👋 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/ Mick Mulvaney criticized Republicans for not informing him that Trump Jr. would be subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. The acting White House chief of staff called it “bad form” to “not at least get a heads-up” from the Republican-led committee. Senator Richard Blumenthal said that “If [Trump Jr.] fails to comply with a lawful subpoena, he has no privilege, prison is the only answer.” Trump Jr. is expected to assert his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination in order to resist testifying about his contacts with Russia. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / The Hill / Reuters)
- 📌 Day 839: The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Trump Jr. to answer questions about his previous testimony related to the Russia investigation. Trump Jr. testified before the committee in September 2017 that he was only “peripherally aware” of the proposed plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Michael Cohen, however, told a House committee earlier this year that he had met with both Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump “approximately 10” times to brief them about the Trump Tower plan. The Republican-led committee wants Trump Jr. to answer questions about his claim to have limited knowledge of the plan. (Axios / CNBC / New York Times)
2/ House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff issued a subpoena to the Justice Department for “counterintelligence and foreign intelligence” from Robert Mueller’s investigation. Schiff said his committee had “no choice” but to serve the subpoena after the Justice Department “repeatedly failed to respond, refused to schedule any testimony, and provided no documents responsive to our legitimate and duly authorized oversight activities.” Schiff gave Attorney General William Barr a deadline of May 15 to hand over the evidence. (Politico / CNN)
3/ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed with Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler that the U.S. is in a “constitutional crisis” over the Trump administration’s refusal to comply with congressional oversight, telling reporters: “The administration has decided they are not going to honor their oath of office.” The House Judiciary Committee voted yesterday to recommend the House hold Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over an unredacted version of Mueller’s report. Pelosi said she would bring the contempt citation to the floor for a vote of the full House “when we are ready.” (New York Times / Axios)
- Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster accused his former White House colleagues of being “a danger to the Constitution” because they’re either trying to push their own agenda or see themselves as rescuing the country from Trump. (Politico)
poll/ 45% of Americans support impeaching Trump – up 5 percentage points since mid-April. 42% said Trump should not be impeached and the rest said they had no opinion. (Reuters)
The White House implemented new rules that could reduce the number of journalists that hold “hard” passes, which allow them to enter the White House grounds without seeking daily permission. Journalists will be required to enter the White House grounds at least 50% of the time in the 180 days before renewal. If they fall short of this, they must apply each time they want access. (Washington Post)
The U.S. seized a North Korean ship used to sell coal in violation of American law and international sanctions hours after North Korea launched a pair of short-range missiles. (New York Times / Washington Post)
Trump picked acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to take over as secretary of defense following the resignation of Jim Mattis. The nomination of the former longtime executive at Boeing had been held up by an inspector general’s probe into whether he acted improperly in favor of Boeing, a major Pentagon contractor. He was recently cleared of wrongdoing, but still needs Senate confirmation. (CNBC / Politico / Bloomberg / NBC News / Washington Post)
Trump joked about shooting migrants at the border during a rally in Florida. Trump was complaining that “border security people” are prohibited from shooting migrants approaching the border when he asked, “How do you stop these people?” One of his supporters shouted: “Shoot them!” Trump paused, laughed, and responded that “Only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement. Only in the panhandle.” (USA Today / Washington Post / CNN)
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