by 65 women who knew Kavanaugh in high school; it argues he always “treated women with respect.” Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. (New York Times / Associated Press)
4/ Retired Adm. Bill McRaven resigned from the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board, days after criticizing Trump for revoking John Brennan’s security clearance. McRaven led the Osama bin Laden raid in 2011. In a Washington Post op-ed last month, he wrote he would “consider it an honor” if Trump would revoke his security clearance, too, so he could add his name “to the list of men and women who have spoken up” against the Trump presidency. (ABC News)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo defeated Cynthia Nixon and clinched the Democratic gubernatorial nomination by a 30-point margin. Cuomo spent nearly $25 million to defeat Nixon in the primary. (New York Times)
New York voters voted against six of the eight incumbent Democratic state senators. The incumbents outspent their challengers several times over during the race. (New York Times)
Bob Woodward says he’ll release audio tapes of his White House interviews if asked by his sources. Woodward says he has “boxes of recordings and documents” demonstrating the thoroughness of his sourcing. (The Hill)
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