👋 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/ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t commit to sending the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate until she sees “the process that is set forth” to ensure a “fair” trial. Democrats have questioned the impartiality of the Senate trial after Mitch McConnell said he’s coordinating with the White House to quickly acquit Trump. Senior Democratic aides suggested it was “very unlikely” that the House will send the articles to the Senate before January, effectively delaying the impeachment trial well into the new year, in order to pressure Republicans to allow new witnesses and evidence in the proceeding. “We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side,” Pelosi said. “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.” (New York Times / ABC News / Politico / CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg)
2/ Mitch McConnell mocked Pelosi’s threat to withhold the articles of impeachment, criticizing her as “too afraid” to transmit “their shoddy work product.” McConnell then called the impeachment inquiry “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair” in modern history. (Politico / CNN)
- Putin said Trump was impeached on “trumped-up charges” for reasons “far-fetched” and doesn’t believe the Senate will “vote him out of power.” Putin also likened Trump’s impeachment to the probe into collusion with Russia, which Putin played down as groundless. (Politico / Associated Press)
3/ A top State Department aide told the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to step down from his post and leave Kyiv before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits in January. Bill Taylor, a key witness in the Trump impeachment inquiry, has not had any direct contact with Pompeo since his testimony before Congress last month and will leave his post on January 2. The timing means that Pompeo will not have to meet, be seen or photographed with Taylor. (CNN)
- 📌 Day 1062: The top U.S. diplomat for Ukraine will leave his post at the end of the year. Bill Taylor was a key witness in the congressional impeachment inquiry into Trump and described for Congress what he saw as Trump’s efforts to pressure Kyiv to go after political rivals. (New York Times / NBC News)
4/ The House passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – Trump’s replacement for NAFTA. The trade pact now heads to the Senate, which is expected to ratify it next year after Trump’s impeachment trial. Trump is expected to sign the legislation. (Politico / CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times)
5/ The Senate passed a $1.4 trillion spending package to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year. The House has already cleared the legislation. Trump needs to sign the bills by Friday to avert a government shutdown, which his advisors have said he will approve. (Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Politico)
6/ Rep. Mark Meadows will not seek re-election to Congress in 2020. Meadows has been contemplating leaving office for months, but he finalized his decision this week. Meadows is a long-time Trump ally who says he will continue to work with the Trump administration. He is also being considered to join Trump’s impeachment defense team in preparation for the trial in the Senate. (Associated Press / Washington Post / NBC News / Reuters / Axios / The Hill / Bloomberg / Politico / Wall Street Journal)
7/ The Senate confirmed 12 more of Trump’s judicial nominees. The confirmations bring the total number of judicial confirmations for 2019 to 20 circuit judges and 67 district judges. (Politico)
8/ Trump implied that the late Rep. John Dingell is “looking up” from hell while also mocking his widow, Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell. At a rally in Michigan, Trump said he gave John an “A-plus” funeral and that Debbie, whom he called “a real beauty,” called to thank him, saying “John would be so thrilled. He’s looking down. He’d be so thrilled.” Trump then told the crowd: “Maybe he’s looking up, I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe. But let’s assume he’s looking down.” Dingell was the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history. (NBC News / CNN / Axios / Washington Post / New York Times /Reuters / Bloomberg)
- White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham defended Trump’s attack on Rep. John Dingell, saying Trump was a “counter-puncher” who was “under attack.” (ABC News)
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