👋 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/ Mexico proposed sending about 6,000 National Guard troops to the country’s border with Guatemala to help stem migration as part of a deal to avoid Trump’s tariffs. Mexico and Guatemala also agreed to consider significant changes in asylum laws in the region, allowing the U.S. to reject requests for protection from many people fleeing persecution. The arrangement being discussed would require migrants to seek asylum in the first safe country they enter. Trump threatened to charge a 5% tariff on all Mexican goods starting Monday unless the country reduces the flow of migrants streaming to the U.S. border. The U.S., however, is considering delaying the tariffs as talks continue and Mexican negotiators have made clear that they will pull their offers if Trump imposes the tariffs. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / Politico)
- Earlier in the day, Trump declared that “not nearly enough” progress has been made in the negotiations with Mexico. Trump warned that “if no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule.” Trump indicated that he won’t be satisfied with anything less than direct evidence that Mexico has completely stopped the flow of migration through its country. (New York Times / Politico)
2/ Trump threatened to impose tariffs on “at least” another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, but said he thinks China and Mexico both want to make deals. “Our talks with China, a lot of interesting things are happening,” Trump told reporters. “We’ll see what happens… I could go up another at least $300 billion and I’ll do that at the right time.” No face-to-face meetings between Trump and Chinese officials have been held since May 10, when Trump announced a 25% increase in tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. (Reuters)
3/ The military will spend a month painting a mile-long section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall to improve its “aesthetic appearance.” An unspecific number of service members were instructed to paint barriers in the California border town of Calexico for a total of 30 days. Sen. Dick Durbin called the task a “disgraceful misuse” of taxpayer money. (CBS News)
4/ Nancy Pelosi told senior Democrats she’d like to see Trump “in prison” while discussing with Rep. Jerry Nadler whether to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump. Nadler pressed Pelosi to start the proceedings, but Pelosi refused and said: “I don’t want to see him impeached. I want to see him in prison.” Pelosi said she prefers voters to remove Trump via the ballot box and then have him prosecuted for his crimes. Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, said Trump “would be carried out in handcuffs” if he were anybody else. (Politico / Washington Post / NBC News)
5/ Jerry Nadler told Democratic leaders that he will issue a subpoena within the next two weeks for Robert Mueller to testify before the House Judiciary Committee if they’re unable to reach an agreement to secure his voluntary public testimony. Mueller is currently only willing to answer questions in private, which is a nonstarter for most House Democrats. (Politico)
- Trump said Mueller made “such a fool” out of himself when he delivered his public statement about the Russia investigation last week. (Fox News)
6/ House Democrats plan to grant committees the authority to enforce subpoenas for documents and witness testimony that the Trump administration has tried to block. Committee chairs will be able to sue the Trump administration and hold officials in contempt of Congress. Democrats said the reason for the change is to prevent contempt citations from dominating the House’s floor time. (CNN / Politico)
7/ Michael Flynn fired his legal team. The former Trump national security adviser awaits sentencing for lying to the FBI about his conversations with a top Russian official. (Politico)
8/ Trump’s empty cabinet positions have been vacant more than four times as many days as any other president since Ronald Reagan at this point in their presidencies. (Axios)
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