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/ North Korea challenges Trump by firing a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. The missile launch came as Trump hosts Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, on an official visit. The missile was a medium- or intermediate-range system and “did not pose a threat to North America.” South Korea condemned the missile launching, saying that it violated a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions that bar North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missile and nuclear weapons technologies. (New York Times)

2/ Senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller doubled down on President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud, including the president’s reported claim that thousands of voters were bused into New Hampshire to illegally cast ballots in the presidential election. (ABC News)

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3/ New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie criticized Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying he needs to clear up questions about whether he discussed sanctions in his pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. (CNN)

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4/ Trump friend says Priebus is "in way over his head". One of Trump’s longtime friends publicly argued that Trump should replace his White House chief of staff after talking privately with the president. (Washington Post)

5/ The spy revolt against Trump begins. Fears that the White House is too friendly to Moscow is causing close allies to curtail some of their espionage relationships with Washington. The development has grave implications for international security, especially for counterterrorism. (Observer)

6/ Sanders rips Trump, jokes about “fake news”. In an 11-minute interview, Sanders weighed in on Trump's travel ban, his clashing with the media, and the controversy surrounding National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. (CNN)

7/ Betsy DeVos' Department of Education flunks spelling test, misspells W.E.B. Du Bois' name, then misspells its apology. Both tweets have since been deleted. (Politico)

8/ Defections by Sears, Kmart cap week of controversy for Trump brands. The moves may be a rare sign of companies taking calculated risks in making business decisions that might invite criticism from Trump's Twitter account. (Reuters)

9/ A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone. Reentry into the country should not have raised any flags. Not only is he a natural-born US citizen, but he’s also enrolled in Global Entry — a program through CBP that allows individuals who have undergone background checks to have expedited entry into the country. He hasn’t visited the countries listed in the immigration ban and he has worked at JPL — a major center at a US federal agency — for 10 years. (The Verge)

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poll/ Trump's job approval rating hits a new low: 40% of Americans approve of the job that the president is doing, while 55% disapprove. (Gallup)