👋 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/ Trump’s PAC collected $75 million this year, but so far the group has not put money into pushing for the 2020 ballot reviews he touts. Even as he assiduously tracks attempts by his allies to cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election, the former president has been uninterested in personally bankrolling the effort in Arizona or to push for similar endeavors in other states, according to people familiar with the finances. Instead, the Save America leadership PAC — which has few limits on how it can spend its money — has paid for some of the former president’s travel, legal costs and staff, along with other expenses. (Washington Post)
2/ Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey blamed “the unvaccinated folks” for the rise in COVID-19 cases in her state, a remarkable plea at a time when many GOP leaders are refusing to urge people to get vaccinated even as COVID-19 cases surge in many parts of the country. Alabama is the least vaccinated state in the country, with roughly 33.9% of residents fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CNN / Washington Post)
3/ Trump ally Tom Barrack strikes a $250 million bail deal to get out of jail. A federal magistrate judge on Friday ordered Tom Barrack, a longtime associate of Trump who was indicted earlier this week on charges of illegal foreign lobbying, released from jail pending trial, freeing him on a bail package that includes a $250 million bond secured by $5 million in cash. The judge also ordered Barrack to wear a GPS location monitoring bracelet, barred him from transferring any funds overseas, and restricted his travel to parts of Southern California and New York. (CNN)
4/ The conservative House Freedom Caucus urged Kevin McCarthy to try remove Nancy Pelosi from her position as Speaker of the House. In a letter Friday, the far-right group asked McCarthy to file and bring up a privileged motion by July 31 “to vacate the chair and end Nancy Pelosi’s authoritarian reign as Speaker of the House.” The motion is all but guaranteed to fail in the Democratic House, but it signals a stewing anger on the right towards the speaker. (Politico)
5/ Biden is expected to nominate Caroline Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to Australia. Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, served as ambassador to Japan during the Obama administration. She is a longtime friend, ally and donor to Biden who endorsed the President’s candidacy early in the campaign and spoke last summer at the Democratic convention. (CNN)
6/ Lawyers for the state of Mississippi urged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. The state is appealing lower court rulings that struck down a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The court agreed in May to hear the case, which will be argued in the fall, most likely in November or December. (NBC News)