👋 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 Trump administration is scheduled to begin coordinated raids to arrest at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered deported. The raids – scheduled to begin on Sunday after initially being postponed in part to resistance at Immigration and Customs Enforcement – will be conducted by ICE agents over multiple days. The raids are expected to include “collateral” deportations, where ICE agents might detain any immigrants present when the raid occurs. Agents have expressed unease about arresting babies and young children, noting that the raids could have limited success since word has already spread among immigrant communities about how to avoid arrest. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Associated Press)
📌Day 886: Trump delayed planned nationwide ICE raids for two weeks to see if Congress can “work out a solution.” Immigration agents had planned to sweep and deport people living the U.S. illegally in 10 major cities beginning Sunday. Hours after defending the plan, Trump delayed the raids on Saturday. Earlier in the week, Trump threatened to arrest and deport “millions of illegal aliens” next week. ICE leaders expressed concerns that officers’ safety would be in jeopardy because too many details about the raids had been made public. (Associated Press / New York Times / CNN / Politico / ABC News)
📌 Day 894: Trump threatened to increase ICE raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants after the Fourth of July holiday, saying “they’re going to be gone, they’re going back to their countries. They go back home.” Trump praised the Mexican government for taking steps to curb the flow of migrants reaching the U.S. border, claiming, “It was because of tariffs that they’re doing it, but the point is they’re doing a great job.” Trump then reiterated his threat to deport all undocumented immigrants, “because that’s what we do.” Trump delayed planned nationwide ICE raids last month for two weeks to see if Congress can “work out a solution.” (NBC News)
The House Oversight and Reform Committee requested business information from the companies managing detention centers at the southern border. The committee asked for an accounting of the hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts the Trump administration gave out. (NBC News)
2/ Trump will abandon his effort to add a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Instead, Trump will take executive action instructing the Commerce Department to obtain citizenship data “through other means,” including existing federal records. The administration is already printing census forms without the citizenship question after the Supreme Court ruled last month that the justification by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for adding the question was inadequate and “contrived.” Trump acknowledged last week that the proposed citizenship question was part of a longterm Republican plan to use congressional redistricting to tilt power in their favor. “Number one, you need it for Congress – you need it for Congress for districting,” Trump said. “You need it for appropriations – where are the funds going?” (ABC News / Politico / NBC News / New York Times / The Guardian / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NPR / CNN / Associated Press)
- 📌Day 889: 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)
3/ Trump hosted a “social media summit” at the White House for his political allies, including a conspiracy theorist, a meme creator, and a plagiarist. Some Republican lawmakers and GOP campaign strategists were also invited. Facebook, Google, and Twitter, however, were reportedly excluded from the summit, which focused on allegations of social media bias against conservatives. Trump accused the tech companies of exhibiting “terrible bias” and silencing his supporters. Ironically, Twitter experienced an outage during the summit. Prior to the outage, attendees had been tweeting selfies. (NPR / Washington Post / CNN / Politico)
4/ The House Judiciary Committee authorized 12 subpoenas targeting Trump administration officials, including Trump family members and Jared Kushner. The committee also approved a separate group of subpoenas seeking information about the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from their families at the border. Democratic leaders in the House also scheduled a full vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for their refusal to turn over documents related to the citizenship question. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / USA Today)
- 📌 Day 901: The subpoena targets include Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Michael Flynn, John Kelly and Corey Lewandowski, as well as Dylan Howard and David Pecker, two executives at American Media, Inc., and Keith Davidson, an attorney who previously represented Stormy Daniels. Republicans called the subpoenas as an effort to “relitigate” the Mueller investigation. (Politico)
5/ A senior military officer accused Trump’s nominee for the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of sexual misconduct. The officer says Gen. John Hyten subjected her to a series of unwanted sexual advances, including kissing, hugging, and rubbing up against her while she was one of his aides in 2017. She also said Hyten tried to derail her military career after she rejected his advances. (Associated Press)
6/ The Trump Organization cancelled a planned event with a Miami-area strip club at Trump’s Doral golf resort, because the charity associated with the event dropped out after seeing the press coverage that golfers could pay for a dancer to serve as their “caddy girl” while they played golf. “Now that the charity has removed its affiliation,” a Trump Organization spokesperson said, “the event will no longer be taking place at our property and all amounts paid will be refunded.” (Washington Post)
- 📌Day 902: Trump’s golf club will host a tournament put on by a Miami-area strip club, allowing golfers to pay for a dancer to serve as their “caddy girl” while they play golf. The Trump Organization confirmed the event and said it was for a “worthwhile cause” — a Miami children’s charity. Trump still owns Doral and the Trump name and family crest were featured prominently in the strip club’s advertising. Participation in the event ranges from $450 for a single player to $1,800 for a group of four with VIP upgrades available. (Washington Post / CNN)
7/ The Trump administration withdrew a proposal to lower prescription drug prices, which would have ended the practice of drugmakers giving rebates to insurance middlemen in government programs, like Medicare. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who backed the plan, clashed with senior White House advisers, who had sought to delay or water down the proposal. Separately, a federal judge threw out a rule earlier this week that would have required pharmaceutical companies to list the price of their drugs in TV advertisements. (Axios / CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
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