👋 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 of Representatives voted to send the Senate two articles of impeachment against Trump, initiating the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. The measure passed 228-to-193 with one Democrat – Collin Peterson of Minnesota – joining every Republican in voting “no.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi also announced the seven House Democrats who will serve as the “managers” in the trial, saying “The emphasis is on making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution to seek the truth for the American people.” The two articles, charging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, will be hand-delivered to the Senate with the trial expected to begin on Tuesday. It remains undecided if witnesses will be called to testify. Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that his impeachment is a “Con Job.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / CNN / CNBC / NBC News)
Who are the impeachment managers prosecuting the case against Trump in the Senate trial? House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler will lead the House team, joined by Jason Crow, Val Demings, Sylvia Garcia, Hakeem Jeffries, and Zoe Lofgren (Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
2/ Rudy Giuliani requested a private meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky – then the president-elect of Ukraine – with Trump’s “knowledge and consent,” according to new documents released by House Democrats. The documents contains several handwritten notes, emails, encrypted messages, and text messages that show how Giuliani associate, Lev Parnas, tried to set up a meeting between Giuliani and Zelensky, as well as efforts to “Get Zelensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated.” The documents also show that before Marie Yovanovitch, the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, was removed from her post, a Parnas associate now running for Congress sent menacing text messages suggesting that he had Yovanovitch under surveillance in Ukraine. Democrats said the new records “demonstrate that there is more evidence relevant to the president’s scheme” that has “been concealed by the president himself.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / NBC News / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
3/ Four Republicans will vote with Democrats to invoke Congress’ war powers and limit Trump’s ability to conduct further military actions against Iran. Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Todd Young, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul have joined 47 Democrats in support of the resolution, which was introduced the day after the Trump administration carried out the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani without seeking Congressional approval. (Washington Post)
- Security footage shows that the Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 was taken down by two missiles, fired roughly 30 seconds apart. The missiles were launched from an Iranian military base approximately eight miles from where the plane was hit. Flight 752 was one of 19 planes that took off from Tehran in the hours after Iran launched missiles against military bases in Iraq that were housing U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Soleimani. (New York Times)
poll/ 49% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the situation with Iran, while 42% approve. 88% of Republicans approve of Trump’s actions, as do 44% of Independents and 10% of Democrats. (NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist)
poll/ 71% of voters support Trump’s decision not to pursue military action against Iran after Tehran targeted two air bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops. 14% disapproved of Trump’s decision, and 15% said they did not know or had no opinion. 58% approved of Trump’s decision to level the new sanctions against Iran, while 22% disapproved. (Politico)
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn moved to withdraw his two-year-old guilty plea for lying to the FBI during the Russia probe due to “bad faith” actions by the Justice Department. Flynn asked a judge to withdraw his plea and to delay his sentencing by 30 days. Flynn’s defense team cited his cooperation with the Mueller probe and said the government’s “stunning and vindictive reversal of its earlier representations to this Court are incredible, vindictive, in bad faith, and breach the plea agreement.” (NPR / New York Times / NBC News)
Putin replaced his prime minister and proposed constitutional changes, which would limit the power of a successor after 2024, when Putin is required by law to step down. As head of the State Council, Putin could also remain in control and guide policy after his presidential term expires. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)
The Trump administration released its hold on $8.2 billion in disaster aid to Puerto Rico. The Department of Housing and Urban Development failed to release the funding in September, saying it needed to ensure financial safeguards were put in place in light of recent political unrest on the island. (Politico)
Trump signed the “phase one” trade deal with China, which includes Chinese commitments to purchase an additional $200 billion worth of American goods and services by 2021. The initial trade agreement also includes new protections for trade secrets and intellectual property. (CNBC / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times)
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