👋 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 White House put the creation a national police oversight commission on hold, despite Biden’s campaign pledge to establish one within his first 100 days. Instead, the administration is moving forward with its efforts to pass the police reform bill named after George Floyd, who was killed after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee to Floyd’s neck for seven minutes and 46 seconds. Chauvin’s murder trial is currently ongoing. The White House said national civil rights organizations and police unions counseled the administration that a commission was not necessary and redundant. (Politico / CNN)
2/ Biden called for an investigation into the police officer who shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man in a Minneapolis suburb. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said the officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright shouted “Taser!” but then fired a handgun instead. “The question is: was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full blown investigation,” Biden said. Gannon, meanwhile, said it was his “belief” that the officer intended to use their Taser during a traffic stop, but instead shot Wright, saying “This appears to me, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge.” After the officer fired, she is heard on video saying, “Holy shit. I just shot him.” Wright was killed about 10 miles from where George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin last year, and hours before the 11th day of Chauvin’s murder trial was set to begin. (New York Times / Associated Press / Star Tribune / ABC News / CNN / Axios /
3/ The U.S. administered 4.6 million vaccine doses on Saturday – a single-day record. The country has now averaged 3.1 million doses per day over the past week. Meanwhile, the U.S. is reporting 70,000 new coronavirus infections per day on average over the past week, a figure that’s above July’s peak of 67,000 cases. (CNBC)
- 38.9% of U.S. Marines have declined Covid-19 vaccinations.(CNN)
4/ Michigan’s average daily case count jumped about seven times since February. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called on the state “to close things down,” rebuffing a request from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for the federal government to send more vaccines. “If we try to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we would be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work, to actually have the impact,” Walensky said. “The answer is not necessarily to give vaccine. The answer to that is […] to go back to our basics […] to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another, to test to the extent that we have available to contact trace.” (Axios / New York Times / Bloomberg / CNBC)
5/ Biden nominated the Tucson police chief to lead Customs and Border Protection. If confirmed, Chris Magnus – a critic of the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies – would be responsible for contending with the biggest increase in migrants arriving at the southwest border in two decades. Magnus also opposed Trump’s efforts to make Tucson a “sanctuary city.” Biden also said he intends to nominate Ur Jaddou as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post)
- The Biden administration secured agreements with Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala to secure their borders and slow the number of migrants arriving at the U.S. border. (CNN / New York Times)
6/ The Biden Justice Department refused to disclose documents from the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that separated thousands of migrant families at the U.S. border. The documents, requested by the lawyers representing separated families, include emails between Trump officials and minutes of high-level meetings during the planning of the policy. Among the unreleased documents is the agenda from a May 2018 meeting that included a show of hands vote by Trump officials on whether to separate families. (NBC News)
7/ The U.S. has admitted 2,050 refugees at the halfway point of this fiscal year, putting the Biden administration on track to accept the fewest number of refugees this year of any modern president – including Trump. Eight weeks ago Biden promised to reverse Trump-era immigration policies, to rebuild and enhance federal programs to resettle refugees, and to raise the annual cap on refugee admissions to 125,000 for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, up from Trump’s limit of 15,000. Biden, however, hasn’t signed what is known as a presidential determination to make those changes official. At the current pace and without the reversal of Trump’s policies, the Biden administration will admit about 4,510 refugees – less than half of the figure admitted in Trump’s final year. (Washington Post)
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