👋 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 attacked the late John McCain on Twitter for his involvement in sharing the dossier allegedly linking Trump to the Russian government. After the 2016 election, McCain turned the Steele dossier over to the FBI, which Trump called “unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain.” Trump incorrectly claimed that McCain had “sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election.” He continued to complain about that longtime Republican lawmaker, who died last year, “had far worse ‘stains’” than the dossier, “including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!” Trump’s statements about McCain were actually quotes from Ken Starr, who recently appeared on Fox News. (CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times)
Meghan McCain accused Trump of leading a “pathetic life” by obsessing over her father, who died almost seven months ago. McCain continued: “Your life is spent on your weekends not with your family, not with your friends, but obsessing, obsessing over great men you could never live up to.” (Washington Post / Politico)
Christopher Steele admitted that he used internet searches and unverified information to support some details he had gathered about a web company mentioned in the dossier. (CNN)
2/ Trump accused “the fake news media” of attempting to blame him for the mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand, calling it “So Ridiculous!” In a manifesto, the alleged gunman called Trump “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” and referred to immigrants as “invaders within our lands.” Trump told reporters he doesn’t believe white nationalism is a rising threat around the world, suggesting “it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.” (Politico / Washington Post)
3/ Mick Mulvaney: Trump “is not a white supremacist.” The acting chief of staff went on to say it was “absurd” to draw a connection between Trump’s statements about immigration and the acts of a shooter who embraced both white nationalism and Trump. Last week Trump called undocumented immigrants coming to U.S. an “invasion” as he vetoed a congressional resolution that would block his declaration of a national emergency at the U.S. border with Mexico. (Washington Post / CNN)
- The House Judiciary Committee plans to host a hearing on the rise of white nationalism in the U.S. and the hate crime and hate speech surrounding the movement. (Daily Beast)
4/ Trump called for Fox News to bring back Jeanine Pirro after she was suspended for questioning a Muslim lawmaker’s loyalty to the United States during an on-air monologue. Pirro asked if Representative Ilhan Omar’s “adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Shariah law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?” Fox News said Pirro’s remarks “do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.” Trump claimed “The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country.” Trump also tweeted his support for Tucker Carlson, who has also recently faced criticism for a series of racist, xenophobic, sexist, and other comments. “Stay true,” Trump tweeted, “to the people that got you there. Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine.” (CNN / Politico / New York Times)
5/ Federal authorities raided the office of Elliot Broidy last summer in order to obtain documents related to the fundraiser’s dealings with foreign officials and Trump administration associates. Federal agents searched Broidy’s office for documents related to China, Saudi Arabia, and a Miami Beach club promoter related to conspiracy, money laundering, and crimes associated with illegal lobbying on behalf of foreign officials. The sealed warrant revealed government investigators took a similar approach to searching Michael Cohen’s office. Broidy served as a Trump campaign fundraiser and was the national deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee until he resigned in April 2018, after it was revealed he had secretly paid off a former Playboy model in exchange for her silence about their affair. (ProPublica / Daily Beast)
📌 Day 578: The Justice Department is investigating whether Elliott Broidy tried to sell his influence with the Trump administration. The longtime Republican fundraiser resigned from his RNC position in April after it was reported that he paid a former Playboy model $1.6 million in exchange for her silence about a sexual affair. Michael Cohen arranged the settlement. (Washington Post)
📌 GOP fundraiser Broidy under investigation for alleged effort to sell government influence, people familiar with probe say. (Washington Post)
📌 Ex-Fugees member Pras Michel denies wrongdoing in alleged effort to stop Malaysian corruption probe. (Washington Post)
6/ Trump claimed he encouraged House Republicans to vote in favor of a resolution calling on the Justice Department to make Robert Mueller’s final report public. Earlier in the day, however, Trump tweeted that the special counsel “should never have been appointed” and that “there should be no Mueller Report.” The House approved the resolution last week 420-0 to demand that Attorney General William Barr release Mueller’s entire report and make it available to Congress. The resolution was blocked by Republicans in the Senate. (Politico)
poll/ 52% of Americans have little or no trust in Trump’s denials that his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. 28%, meanwhile, say they have a lot of trust in Robert Mueller’s investigation to be fair and accurate. 50% agree that Trump is the victim of a “witch hunt” while 47% disagree. (USA Today)
The U.S. military now plans to keep nearly 1,000 forces in Syria. Three months ago, Trump ordered a complete withdrawal. (Wall Street Journal)
Kirsten Gillibrand formally launched her presidential bid, announcing she will deliver her speech next week in front of Trump International Hotel in New York City. (Reuters)
Trump pulled Rudy Giuliani from doing TV interviews after the lawyer claimed the Trump Tower Moscow talks may have lasted up until November 2016. The Sunday, January 20th appearance was Giuliani’s last – other than a March 8 comment, where he said Paul Manafort’s short jail sentence was fair. (Axios)
Ben Carson’s daily schedule from 2017 shows that the HUD secretary met with his staff once a week and left work before 2 p.m. on most Fridays to fly to his Florida mansion. (NBC News)
Trump tweeted that he wanted the General Motors Ohio plant to be “opened or sold to a company who will open it up fast!” In November, G.M. announced that it would idle five factories in North America and cut roughly 14,000 jobs to trim costs. Trump’s tweets were an attempt to pressure G.M. and the United Automobile Workers union to begin negotiations on an agreement that would put the plant back to work. Trump added that the president of U.A.W. “ought to get his act together and produce.” (New York Times)
Kellyanne Conway’s husband believes that Trump’s mental condition is deteriorating. Kellyanne disagrees. George Conway tweeted last week that “whether or not impeachment is in order, a serious inquiry needs to be made about this man’s condition of mind.” He continued through the weekend by tweeting screenshots from American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” highlighting pages that include diagnostic criteria for “narcissistic personality disorder” and “antisocial personality disorder.” Kellyanne told reporters that she does not share George’s concerns. (CNN / Washington Post)
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