👋 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 House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to testify publicly about potential obstruction of justice by Trump. The committee also issued a subpoena to former White House deputy chief of staff for policy Rick Dearborn. House Judiciary chair Jerrold Nadler said the two former Trump aides will testify publicly on Sept. 17th and expects their testimony “will help the Committee determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the President or other Article 1 remedies.” The Mueller report said Trump asked Lewandowski to convince then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself from the investigation into Russian election interference, and publicly say Trump had not done anything wrong. (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / Axios)
2/ Trump thinks Lewandowski would be a “fantastic” senator if he ran in New Hampshire. Lewandowski has been reportedly considering a Senate run and is expected to make an appearance at a Trump rally in the state on Thursday. The House Judiciary Committee subpoena came hours after Trump told a local radio station that Lewandowski would make a “great senator,” who would be “hard to beat” if he ran against Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico)
3/ White House officials want to invoke executive privilege to limit or block Lewandowski’s testimony despite Lewandowski never working in the administration. The White House previously invoked executive privilege to block Don McGahn, Hope Hicks, and Annie Donaldson – who all held titles in the West Wing – from complying with similar congressional subpoenas. Lewandowski, however, has only informally advised Trump since his work on the 2016 campaign ended. (CNN)
4/ A federal judge rejected the House Judiciary Committee’s attempt to link Robert Mueller’s grand jury evidence with compelling Don McGahn to testify. The committee contends that the two lawsuits will expedite its decision whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump. House General Counsel Douglas Letter argued that the two cases should be paired in front of the judge, because both seek evidence for a potential impeachment and are based on the same set of facts. D.C. federal District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell ruled that connections between the two suits are “too superficial.” (Politico)
5/ Trump retweeted a criminologist who argued that there is no evidence that the United States is experiencing an “epidemic” of mass shootings. At least four people have been killed in a mass shooting, on average, every 47 days since June 17, 2015. (Washington Post)
6/ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting Israel after Trump lobbied Israeli leaders to block them from entering the country. Trump tweeted that allowing Omar and Tlaib to enter Israel “would show great weakness,” because they’re “a disgrace.” Omar and Tlaib have been critical of Israel and outspoken about their support for Palestinians and the boycott-Israel movement. Under Israeli law, supporters of the movement can be denied entry. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Haaretz / Politico / BBC)
The Trump administration wants to redirect money from Homeland Security accounts to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Last year, the Trump administration redirected $200 million from various Homeland Security accounts – including the Coast Guard and TSA –into ICE. Nearly $10 million was also diverted from FEMA at the start of hurricane season. Congressional appropriators are reviewing the request. (Politico)
A correctional officer drove a truck into ICE protesters outside a private prison. Some were treated at a hospital, though none were severely injured. The officer was wearing a badge and a uniform and police officers at the protest did not intervene. The driver eventually walked into the prison after guards pepper-sprayed the protesters. (Washington Post)
Trump administration asked Congress to reauthorize a law that lets the National Security Agency gain access to the logs of Americans’ phone and text records. While the program is set to expire in December, the Trump administration is pushing to make gaining access to the logs of Americans’ domestic communications permanently within the legal authority of the NSA. The program was indefinitely shut down after technical issues repeatedly caused the NSA to collect more records than it had legal authority to gather. (New York Times)
In 2017, Fox Business host David Asman advised then-Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh about how the administration should pursue tax cuts. Four days later, Asman emailed Sayegh to tell him that a significant portion of a Fox Business show would focus on the administration’s tax policies. “You’ll like it,” Asman said. “Awesome David,” Sayegh wrote back. “You’re the man.” Sayegh is a former Fox News contributor. (Hollywood Reporter)
Trump floated the idea of buying Greenland to aides in meetings, at dinners, and in passing conversations. Trump has reportedly asked advisers whether the U.S. could acquire Greenland, which is a self-ruling part of the Kingdom of Denmark. (Wall Street Journal)
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