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

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Day 95: "Good press."

1/ Trump pushes for border wall funding in spending dispute with Democrats. Aides have stressed that funding for a border wall and a vote on an effort to repeal and replace Obamacare could both be accomplished this week despite a budget deadline looming that could lead to a government shutdown. (ABC News)

  • Nancy Pelosi calls Trump’s border wall “immoral, expensive, unwise.” The Trump administration is willing to push a government shutdown if funding for the border wall is not included in a bill to fund the government this week. (NBC News)
  • The border wall would be “catastrophic” for the environment and endangered species. (NBC News)

2/ As a government shutdown looms, lawmakers could pass a short-term spending bill that would keep the government open in the interim while a longer-term measure is finalized. (New York Times)

3/ The French president called on voters to reject far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and back Emmanuel Macron to succeed him. President Hollande said “France’s make-up, its unity, its membership of Europe and its place in the world” are all at stake. (BBC)

4/ The Senate probe into Trump’s connection to Russia has no full-time staff. Seven part-time staffers are working on the inquiry, none with significant investigative experience, and no interviews with key individuals have been conducted. (Daily Beast)

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee has made little progress in its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It is increasingly stymied by partisan divisions that are jeopardizing the future of the inquiry. (Yahoo News)

5/ A California Democrat called Attorney General Jeff Sessions “a racist and a liar,” after Sessions’s comments about a federal judge in Hawaii. (The Hill)

6/ Defense Secretary Mattis is in Afghanistan to discuss war needs and how best to confront Russia for providing machine guns and other medium-weight weapons to the Taliban. (ABC News)

7/ Republican donors, leaders, and candidates worry the 2018 midterms will be a referendum on Trump’s performance. Republicans are expressing early concern over Trump’s lack of legislative accomplishments, his record-low approval ratings, and the overall dysfunction that’s gripped his administration. (Politico)

8/ Anti-Semitic incidents have surged since the election of Trump, and a “heightened political atmosphere” has played a role in the rise of bomb threats and cemetery desecration to assaults and bullying. (Reuters)

9/ Trump blasts approval rating polls as “fake news” conducted by media outlets whose polling about last year’s presidential election had proven incorrect. (Politico)

10/ “When I won,” Trump thought, “now I’ll get good press.” Once again, Trump displays a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the media, which is to act as a check on power. (Washington Post)

  • Here’s the full transcript of an Oval Office interview between Trump and Associated Press White House Correspondent Julie Pace. (Associated Press)
  • Trump: I gave “Face the Nation” the highest ratings “since the World Trade Center came down.” (The Hill)

11/ As the carrier group heads for Korean waters, China calls for restraint. The deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group has angered North Korea, which called it “an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade.” The US and Japan have begun joint naval drills in the region. (Reuters)

12/ The entire US Senate to go to the White House for a North Korea briefing. All 100 senators have been asked to attend the briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It’s unusual for the entire Senate to go to an event like this at the White House. (NBC News)

13/ Trump wants to cut the corporate rate to 15%, even if it means a loss of revenue and exacerbating the procedural and partisan hurdles he faces in search of his first major legislative victory. (Wall Street Journal)

Day 94: Rest easy.

1/ Jeff Sessions says DREAMers, like “everyone that enters the country unlawfully,” are “subject to being deported.” On Friday, Trump said, “We aren’t looking to do anything right now” about DREAMers and that young people protected under this policy “should rest easy.” (ABC News)

  • DHS Secretary John Kelly reaffirmed Trump’s claim that DREAMers could “rest easy” despite heightened fears of deportation. He said that undocumented immigrants would face deportation if they break US law, however. (CBS News)

2/ Sessions: We’ll get the border wall paid for “one way or the other” noting that he does not expect the Mexican government to outright pay for Trump’s border wall. Rather, Trump has threatened to target cash transfers from people within the US to people in Mexico. (CNN)

  • Trump’s push for the border wall threatens to cause a government shutdown. Officials are worried that Trump won’t sign a funding bill without money for his wall. (The Guardian)

3/ French election: Macron and Le Pen are projected to advance to the runoff election. Polls closed in France’s bitterly divisive presidential election and early projections suggest Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have made it through to the second round runoff after securing 24% and 21.8% of the vote, respectively. The centrist and far-right candidates will face each other in presidential runoff on May 7. (CNN)

4/ The Trump administration is pushing for a vote this week in the House to replace Obamacare. Trump tweeted that Obama’s healthcare program is “in serious trouble.” House members, however, return from recess on Tuesday and are expected to concentrate on a must-pass bill to keep the federal government funded beyond April 28. (Bloomberg)

  • Paul Ryan promised to keep the government open but makes no promises on health care. (Washington Post)

5/ The White House offers conflicting details of Trump’s tax plan after he tweeted that tax reform and reduction will be announced Wednesday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested the announcement would pursue a long-term overhaul of the tax code. But, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney cast doubt on Mnuchin’s statements, saying the White House still hasn’t decided whether to pursue a long-term or short-term overhaul. (Washington Post)

6/ More than 11,000 women in all 50 states plan to run for political office. Several dozen are considering runs to challenge House Republican incumbents.(Washington Post)

7/ North Korea detains a third US citizen. The Korean-American accounting teacher was arrested as he attempted to leave the country. Pyongyang University of Science and Technology says the arrest had nothing to do with his work as a teacher, but speculated that it was due to “some other activities… such as helping an orphanage.” (Reuters)

8/ North Korea is “ready to sink” a US aircraft carrier heading for the peninsula. State media warned that the USS Carl Vinson could be sunk “with a single strike” and threatened to strike Australia with nuclear weapons if it remained an ally of the US. (BBC)

poll/ 42% of Americans approve of Trump’s job performance, the lowest recorded at this stage of a presidency dating back to Dwight Eisenhower. (Washington Post)

poll/ 57% believe the government should do more to solve problems and help people. 39% said the government is doing too many things that are better left to business and individuals. (Wall Street Journal)

poll/ 96% of Trump voters say they’d do it again today. (ABC News)