What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics. Read in moderation.
Curated by @matt_kiser

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What We Learned In The Russia Probe

Week of Dec 2 – 8

Last Week In One Sentence: Giuliani contradicted Trump's claim that he answered Mueller's questions "very easily," saying "answering those questions was a nightmare; Trump potentially committed witness tampering and/or obstruction of justice when he tweeted praise for Roger Stone for refusing to speak to Mueller's team; separately, Mueller's team filed a memo in Manafort's case stating that Manafort lied to federal investigators about his contacts with Trump administration officials and his interactions with a Russian linked to Moscow's intelligence services (Konstantin Kilimnik); in a sentencing memo for former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Mueller recommended Flynn be given no jail time due to the "substantial assistance" Flynn provided to Mueller's team, which included 19 interviews; Mueller also filed a memo in Michael Cohen's case, saying he provided substantial assistance;federal prosecutors of the Southern District of New York filed their own sentencing memo for Michael Cohen's case, recommending 51-63 months in prison and a $500,000 forfeiture of Cohen's assets; the attorneys general of Maryland and D.C. served subpoenas on the Trump International Hotel, the Trump Organization itself, and the trust that holds Trump's business assets, as part of the emoluments lawsuit against the president; the NRA and Trump's campaign illegally coordinated to buy ads during the 2016 election; and Trump's 2020 campaign federal financial filings reveal he has transferred $1.1 million from donors to his own personal bank accounts, essentially.

Week of Nov 25 – Dec 1

Last Week In One Sentence: We know three answers Trump gave to Mueller's questionnaire: (1) Roger Stone did not tell him about Wikileaks, (2) he did not know about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, and (3) he was not aware of the change to the RNC's convention platform in favor of Russia.

Week of Nov 4 - 10

Last Week In One Sentence: The day after the midterm elections, Trump forced Jeff Sessions to resign, installing Sessions' former chief of staff Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general; two more people connected to Roger Stone have testified before Mueller's grand jury; Mueller obtained communication records between Russian diplomats and the British financier behind the Leave EU campaign; Trump Jr. has reportedly been telling friends in recent week that he expects to be indicted by Mueller; Trump and Putin held a working lunch in Paris; Trump's administration missed a deadline for a second round of sanctions against Russia for poisoning ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain; Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who represented Orange County, California for 15 terms, lost his re-election to Democrat Harley Rouda; and the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan has gathered evidence that Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements to pay off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal for their silence.

Week of Oct 28 – Nov 3

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Week of Oct 21 – 27

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Week of Oct 14 – 20

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Week of Oct 7 - 13

Last Week In One Sentence: The servers of Russia's Alfa Bank, the Trump Organization, and Spectrum Health (DeVos family) were likely intentionally communicating after all; Mueller is investigating the Trump campaign's connections with an Israeli intelligence firm, Psy-Group, which provided social media influence and opposition-research campaigns to defeat Republican opponents and Hillary Clinton; Mueller warned that Russian intelligence services still have active "interference operations" into U.S. elections; Mueller is also reportedly allowing Trump's legal team to submit written answers to questions regarding collusion with Russia during the 2016 election; Richard Pinedo, a California man charged with identity fraud for providing fake bank accounts to Russians, has been sentenced to 6 months in prison; GOP operative Peter Smith, who was searching for Hillary Clinton's "lost" emails until his death last year, had a relationship with Michael Flynn as early as 2015; Trump spoke with Jeff Sessions' own chief of staff about replacing Sessions as attorney general; Trump's lawyers argued that exploiting stolen information, like hacked emails, is protected by free speech; bipartisan senators introduced legislation to block "any persons from foreign adversaries" from owning or having an interest in vendors that administer U.S. elections; Julian Assange has had his internet partially restored by the Ecuadorian embassy in London in which he has sought refuge.

Week of Sept 30 - Oct 6

Last Week In One Sentence: GOP operative and anti-Trumper, Cheri Jacobus, said the investigation of an email hacking/catfishing scheme that targeted her has been forwarded to Robert Mueller; Russia's Deputy Attorney General, who allegedly directed the foreign operations of Natalia Veselnitskaya, died last week in a mysterious helicopter crash in Russia; the pilot of the helicopter had two bullet wounds; the Russian sovereign wealth fund leader with whom Erik Prince met in the Seychelles, Kirill Dmitriev, "reached out to at least three additional individuals in close contact with the Trump transition team" in the days before Trump's inauguration; GOP operative Peter Smith, who killed himself in an alleged suicide, solicited and raised at least $100k in his search for Clinton's emails; Randy Credico told the Senate Intelligence Committee he would plead the 5th in response to a subpoena; Reddit's CEO admitted that "suspicious" Russian accounts have been active within the past month on the platform; Russian state TV and Russian trolls supported Kavanaugh and condemned what they call "malignant feminism"; Representative Eric Swalwell wrote an op-ed for the Fresno Bee accusing Devin Nunes of burying evidence on Russian meddling to protect Trump and endorsing his opponent, Andrew Janz; a coalition of voting rights activists announced they are filing a federal lawsuit against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp for "using a racially-biased methodology" to remove roughly 700,000 voters from the state's voter rolls; and California's Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Friday banning companies from secretly using automated social media accounts to sell products or influence elections.

Week of Sept 23 - 29

Last Week In One Sentence: A Russian-born American businessman who gave Trump's campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars emailed a Kremlin official in July 2016 offering to brief him on the campaign; Rod Rosenstein was briefly rumored to be fired/to have resigned, but retains his job for now; Rob Goldstone, key to setting up the Trump Tower meeting, said Mueller's team asked him many questions about the relationship between Trump and the Agalarovs; Randy Credico said Roger Stone offered to help pay his legal fees because "he wanted me to be quiet" and "go along with his narrative"; one of the two men suspected of poisoning Sergei Skripal has been identified as a Russian intelligence officer awarded a prestigious medal by Putin; Rand Paul introduced an amendment that would lift sanctions on Russian lawmakers; and a federal judge ruled that a lawsuit against Trump for doing business with foreign governments will be allowed to proceed.

Week of Sept 16 - 22

Last Week In One Sentence: Mueller is investigating millions of dollars in suspicious transactions between planners and participants of the Trump Tower meeting; Michael Cohen spent hours providing interviews to Mueller's team across multiple sessions; Jerome Corsi, an associate of Roger Stone, testified before Mueller's grand jury; Trump directed the FBI and DOJ to declassify and release sensitive documents related to the Russia probe only to walk back his directive later in the week; Russian diplomats hatched a plan to assist Julian Assange in fleeing the U.K. and taking refuge in Russia, where he would be safe from extradition; Russian officials have been visiting Maria Butina and Yevgeniy Nikulin, two Russian nationals held in U.S. jails; Nikki Haley, called an emergency meeting of the security council to accuse Russia of "cheating" on sanctions against North Korea; Google confirmed the Gmail accounts of an unspecified number of senators and staff have been targeted by hacking attempts by a foreign government; and another website of a Democratic campaign in California was attacked.

Week of Sept 9 - 15

Last Week In One Sentence: Investigators are looking into suspicious bank transactions that occurred around key dates in the Trump-Russia saga; Paul Manafort entered a plea deal with Robert Mueller in which he pledged his full cooperation; Trump signed an executive order meant to punish foreign entities for interfering in U.S. elections, but experts and lawmakers see it as inadequate and say we're still "woefully unprepared"; George Papadopoulos's wife told ABC that Mueller's team suspect she was/is a Russian spy; Britain identified two men it says tried to murder former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia; Russia is considered to be the main suspect behind the mysterious attacks on U.S. officials in Cuba and China that led to brain injuries; and 600 Russia-linked accounts collectively sent 10,000 tweets about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) between 2014 to May 2018.

Week of Sept 2 - 8

Last Week In One Sentence: Paul Manafort tried to negotiate a plea deal and avoid a second trial; George Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in jail for lying to the FBI; Papadopoulos stated Trump's team was "fully aware" he was actively attempting to set up a Trump-Putin meeting when Trump was a candidate; DNC lawyers revealed that Joseph Mifsud, the London-based professor who told Papadopoulos of Russian "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, may be dead; Senator Chuck Grassley tried to bypass a judge to obtain Christopher Steele's deposition and discovery items from the Russian tech executive suing him in a civil case for defamation; the judge declined to release the information; a group of Republicans called on Trump to declassify sensitive documents related to Mueller's probe and make other documents public related to Bruce Ohr; New York federal prosecutors are looking into whether executives and officials in the Trump Organization violated campaign finance laws.

Week of Aug 26 - Sept 1

Last Week In One Sentence: Sam Patten pleaded guilty to failing to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent; feds are investigating suspicious transactions made from the Russian embassy to Russia diplomats days after Trump's election and inauguration; George Papadopoulos sentencing document states Trump and Sessions were supportive of a Trump-Putin summit during the campaign, contradicting Sessions’ sworn testimony; Brett Kavanaugh will reportedly not commit to recuse himself from Trump or Mueller-related matters; the DOJ and the FBI worked together between 2014-2016 to try to turn Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska into an informant; Christopher Steele told Bruce Ohr that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump "over a barrel" and that Carter Page had met with higher-level Russian officials than previously acknowledged; a State Department unit created two years ago to fight Russian disinformation campaigns still has not received the funding dedicated by Congress in 2016; and a new poll revealed 60% of Americans disapprove of Trump, while 63% of Americans support Mueller's investigation.

Week of Aug 19 - 25

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Week of Aug 12 - 18

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Week of Aug 5 - 11

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Week of July 29 - Aug 4

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Week of July 22 - 28

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