What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential newsletter. Logging the daily shock and awe in national politics. Read in moderation.
by @matt_kiser

Site updated:

1/ The 9th Circuit Court refused to reinstate travel ban, delivering the latest and most stinging judicial rebuke to Trump's effort to tighten the standards for entry into the United States and make good on a campaign promise. The ruling was focused on the narrow question of whether the travel ban should be blocked while courts consider its lawfulness. The decision is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court. (New York Times)


2/ Conway may have broken key ethics rule by touting Ivanka Trump’s products. Federal employees are banned from using their public office to endorse products. “I’m going to give it a free commercial here,” Conway said. “Go buy it today.” (Washington Post)


3/ Spicer misspoke on attack, meant Orlando, not Atlanta. Three times in one week, Spicer alluded to a terror attack in Atlanta by someone from overseas. Spicer eventually admitted he misspoke. Oops. (CNN)


4/ Sessions sworn in as attorney general while Trump signed three executive actions aimed at bolstering law enforcement. Sessions pledged to attack a crime problem that he described as "a dangerous permanent trend that has places the health and safety of the American people at risk." Although murder jumped by 11% in 2015, the biggest one-year increase in more than 40 years, the overall rate remains the lowest in decades. (USA Today)


5/ Trump attacks McCain for questioning success of deadly Yemen raid. McCain initially referred to the raid as “a failure” but later dialed back his criticism, saying that some objectives were fulfilled in the mission but that he would “not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success.” (Washington Post)

Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy! He's been losing so....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017

...long he doesn't know how to win anymore, just look at the mess our country is in - bogged down in conflict all over the place. Our hero..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017

..Ryan died on a winning mission ( according to General Mattis), not a "failure." Time for the U.S. to get smart and start winning again!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017

6/ Republican Senator admits GOP health-care plan has to remain secret because it will be unpopular. Senator Mike Lee insists that Republicans repeal Obamacare first, before they decide on an alternative. And his reason is straightforward: If people saw the Republican alternative, they might not like it! (New York Magazine)

7/ Gun rights advocates prepare push for more guns in schools. Attempts to allow more guns in K-12 schools were defeated in 15 states last year but second amendment campaigners are only encouraged by Trump’s election. (The Guardian)

8/ Trump lashes out at Blumenthal for relaying Gorsuch’s “disheartening” comments. The president resurfaces Senator Blumenthal's military record to minimize fallout from Gorsuch's Supreme Court's statements. (Politico)


UPDATE: Story is dated 2016. 8/ Feds try to forcefully search Wall Street Journal reporter's phone. A Wall Street Journal reporter was detained by federal agents at the Los Angeles airport who demanded to confiscate her two cell phones – and was surprised to find that border agents have the authority to do that. (CNN)

9/ In call with Putin, Trump denounced Obama-era nuclear arms treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads. When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was. The phone call with Putin has added to concerns that Trump is not adequately prepared for discussions with foreign leaders. (Reuters)

10/ Whatever happened to the Trump-Russia story? The biggest election-related scandal since Watergate occurred last year, and it has largely disappeared from the political-media landscape of Washington. (Mother Jones)

11/ Is the anti-Trump “Resistance" the New Tea Party? The parallels are striking: a massive grassroots movement, many of its members new to activism, that feeds primarily off fear and reaction. (The Atlantic)

12/ Burst your bubble: five conservative articles to read as protests stymie Trump. Rightwing commentators try to explain to the left how best to agitate, while others reveal the hidden costs of America’s "war on terror.” (The Guardian)

charts/ Trump’s approval rating in context. Just how bad is Donald Trump’s approval rating, historically speaking? (Borderline)