👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
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1/ Trump warned that his “tough” supporters – the police, military and “Bikers for Trump” – could turn violent against Democrats and things could get “very bad, very bad” if they feel either they or Trump have been wronged by the political process. Trump made the comments in an interview with Breitbart in which he argued that the left “plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress.” Trump tweeted out a link promoting the interview Thursday night, raising concerns by several Democrats and political commentators that the comments amounted to a threat of violence. (ABC News / CNN / Washington Post / The Hill / Toronto Star / New York Magazine)
2/ Trump later deleted the tweet to his Breitbart interview that he posted as news was breaking about two mosque shootings in New Zealand, which left 49 people dead. In a manifesto posted online before the shooting, the suspected gunman praised Trump as a “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” The White House did not explain why Trump deleted the tweet, but called the shooting a “vicious act of hate.” Trump called it a “horrible massacre,” but doesn’t think white nationalism is on the rise, saying “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.” (USA Today / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Reuters / Business Insider / Daily Beast)
- Remington can now be sued for marketing the semiautomatic rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The 4-3 decision, which reversed a lower court’s ruling, will permit a lawsuit on behalf of the parents and relatives of the victims to proceed against the gun manufacturer of the AR-15-style rifle used to kill 20 young children and six adults in 2012. (Axios / Vice News)
3/ Trump insisted that “there should be no Mueller report” a day after House unanimously voted to make the report public. Trump called Mueller’s probe “an illegal and conflicted investigation in search of a crime,” complaining that the probe was only started as an excuse for Democrats losing the 2016 election. (Politico / CNBC)
- Robert Mueller’s office said that Rick Gates “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations” and isn’t ready to be sentenced. Mueller and Gates’ attorney asks a federal judge for 60 more days before providing the next update on Gates’ status. In February 2018, Gates struck a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to two criminal counts including conspiracy and lying to FBI agents. (CNN / CNBC / Reuters)
4/ Lindsey Graham blocked a non-binding resolution calling for Mueller’s report to be made public after the House unanimously voted in support of the measure. Chuck Schumer asked for unanimous consent for the resolution in the Senate. Graham asked that the resolution include a provision calling on the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate the handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use and the Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications. Schumer declined to include the proposed amendment, saying he was “deeply disappointed” in Graham for “blocking this very simple, non-controversial resolution.” Under Senate rules, any senator can try to pass or set up a vote on a bill, resolution or nomination. But, in turn, any one senator can block their request. (USA Today / The Hill / Washington Post)
5/ Trump issued the first veto of his presidency, rejecting a congressional resolution overturning his national emergency declaration at the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump called the resolution “dangerous” and “reckless” a day after 12 Republicans joined Senate Democrats to rebuke his decision to declare a national emergency last month in order to redirect funds to build a wall on the southern border. Trump’s veto sends the resolution back to the House, which isn’t expected to have the two-thirds of the chamber’s support needed to override the veto. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Bloomberg / NBC News)
6/ The Trump administration is considering sending a volunteer force to the southern border. Trump has been “casting about” for novel ways to direct additional resources to the border to stop people from crossing illegally. One DHS official said the move “makes eminent sense for a hurricane,” but not for border security. “All of this is just to buttress the administration’s claim that there’s an emergency,” they added. (Politico)
poll/ 21% of taxpayers expect to pay less income tax this year under the GOP Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. 29%, however, said they would pay more, and 27% said there would be no impact, with 24% unsure what they’ll pay. (Reuters)
North Korea threatened to suspend denuclearization negotiations with the Trump administration and resume its nuclear and missile testing programs because Trump’s national security adviser and Secretary of State had created an “atmosphere of hostility and mistrust.” Kim Jong-un’s Vice Foreign Minister said Kim’s personal relationship with Trump was “still good and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful,” but members of Trump’s team had spoiled the two leaders’ negotiations in Hanoi, Vietnam last month. As a result, North Korea said it might end its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests. Choe Son-hui said the decision to end the moratorium is up to Kim, and that “he will make his decision in a short period of time.” (New York Times / NBC News)
Foreign countries are turning to lobbying firms to try and curry favor with Trump and influence U.S. policy. Some of the countries employing lobbying firms are U.S. allies, while others include countries with deeply stained human rights records such as Zimbabwe, Kosovo, Georgia, Turkey and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Foreign countries have turned to lobbying firms in the past, but the number of countries with ties to the Trump campaign has gone up sharply. The lobbyists with Trump ties have also been charging exorbitant fees in exchange for representing companies that need help overseas, such as Chinese telecom giant ZTE. (Politico)
The Trump administration is planning to expand rules that would disqualify more visa applicants living abroad, as well as those in the U.S. the administration believes are using too many public services. (ABC News)
Trump administration reduced the fines for nursing homes found to have endangered or injured residents. The average fine dropped from $41,260 to $28,405. (NPR)
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