👋 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/ Republicans temporarily blocked a resolution denouncing Trump’s racists tweets that four congresswomen of color should “go back” where “they came” from as “racist comments.” In a floor speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Democrats and Republicans to “join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets” and that the “comments from the White House” are “disgraceful” and “disgusting” and that “these comments are racist.” Republican Rep. Doug Collins interjected and asked Pelosi to “rephrase” her statement, which was then ruled as out of order under House rules that lawmakers may not make disparaging remarks about the president on the floor of the House. Following a two-hour long delay, the House voted along party lines to allow Pelosi to refer to Trump’s tweets as racist, overriding House rules and GOP objections. That final vote on the resolution condemning Trump’s rhetoric as “racist comments that have legitimized increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color” passed largely along party lines, 240-187. (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
2/ Trump – again – denied that his racist tweets were racist, urging House Republicans to “not show ‘weakness’” and reject the condemnation resolution. Trump called the resolution a “con game” and claimed that his tweets “were NOT Racist,” because “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Trump then accused the four Democratic congresswomen – Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar – of “spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate.” (New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / Politico)
3/ Kellyanne Conway responded a White House reporter’s question about Trump’s racist tweets with “What’s your ethnicity?” Andrew Feinberg had asked Conway which countries Trump was referring to when he suggested that Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar should “go back” to where they came from. All four congresswomen are U.S. citizens. (Daily Beast / NBC News)
- Kellyanne Conway’s husband wrote an opinion piece saying “Trump is a racist president.” (Washington Post)
4/ The Justice Department will not bring federal civil rights charges against the New York Police Department officer accused of fatally choking Eric Garner. Attorney General William Barr made the decision not to bring charges due to concerns that prosecutors could not successfully prove the officer acted willfully following a dispute between a Justice Department team from New York and the Civil Rights Division in Washington. Daniel Pantaleo will never face criminal prosecution for Garner’s death, despite bystanders filming the arrest as Garner gasped: “I can’t breathe.” (New York Times / CNN / Politico)
5/ The Trump administration will begin enforcing a new regulation that taxpayer-funded family planning clinics must stop referring women for abortions – effective immediately. Health and Human Services formally notified the clinics that it will begin enforcing the new rule on Monday, in addition to a requirement that clinics maintain separate finances from facilities that provide abortions. A separate requirement that both kinds of facilities cannot be under the same roof is scheduled to take effect next year. (CBS News / Associated Press)
A federal judge banned Roger Stone from social media after ruling that he violated a previous gag order that banned him from discussing his case in the media or public. “What am I supposed to do with you?” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson asked rhetorically. In February, Stone posted a photo of Jackson with crosshairs from a gun. (NBC News / CNBC / CNN / Washington Post)
Trump’s former campaign communications chief hired numerous prostitutes and visited “hand job” massage parlors as recently as a few months ago. Jason Miller made the admission while testifying on in Washington D.C. in connection to his lawsuit against Gizmodo, accusing the media company of defaming him with a story citing an allegation he slipped an “abortion pill” to a stripper he impregnated. (Mediate)
The House Oversight Committee is expanding an investigation into the use of personal email by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Chairman Elijah Cummings said the move came after “disturbing new revelations” released by the Education Department’s inspector general in May about DeVos’ use of personal email while on the job. (Politico)
Trump named healthcare economist Tomas Philipson as the acting chair of his Council of Economic Advisers. Philipson was already a member of the council, and teaches the economics of healthcare at the University of Chicago. He also served as a top economist at the FDA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Philipson replaced White House economist Kevin Hassett, who announced his departure on Twitter last month. (NPR)
The revenue from Trump’s tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods is not enough to cover the cost of the bailout for farmers, nor will it be enough to compensate all of the other industries hurt by the ongoing trade war. The tariffs will have brought in $20.8 billion as of Wednesday, but Trump has already committed to paying $28 billion to the farmers hurt by the trade war. The government hasn’t provided similar bailouts to other businesses or industries that have lost contracts and revenue as a result of Chinese retaliation. (New York Times)
The Department of Agriculture will relocate 547 employees from the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to an office building in Kansas City. Employees called the move an effort to “eviscerate” the agency and “silence” researchers doing work that runs counter to the administration’s goals. The Trump administration claimed the move would save taxpayers money by bringing researchers closer to the farmers they serve. (NBC News)
The Interior Department will relocate 81% of its headquarters staff to west of the Rockies by 2020. Trump hasn’t nominated a permanent director for Bureau of Land Management after more than two-and-a-half years in office. (Washington Post)
Rep. Al Green plans to file articles of impeachment against Trump tonight, forcing a floor vote before the House departs for its August recess. Democrats have viewed Robert Mueller’s appearance on Capitol Hill as a potential inflection point to begin impeachment proceedings. Green’s move, however, will force House Democrats to take a position sooner than expected. Green has forced two votes on impeachment in the past, one in 2017 and one in 2018, while Republicans controlled the House. (Washington Post / Politico)
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