👋 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 economy added 501,000 fewer jobs since 2018 than previously reported, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics revision. Trump’s tax cuts resulted in fewer restaurants, hotels, retailers and professional business services jobs than it initially reported. Trump, meanwhile, recently exaggerated that “We’ve created over 6 million new jobs since the election.” Since Trump took office, however, the country has added about 5.7 million jobs. (MarketWatch / New York Times / Washington Post)
- The U.S. manufacturing contracted for the first time since September 2009. The purchasing managers’ index was 49.9 in August. Any reading below 50 signals a contraction. (CNBC)
2/ Trump dropped his plan to eliminate more than $4 billion in foreign aid funding without congressional approval. The Trump administration wanted to decrease what it called wasteful spending by making foreign aid conditional on support of U.S. policies. Trump’s decision to forgo a “rescission” comes after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and several Republican lawmakers warned that the move would be detrimental to national security. Acting budget director, Russ Vought, and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, however, both pushed Trump to pursue the plan. (Politico / CNN)
📌 Day 575: The White House budget office is attempting to cancel about $3 billion in foreign aid using an obscure budget rule to freeze the State Department’s international assistance budget. (Politico)
📌 Day 937: The Trump administration will shield funding for Ivanka Trump and Pence’s programs as the White House looks to cancel billions of dollars in unspent funding already approved by Congress. The White House is expected to propose returning billions of dollars of unspent foreign aid funds to the Treasury in a process known as rescission. The Office of Management and Budget, however, has already ruled out canceling funds for Ivanka’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, Pence’s programs for Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in the Middle East, and some global health programs. Republicans and Democrats say the review undermines Congress’s authority to appropriate funds. (Washington Post)
3/ Trump said he’s considering ending birthright citizenship in the U.S. for children of non-citizens and people who came to the U.S. illegally. Trump called it “frankly ridiculous” that someone can “have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby — congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen.” The Constitution’s 14th Amendment, however, guarantees citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which has been interpreted by the courts to grant citizenship to people born in the United States, regardless of the citizenship of their parents. (Reuters)
4/ The Justice Department sent all immigration court employees an article posted from a white nationalist website that “directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs.” The Justice Department recently moved to decertify the immigration judges union. (BuzzFeed News)
- 📌 Day 936: The Justice Department moved to decertify the union representing hundreds of U.S. immigration judges. The DOJ filed a petition asking the Federal Labor Relations Authority to review the certification of the National Association of Immigration Judges and determine whether it should be revoked “because the bargaining unit members are management officials under the statutory definition.” The NAIJ represents some 440 immigration judges across the country. (NPR)
5/ Rudy Giuliani confirmed that the State Department helped him press the Ukrainian government to probe Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee. Giuliani has wanted Ukrainian officials to look into Biden’s effort to crack down on corruption in Ukraine and his son Hunter Biden’s involvement in a natural gas company there. Giuliani also wanted to know if Ukrainian officials and the DNC worked together to harm Trump’s 2016 campaign by releasing damaging information about Paul Manafort. (NBC News)
6/ Sarah Huckabee Sanders will join Fox News as a contributor and will make her debut on “Fox & Friends” on Sept. 6th. Sanders left the White House in June and is the third former top White House communications official to join Fox after exiting the Trump administration. (CNN / Variety / Axios / CNBC)
7/ A top aide at the Department of Homeland Security resigned amid frustrations between the White House and DHS leadership. Andrew Meehan was a top aide and spokesman to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. (Axios / The Hill)
8/ Trump wanted to award himself a Medal of Honor, but his aides talked him out of it. “Nothing like the Medal of Honor,” Trump said to the 75th annual national convention of American Veterans. “I wanted one, but they told me I don’t qualify […] I said, ‘Can I give it to myself anyway?’ They said, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’” Trump never served in the military and received five draft deferments, including four for college and one for bone spurs in his foot. (Politico)
poll/ 62% of Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president; 36% of Americans approve of the way Trump his handling his job. Trump’s approval rating has never dipped below 32% or risen above 42% since he took office. (Associated Press)
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