👋 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/ The White House asked Don McGahn to declare that Trump never obstructed justice. Two requests by presidential advisers show how far the White House has gone to try to push back on accusations that the president obstructed justice. McGahn initially entertained the request. “We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister,” McGahn’s attorney said in a statement. “It was a request, professionally and cordially made.” (New York Times)
2/ Leaked letters reveal the details of NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre’s alleged spending. National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre billed the group’s ad agency $39,000 for one day of shopping at a Beverly Hills clothing boutique, $18,300 for a car and driver in Europe, and had the agency cover $13,800 in rent for a summer intern, according to newly revealed NRA internal documents. (Wall Street Journal)
3/ The White House decried the investigations by House Democrats and complained that they are not following “rules and norms.” The White House on Sunday decried Democratic-led congressional investigations, saying Democrats are refusing to abide by “rules and norms” that govern oversight authority as they issue subpoenas for documents the Trump administration refuses to hand over. (CNN)
- Suddenly, conservative lawyers are condemning Trump for abuses of power. Prominent Republican lawyers are pushing back against Trump’s defiance of subpoenas and expansive claims of executive privilege and immunity from prosecution. (Los Angeles Times)
4/ China is raising tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods starting on June 1. The move to impose steeper tariffs on U.S. goods comes in response to Trump’s decision to hike tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. Trump’s trade approach is also under attack back in the U.S. as China readies retaliation and the markets prepare for a big sell-off. (CNBC / Washington Post)
- Trump disputes impact of tariffs on American consumers, but warns China not to retaliate. The president accused Beijing of backing out of a “great deal” last week. (Politico)
5/ Trump aide Larry Kudlow acknowledged that U.S. consumers will be the ones who pay for Trump’s tariffs, not China. “Both sides will suffer on this,” Kudlow said. Trump’s decision to renew his trade war with China could inflict lasting damage on the American economy, but the ultimate impact depends on how far the president takes the fight. (NBC News / New York Times)
6/ Nadler is under pressure from calls for “inherent contempt.” The House Judiciary Committee chairman faces pressure to get tougher with the Trump administration and start threatening fines or jail time as punishment for noncompliance. (Politico)
Schiff: Campaigns shouldn’t be allowed to get foreign help. The California Democrat responds to Rudy Giuliani’s proposed (and then scrapped) Ukraine trip. (Politico)
Schiff: Trump’s additional obstruction of Congress “does add weight to impeachment”. “He certainly seems to be trying, and maybe this is his perverse way of dividing us more.” (Axios)
Schiff: Robert Mueller “is going to testify.” On “This Week,” Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Rand Paul weighed in on the Democratic-led congressional investigations into the president. (ABC News)
7/ The Pentagon will pull money from its ballistic missile and surveillance plane programs in order to fund Trump’s border wall. The Defense Department, under Trump, intends to reprogram $2.5 billion that was originally designated by Congress for other projects. (Washington Post)
- Is there a connection between undocumented immigrants and crime?. It’s a widely held perception, but a new analysis finds no evidence to support it. (New York Times)
8/ Omarosa wants to join a lawsuit alleging that women were underpaid by the Trump campaign. A former campaign staffer who accused Trump of sexual misconduct and pay discrimination filed a motion Monday asking for a judge to allow others, including Omarosa, to join her initial lawsuit filed in February. (Washington Post)
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