👋 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: ~12,129,000; deaths: ~552,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~3,089,000; deaths: ~133,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
1/ Another 1.3 million workers filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week – the 14th straight week of declines. More than 48 million people have now filed for unemployment benefits for the first time in the past 16 weeks. (CNN / Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)
2/ The Supreme Court cleared the way for prosecutors in New York to enforce a subpoena for Trump’s financial and tax records, rejecting Trump’s assertion that he enjoys “absolute” immunity from investigation while in office. The decision allows Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. to subpoena Trump’s accounting firm for years of financial documents and tax records as part of a criminal investigation into hush-money payments made before the 2016 election to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. “No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. In a separate decision, the court ruled that Congress could not see many of the same records, citing “significant separation of powers concerns.” Both cases will now go back to the lower courts to determine if Trump needs to turn over any documents, making it unlikely that Americans will see Trump’s taxes before Election Day. In a series of tweets, Trump called the rulings “a political prosecution” that were “not fair to this Presidency or Administration!” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Bloomberg / Politico / NPR / CNBC / Associated Press)
3/ Dr. Anthony Fauci advised states “having a serious problem” with a surge in coronavirus cases to “seriously look at shutting down.” The government’s top infectious disease expert said some states “went too fast” with reopening and that in other states, residents didn’t follow social distancing guidelines. Trump, meanwhile, continued to push to reopen the country as quickly as possible despite the U.S. setting another record for new cases on Wednesday – the fifth national record in nine days. At least five states — Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia — set single-day records for new infections on Wednesday as the daily number of new cases had increased by 72% over the past two weeks. (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)
4/ The CDC will not revise its guidelines for reopening schools despite pressure from Trump and the White House. Dr. Robert Redfield said the CDC was already planning to issue additional reference documents for schools in coming days. On Wednesday, however, Pence told reporters that the CDC would be issuing a new “set of tools” next week after Trump complained that the existing guidelines were too “tough” and “impractical.” (CNN / Associated Press / The Hill / Washington Post)
5/ The World Health Organization acknowledged that the coronavirus may become airborne and spread through particles in the air in “indoor crowded spaces.” The agency also acknowledged that the virus can be transmitted by people who do not have symptoms. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that “the pandemic is still accelerating.” The Republican National Convention, meanwhile, could be moved to an outdoor stadium. While no decision has been made, Republicans involved in the planning believe there could be less risk of transmission at a large outdoor stadium. (CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Washington Post)
- A group of attorneys in Jacksonville, FL filed a lawsuit to prevent the GOP from holding the Republican National Convention in the city next month. The suit claims holding the convention amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would be “a nuisance injurious to the health [and] welfare” of the city. The suit was filed days after Florida set new records for the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in one state in a single day — more than 11,400 cases on Saturday. The plaintiffs are requesting that the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena admit no more than 2,500 people and leave the rest of the 15,000 seats in the arena “isolated or roped off” to ensure social distancing. (CNN / The Hill)
6/ Attorney General William Barr pressured Manhattan’s former former U.S. attorney to resign during a June 18 meeting at a New York hotel and in a subsequent phone call. Geoffrey Berman, who had pursued a number of investigations close to Trump’s inner circle, including Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani, was fired after refusing Barr’s request for him to resign. “The Attorney General said that if I did not resign from my position I would be fired. He added that getting fired from my job would not be good for my resume or future job prospects. I told him that while I did not want to get fired, I would not resign,” Berman told the House Judiciary Committee in a closed-door interview. Berman was fired late on Friday, June 19th. (Politico / CNN / Axios)
7/ Michael Cohen was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals for violating terms of his early release from prison. Cohen’s detention came a week after he was photographed eating at a Manhattan restaurant. Cohen, who is writing a book about his time working for Trump, also reportedly balked an agreement that he not talk to the media or write a book while serving the rest of his criminal sentence in home confinement. (CNBC / CNN / New York Times)
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