👋 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 United States reported a record 247,403 new coronavirus cases and 3,656 COVID-19 deaths – the deadliest day of the pandemic to date. Three times as many people in the U.S. are dying every day now than three months ago, and the number of new cases is six times what it was then. (New York Times / NPR / The Guardian)
The FDA’s advisory committee recommended that the Moderna coronavirus vaccine be granted an expected emergency use authorization. The FDA plans to authorize the vaccine Friday. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~74,729,000; deaths: ~1,658,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~17,150,000; deaths: ~310,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
2/ Another 885,000 Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week – the highest weekly total in three months. Another 455,000 people applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program for the self-employed, gig workers, and others who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment benefits. Before the pandemic, weekly jobless claims typically numbered about 225,000. (Associated Press / Politico / Bloomberg / New York Times / CBS News / The Guardian)
3/ While lawmakers are close to a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus deal, Congress is preparing for the possibility of a short government shutdown. Lawmakers have to pass a government funding and pandemic rescue package before federal funding lapses at 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday. Republican leaders reportedly want to pass a stop-gap spending bill to extend the current government funding deadline an additional 48 hours, but Democrats want to pressure negotiators to come up with a deal by Friday night. The draft coronavirus proposal includes $600 in payments for individuals, $300-per-week in supplemental unemployment payments, aid for small businesses, and about $17 billion for airlines. It does not include aid for state and local governments or lawsuit liability protection. About 12 million people are set to lose benefits if pandemic-era provisions to expand unemployment eligibility expire and millions country could face eviction if a federal moratorium expires at the end of the year. (Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / ABC News)
- Trump promised to follow through on his threat to veto the defense policy bill that passed with veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate. Trump has demanded that the defense bill eliminate Section 230, which provides tech companies with liability protections related to user-generated content on their platforms, and he’s insisted that language requiring the Pentagon to rename military commemorating Confederate-era figures be removed. (CNBC / NBC News / The Guardian)
4/ Suspected Russian hackers accessed the networks that maintain the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warned that the hacks posed a “grave risk” to government networks and “critical infrastructure.” The list of known victims of the Russian hacks include the National Nuclear Security Administration, the State, Treasury, Energy, Commerce and Homeland Security departments, as well as the National Institutes of Health. (Politico / Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times)
- [Opinion] From Trump’s homeland security adviser: “We’re Being Hacked.” (New York Times)
5/ The House Judiciary Committee intends to reissue a subpoena for former White House Counsel Don McGahn’s testimony in 2021. McGahn was a central witness in Robert Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation. McGahn told Mueller’s investigators that Trump twice ordered him to have Mueller removed and instructed him to create a false record about the decision. (Politico)
6/ Trump’s Mar-a-Lago neighbors say he can’t live there after he leaves the White House. In 1993, Trump signed an agreement with the town that prohibits club members from spending more than 21 days a year in the club’s guest suites and they can’t stay there for more than seven consecutive days. In a letter to the town of Palm Beach and the Secret Service, a lawyer representing a family that lives next to Mar-a-Lago reiterated that “Mar-a-Lago is a social club, and no one may reside on the property.” In 2018, Trump changed his domicile to Mar-a-Lago, in part for tax purposes. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / The Guardian)
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