👋 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 Supreme Court blocked the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census. The court found that while the Department of Commerce had a right to reinstate the question, the administration provided a “contrived” justification for doing so. The Trump administration claimed the citizenship question was necessary to better comply with federal voting rights law, while critics argued it is an attempt to intimidate immigrant households. The Department of Commerce will now have to justify the addition of the question, which raises the question of whether the Trump administration will have enough time or the ability to add it before the forms have to be printed. The administration previously told the court that the questionnaire needed to be printed by the end of June. The Census Bureau found the question would reduce the response rate –especially in immigrant communities – and result in an estimated 6.5 million people not being counted. (CNN / NBC News / New York Times / NPR / Washington Post)
2/ The Supreme Court ruled that federal courts cannot block partisan gerrymandering in a 5-4 decision that fell along partisan lines. Chief Justice John Roberts rejected two constitutional challenges to partisan district mapmaking – one brought by Democrats in North Carolina and another by Republicans in Maryland – writing that “partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.” Districts are drawn nationwide every 10 years, and the next redistricting is scheduled to take place following the 2020 census, which also triggers reapportionment of U.S. House seats among states. Because of the 2010 midterm elections, the Republican party controls most statehouses across the country and, by extension, jurisdiction over the redistricting process. Dissenting Justice Elena Kagan called the decision “tragically wrong.” (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Politico / NPR / CNN / Bloomberg / USA Today / CNBC / Associated Press / The Guardian / Wall Street Journal)
3/ Trump marked his arrival in Japan for the G20 Summit by lashing out at U.S. allies. He complained that if the U.S. were attacked, Japan would simply “watch it on a Sony television” instead of coming to America’s defense. He called Germany a security freeloader, and complained about India’s new tariffs on U.S. goods. Trump is scheduled to meet with the leaders of all three countries on Friday. Trump did not, however, have anything negative to say about the fourth world leader on his meeting schedule for Friday: Putin. (New York Times)
- Trump demanded that India withdraw its latest tariff hike on 28 U.S. products. India imposed tariffs in response to Trump’s decision to remove key trade privileges for New Delhi. Trump called the tariffs “unacceptable,” and tweeted that he’s looking forward to “to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the tariffs even further.” Trump is expected to meet with Modi at this week’s G20 Summit in Japan. (CNBC)
4/ Trump told reporters that what he says to Putin in private is “none of your business,” when asked what the two world leaders will discuss behind closed doors at the G20 Summit. Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin after House Democrats hear from the White House records chief about allegations that Trump tried to hide documents detailing his previous private conversations with Putin. (Politico / CBS News)
5/ Two women corroborated E. Jean Carroll’s allegation that Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. Carroll privately confided in Carol Martin and Lisa Birnbach after the alleged attack. Both came forward to talk about the advice they gave Carroll at the time. Neither of the women had been publicly identified until now, and it was the first time since the alleged assault that they had discussed the incident together. Trump denied Carroll’s allegation and said she is “totally lying” and that he wouldn’t have assaulted her because “she’s not my type.” (New York Times)
6/ The Trump International Hotel in Washington charged the Secret Service more than $200,000 in taxpayer money. The agency paid $33,638 for unspecified charges over two days in June, which coincided with Trump’s first re-election campaign fundraiser. The Secret Service was also billed for $14,900 for two days in June 2017 and another for $11,475 for two days the next month. (NBC News)
Last night was the first of two back-to-back Democratic presidential primary debates, featuring 10 candidates and 5 moderators. The debate centered around a handful of major topics, including healthcare, guns, immigration, climate change, Iran, and others. Trump was absent from most of the discussion, with candidates opting instead to talk more about their respective policies and positions than Trump’s presidency. The second debate begins tonight at 9 p.m. ET and will feature another 10 candidates. Instead of giving you a breakdown of last night’s entire two-hour ordeal, here’s how some of the major outlets are covering it:
Fact-checking the first night of the first Democratic presidential debate. (CNN)
Fact-checking the claims that hold up and the ones that don’t. (NBC News)
5 takeaways from the first Democratic debate. (NPR)
7 takeaways from the first Democratic debate. (Politico)
Recap: Democrats Diverge on economy and immigration in first debate. (New York Times)
Recap: Democrats clash on healthcare, border in scrappy first U.S. presidential debate. (Reuters)
Analysis: Who won the first debate? Experts on the Left and Right weigh in. (New York Times)
Analysis: Debate shows how leftward it has moved. (Los Angeles Times)
Transcript: The first Democratic debate night transcript, annotated. (Washington Post)
FTW: Jay Inslee called Trump the greatest threat facing the U.S. (Axios)
Hot take: Trump’s reaction to the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate: “BORING!” (NBC News)
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