👋 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 Pentagon will divert funding from military construction projects in 23 states, three territories, and 19 countries to pay for Trump’s border wall. Among the projects being defunded to pay for Trump’s border wall, include nine schools for military children on bases in the U.S. and abroad, a daycare center at Joint Base Andrews, Hurricane Maria recovery projects at military installations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, construction projects in Europe designed to help allies deter Russia. In total, $3.6 billion will be taken from 127 projects to fund 11 border barrier projects in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. (New York Times / Washington Post / Reuters)
- 📌 Day 957: The Trump administration will divert $3.6 billion this week from 127 military construction projects to build to build 175 miles of Trump’s border wall. Trump declared a national emergency in February to draw funding from federal accounts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said about half of the funding will come from military construction projects outside the United States and half will come from projects within the country. (Politico / Washington Post)
2/ A federal judge ruled that 11 parents who were deported from the U.S. without their children will be allowed to return to the country. San Diego District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ruled that the Trump administration illegally prevented the parents from pursuing their asylum cases. In some cases, the judge found that agents coerced the parents into dropping their claims and accepting deportation by having them sign documents they didn’t understand or lying and telling the parents that the asylum laws had changed. Sabraw refused to allow seven other parents listed in the original request to return to the U.S. (The Hill)
3/ A district court judge in Virginia ruled that the federal government’s database of “known or suspected terrorists” violates the rights of American citizens who are on the watchlist. Judge Anthony Trenga said “the currently existing procedural safeguards are not sufficient” to address the risk of incorrectly depriving U.S. citizens of their freedom to travel or protect their reputation. The database is a major tool of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, and the ruling calls the constitutionality of the watchlist into question. As of 2017, roughly 2.1 million people were on the watchlist. (New York Times)
4/ The U.S. and China will resume trade talks aimed at ending the trade war. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He agreed to visit Washington in “early October” with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Stocks rose following the news that talks would resume. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times)
5/ Trump’s Middle East peace negotiator will leave the administration. Jason Greenblatt didn’t say when his resignation would take effect, but the departure leaves the Israel-Palestinian peace effort – team led by Jared Kushner – without its chief architect. Trump has called it the “ultimate deal,” but the plan has been repeatedly delayed with Palestinian leaders rejecting it sight unseen. Trump officials, however, claimed that “The vision is now complete and will be released when appropriate,” but that the plan will not be released before Israel’s Sept. 17 election. (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)
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