👋 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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😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~10,394,000; deaths: ~509,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~2,624,000; deaths: ~128,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
1/ Dr. Anthony Fauci warned a Senate committee that the U.S. is “not in total control” of the coronavirus and that infections could more than double to 100,000 a day if the country fails to contain the surge. The nation’s top infectious diseases expert said “we’re going in the wrong direction” and the recent sharp rise in cases, largely in the South and the West, “puts the entire country at risk.” Fauci declined to estimate the number of potential deaths, but said “It is going to be very disturbing, I guarantee you that.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Politico / NBC News / CNN / CNBC)
A new strain of the H1N1 swine flu virus is spreading on pig farms in China and should be “urgently” controlled to avoid another pandemic, according to a new study. The new strain, known as G4 EA H1N1, has been common on China’s pig farms since 2016 and has characteristics of the 2009 H1N1 virus and 1918 pandemic flu. The H1N1 swine flu emerged in Mexico in April 2009 and infected at least 700 million worldwide and 60.8 million people in the U.S. An estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people died from the virus globally. (New York Times / BBC / CNBC)
South Dakota will not require thousands of people who attend a July 3 event at Mount Rushmore with Trump to practice social distancing. Gov. Kristi Noem said “We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one. But we won’t be social distancing.” (Axios / NBC News)
The deadline to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program will end today with more than $130 billion left unused. For many small businesses, the process to receive PPP funding was confusing and some businesses were hesitant to apply as forgiveness guidelines shifted multiple times. (ABC News / Washington Post)
2/ The White House and the National Security Council learned that Russia was offering bounties on U.S. and coalition troops in early 2019 – at least a month before an April 2019 car bomb attack in Afghanistan that killed three U.S. Marines. The intelligence was also included in at least one of Trump’s President’s Daily Brief documents at the time, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence. John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser at the time, reportedly told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence in March 2019. (Associated Press / NBC News)
3/ Trump received a second written presidential daily briefing earlier this year that Russia paid bounties for the killing of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The intelligence was included months ago in Trump’s President’s Daily Brief in late February. One official cited the Feb. 27 briefing document. Trump doesn’t fully or regularly read the President’s Daily Brief, preferring to receive an oral briefing two or three times a week by his intelligence officials. While the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, confirmed that “The president does read,” she claimed that Trump was not briefed about the bounties in an oral session, saying “He was not personally briefed on the matter. That is all I can share with you today.” McEnany also condemned the New York Times for publishing “unverified” allegations, suggesting that “rogue intelligence officers” were undermining Trump and national security. (New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / Axios)
- Intelligence analysts intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account. (New York Times)
4/ Republicans have skipped all but one of the House Intelligence Committee’s meetings since March. Democrats claim Republicans are boycotting the sessions out of partisan spite, while Republicans say they have legitimate concerns about the security of the virtual sessions. The committee has held at least seven bipartisan open- and closed-door sessions since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in March. (Politico)
5/ A New York judge temporarily blocked the publication of Mary Trump’s book about her uncle, Donald Trump, saying no copies can be distributed until he hears arguments in the case. Robert Trump asked the court to block Mary Trump’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” saying its publication would violate the nondisclosure agreement she signed. The book is set for release on July 28. (Politico / Washington Post / CNBC)
poll/ 71% of Americans say they would get a coronavirus vaccine, while 27% say they probably or definitely would not. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, at least 70% will need immunity to the virus to reach herd immunity. (Washington Post)
poll/ 87% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country, while 12% are satisfied. (Pew Research Center)
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