👋 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 once told Michael Cohen that he thinks black people are “too stupid” to vote for him and suggested that all countries run by blacks are “shitholes.” Cohen also claimed that Trump remarked that “only the blacks could live like this” as they drove through a “rougher” Chicago neighborhood in the early 2000s. (Vanity Fair)
2/ The Trump administration will reimpose all U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear agreement. The sanctions will take effect on Monday, but eight “jurisdictions” will be granted six-month waivers, Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, said. Shortly after the announcement, Trump tweeted a poster of himself with the words “Sanctions Are Coming” with the font from the popular HBO show, Game of Thrones. (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN / Axios)
- HBO: We “would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes.” HBO’s official Twitter account followed up soon after, asking, “How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?” (CNBC / Los Angeles Times)
3/ The FBI recovered a suspicious package addressed to billionaire Tom Steyer resembling those allegedly sent by Cesar Sayoc. Steyer is a Democrat known for his ads calling for the impeachment of Trump. (CNN / Reuters)
4/ The Nigerian Army used Trump’s speech to justify fatally shooting rock-throwing protesters. The Nigerian army posted a video of Trump’s anti-migrant speech from Thursday in which he said rocks would be considered firearms if thrown toward the American military at the border. The army has been accused of killing 45 protesters. (New York Times / BuzzFeed News)
5/ Trump walked back his threat that troops could shoot at migrants approaching the border if they threw rocks. “I didn’t say shoot,” Trump claimed. “I didn’t say shoot,” Trump claimed. “But if they do [throw rocks at troops] they’re gonna be arrested for a long time.” (CNN / USA Today / Bloomberg)
6/ Trump blamed journalists for “creating violence” in the country. His comment comes a week after more than a dozen attempted pipe bombs were sent to Trump’s critics and a gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11. Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to clarify Trump’s remarks: “No, the president is not placing blame” that the news media was at fault for the attempted pipe bomb attacks. “I mean, that is outrageous than anybody other than the individual who carried out the crime would hold that responsibility.” (NBC News / Washington Examiner)
poll/ 49% say the way Trump speaks encourages political violence, while 19% see him as discouraging it. 29% say he’s neither encouraging nor discouraging violence. (ABC News)
A federal judge denied Trump’s request to stay a lawsuit alleging he is in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause and ordered evidence-gathering to begin. Maryland and Washington attorneys general want to know how much money Trump’s hotel in Washington receives from foreign governments and how profits flow to his trust. (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg)
Top Democrats are promising investigations, not impeachment proceedings, if they win back control of the House next week. Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants say they’re more interested in exercising the broad oversight powers of the majority party instead of focusing on trying to impeach Trump. They plan to use subpoenas and public hearings to drag senior administration officials and force them to testify about alleged wrongdoings in front of the public eye. (NPR)
U.S. intelligence agencies and the Pentagon are prepared to launch a cyber attack against Russia if the country is caught interfering in the 2018 midterm elections. The effort is one of the first major cyber battle plans organized under the new government policy that allows offensive cyber operations to be worked out in advance among key agencies. (Center for Public Integrity)
The U.S. economy added 250,000 jobs in October. Wages grew by 3.1% since last year – the largest annual jump in nine and a half years not adjusted for inflation. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7% – the lowest it has been since December 1969. Average hourly earnings went up by 5 cents an hour over the last month, with an 83-cent increase year-over-year. (CNN Business / CNBC / Reuters)
Former CIA Director John Brennan endorsed Texas senate candidate Beto O’Rourke over Ted Cruz. “I believe Beto O’Rourke is the type of individual Texans need in the U.S. Senate to represent their best interests,” Brennan tweeted. The statement marks the first time Brennan has endorsed a candidate in a midterm election. (NBC News)
Trump’s racist ad campaign that accuses Democrats of opening U.S. borders to let in undocumented immigrants who kill police officers narrowly avoids violating campaign finance laws. The ad fails to mention who paid for it, but campaign finance experts say Trump may have found a loophole in the laws by limiting the distribution of the video to social media. (ABC News)
The cop killer from Trump’s immigration ad entered the country while George W. Bush was president and released by Joe Arpaio “for reasons unknown.” The racist video falsely accusing Democrats of allowing Luis Bracamontes who murdered two police officers into the country. Arpaio was pardoned last year by Trump. (Sacramento Bee / HuffPost / Washington Post)
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