👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
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1/ Trump threatened to arrest and deport “millions of illegal aliens” next week. The action is not for people who have been in the country long term, but focused on recent arrivals who skipped court dates. There are an estimated 12 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Of those, a senior administration official estimated that over “1 million” undocumented immigrants “have been issued final deportation orders by federal judges yet remain at large in the country.” A senior administration official said the department is still in the planning phase. (Washington Post / Politico / ABC News / CNN / NPR / Reuters)
📌 Day 868: 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)
📌 Day 872: Trump backed off his threat to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods, tweeting that the U.S. reached an agreement with Mexico to reduce the number of migrants at the southern border. According to a joint statement, Mexico agreed to “take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration,” including the deployment of thousands of national guard troops to its border with Guatemala to stop migrants from reaching the U.S. Mexico also agreed to an expansion of a Trump administration program to host more migrants seeking asylum while their court proceedings are in progress in the U.S. (New York Times / Washington Post)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused Trump administration of running “concentration camps” at the U.S.-Mexico border. Republicans, meanwhile, accused Ocasio-Cortez of demeaning Jews exterminated in the Holocaust. Experts on concentration camps, however, say that “things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz.” (Washington Post / Esquire / The Hill)
2/ Trump’s nominee for defense secretary “decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family.” An FBI background check revealed that Patrick Shanahan’s ex-wife had accused him of punching her in the stomach after she was arrested and charged for punching him in the face, and in a separate incident, his son hit his mother with a baseball bat. Shanahan’s nomination process had been delayed by an unusually lengthy FBI background check. Trump named Mark Esper, the secretary of the Army, to take over as acting secretary of defense. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / USA Today / Reuters)
3/ Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations was frequently missing from her post while the U.S. Ambassador to Canada. FAA records show that a private jet registered to Kelly Craft’s husband and used by the ambassador made 128 flights between the U.S. and Canada during a 15-month span of her tenure in Ottawa – the equivalent of a round trip once a week. (Politico)
4/ Attorney General William Barr’s top deputy intervened in Paul Manafort’s prison designation. The former Trump campaign manager was expected to be transferred to Rikers Island this month to await trial on a separate state case. Instead, Jeffrey Rosen informed prosecutors that Manafort will await trial at a federal lockup in Manhattan or at the Pennsylvania federal prison where he is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence. (New York Times / NBC News)
5/ The White House explored demoting Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in February, shortly after Trump talked about firing him. When asked if Trump still wants to demote Powell, he told reporters: “Let’s see what he does.” The comment comes a day before the Fed was set to announce its next decision on interest rates. (Bloomberg / CNBC)
6/ Trump accused Fox News anchor Bret Baier of pushing “fake news.” Baier cited Fox’s own polling results that showed Joe Biden leading the 2020 presidential field in several battleground states. (Daily Beast)
7/ The EPA will allow states to use a pesticide that is harmful to bees. The use of Sulfoxaflor was temporarily banned in 2015. (The Hill)
Not a lot cooking today, so we’re going to skip the Notables!
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