👋 Away Message: It's infrastructure week at WTF HQ! This will be the last edition of WTFJHT until May 31. WTF is taking a much needed break to retool ahead of what is shaping up to be a very consequential midterm cycle (we've also had a few unresolvable scheduling snafus/conflicts here, so I'm just going to take a mulligan on this one). In the mean time, we've built a little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding! I'm going to miss you. You'll hear from us again on Tuesday, May 31. Thanks for being here.
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1/ The EPA plans to roll back regulation of methane emissions – a major contributor to climate change – by eliminating the federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to monitor and limit leaks from wells, tanks, and pipeline networks. Trump administration officials suggested that because the oil and gas industry can’t profit from leaks, they already have an economic incentive to limit their methane emissions. Several of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies, however, opposed the rollback and urged the Trump administration to leave the current standards in place. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / The Guardian / NBC News)
2/ The Trump administration started denying applications by immigrant families for permission to extend their stay in the for medical care not available in their home countries. Letters issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to those applying for medical relief that agency offices “no longer consider deferred action requests,” except for members of the military, and their stay has been rescinded. They have 33 days to leave the country, retroactive to any requests filed on or before Aug. 7th. The policy has not been publicly announced. (NBC News / ABC News)
3/ The Justice Department inspector general found that James Comey violated FBI policies for sharing memos that detailed his interactions with Trump. Comey won’t be charged. The inspector general determined that the memos were official records, which describe how Trump pressed Comey for loyalty and asked him to stop an investigation into Michael Flynn. (Washington Post / NPR / USA Today / Wall Street Journal)
📌 Day 104: Comey helped release details of his meetings with Trump. Comey acknowledged that he shared copies of his memos documenting his Trump meetings with a “close friend” — a professor at Columbia Law School — who could share the information with reporters. (Washington Post)
📌 Day 456: The Justice Department sent partially redacted copies of James Comey’s memos – 15 pages in total – to Congress, which leaked to the public within hours. The memos cover the first three months of the Trump administration. Following the release, Trump tweeted that the memos “show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION.” (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post)
4/ The House Judiciary Committee will investigate Trump’s proposal to hold the 2020 G7 meeting at his Trump National Doral Miami golf resort, calling the move “only the latest in a troubling pattern of corruption and self-dealing” by Trump. Jerrold Nadler said that requiring foreign leaders to pay to stay at a Trump-owned property would be a direct violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause. (NBC News / Politico / Washington Post)
- 📌 Day 949: Trump floated the idea of holding the next G7 summit at his “magnificent” Doral golf resort in Miami. Trump said that while he hasn’t made a final decision, “it’s right next to the airport and it’s a great place,” and that his staff had determined that — of all the resorts in America — Trump’s club was the best suited to host the international meeting. Trump also defended the possibility of hosting the summit at his golf club, claiming “I’m not going to make any money. I don’t want to make money. I don’t care about making money.” The U.S. is next to host the G7 in 2020. Trump also refused to say whether he would invite Russia to the meeting, but said he thought it would be “advantageous” if they attended. Russia was kicked out over its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNBC / CNN)
5/ Trump attacked Puerto Rico as it braces for Hurricane Dorian. He called the island “one of the most corrupt places on earth” and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz “incompetent.” Trump then proclaimed himself “the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico.” (ABC News / CNBC / Washington Post)
6/ Trump complained that Fox News “isn’t working for us anymore” because the network is not sufficiently loyal to him. Trump urged his followers to “start looking for a new News Outlet” as an alternative to Fox. Several Fox News personalities, however, pushed back, saying: “Fox News isn’t supposed to work for you,” and “We don’t work for you.” (Politico / CNN / Daily Beast)
7/ MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell retracted his claim Russian oligarchs had co-signed Trump’s Deutsche Bank loans. O’Donnell said that statements from a single source weren’t ready to be reported, because he did not go through the network’s “rigorous verification and standards process” before repeating it, and that “had it gone through that process, I would not have been permitted to report it.” (Politico / NBC News)
8/ Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner discussed the possibility of replacing Pence with Nikki Haley on the 2020 Republican ticket. Haley, meanwhile, tweeted out a denial of the “false rumors” — which hadn’t leaked beyond the White House — that she wanted to join Trump on the 2020 ticket. (Raw Story / Political Wire)
9/ Trump aides admitted that he lied about the “high-level” trade talks with Chinese officials in order to boost markets. Aides privately conceded that the calls didn’t happen the way Trump said they did, and because Trump wanted to project optimism, he conflated comments from China’s vice premier with direct communications from the Chinese. (CNN)
10/ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin floated the idea of offering bonds with maturities of 50 to 100 years. Mnuchin said the idea was under “very serious consideration” after a meeting with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow earlier this month when the yield curve briefly inverted. (Bloomberg)
11/ Trump is considering a plan to block more than $250 million in foreign aid to Ukraine. Since 2014, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $1 billion in security assistance to bolster the country’s military, which faces an ongoing conflict with separatists that the Pentagon believes are backed by Moscow. (CNN / Politico)
12/ Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis said he had “no choice but to leave” the Trump administration after Trump announced plans to withdraw the U.S. military from Syria. Mattis has given a series of interviews and public statements in recent weeks indirectly criticizing Trump, but he has refused to directly address Trump’s character and fitness for office, citing a “duty of silence” to the administration. “When you leave an administration over clear policy differences,” Mattis said, “you need to give the people who are still there as much opportunity as possible to defend the country.” (CNN)
13/ Trump made 48 false claims between Tuesday and Sunday last week. He has averaged 7.7 false claims per day since July 8. (CNN)
14/ A press secretary for Trump’s reelection campaign disputed that Trump frequently lies. Kayleigh McEnany said “No, I don’t think the President has lied,” and then accused some news networks of “lying to the American people.” McEnany also dismissed Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. (CNN)
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