👋 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 will vote on Wednesday to transmit articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate. “The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. Before the vote, Pelosi will appoint the team of impeachment managers who will prosecute the trial against Trump. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler are expected to be two of the impeachment managers. Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, said Trump’s impeachment trial will begin next Tuesday – the start of Season Four of the Trump presidency. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Politico / Reuters / ABC News)
- Rudy Giuliani asked Trump if he could join the White House impeachment team. White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outside lawyer Jay Sekulow are expected to lead the Trump’s defense. The White House declined to comment. (HuffPost / CNN)
2/ Senior Senate Republicans rejected Trump’s call to dismiss impeachment charges against him, saying “There is almost no interest” for a motion to dismiss the House charges. Republicans hold a 53-seat majority in the Senate and dismissing the articles of impeachment would require 51 votes. Multiple Republicans, however, have indicated they would oppose a motion to dismiss, arguing that both Trump’s legal team and the House impeachment managers should be able to present their case. (Washington Post / Associated Press / Reuters / The Hill / Politico)
3/ The Russian military hacked into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry. Using similar tactics to those used to obtain emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, Russian hackers employed phishing emails to steal usernames and passwords from Burisma employees. It is still unclear what the hackers found or what they were looking for, but experts say the timing and scale of the attack suggest that they could be searching for information about the Bidens. The hacking attempts began in early November while reports about the Bidens, Ukraine, and impeachment were leading the news in the U.S. (New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post)
4/ Trump is preparing to divert another $7.2 billion in Pentagon funding to pay for his border wall construction this year — five times the amount that Congress authorized for the project in the 2020 budget. The Pentagon funds – enough to fund about 885 miles of new fencing by 2022 – would come from military construction projects and counter-narcotics programs. The diversion would bring the total amount of federal funding allocated for border fencing to $18.4 billion. (Washington Post)
5/ A former Trump campaign adviser and key witness in the Mueller investigation pleaded guilty to charges of child sex trafficking and possessing child pornography. George Nader admitted in court that he brought an underage boy to the U.S. for sex and that he possessed child pornography that depicted the sexual abuse of toddlers. Both crimes occurred before his time with the 2016 Trump campaign, where he worked as an informal foreign policy adviser and attended high-level meetings. The Justice Department has recommended that he receive the minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. (Courthouse News Service / Washington Post / CNN / Rolling Stone / Yahoo News)
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