What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

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

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Day 245: Innocuous.

1/ Writing through an intermediary, Paul Manafort offered to give private briefings to a Russian billionaire during the 2016 campaign. Oleg Deripaska is an aluminum magnate and former business associate of Manafort's with close ties to the Kremlin. It is unclear if Deripaska received or acted on the offer. (Washington Post)

  • Manafort also used his Trump campaign email account to communicate with Ukrainian political operative Konstantin Kilimnik, seeking payment for previous consulting work in Ukraine. Kilimnik is suspected to have ties to Russian intelligence operations. Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said it is "no secret" Manafort "was owed money by past clients." (Politico)

  • The Department of Justice is seeking documents related to a New York law firm's handling of a 2012 draft report commissioned by Manafort on Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom's report was used by the president's allies to justify the imprisonment of a Yanukovych rival. The document request may or may not be part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. (New York Times)

2/ Trump is reportedly leaning toward decertifying Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal reached in 2015. Doing so would force Congress to decide whether the United States will pull out of the agreement. Trump faces international pressure not to withdraw. (NBC News)

3/ Trump pledged to impose new sanctions on North Korea, but did not offer further details. In New York, he met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In his United Nations address, Moon called for resolving the nuclear crisis in a "stable manner." (Bloomberg)

4/ Nicaragua plans to join the Paris Agreement "soon," leaving the United States and Syria as the only two countries outside the climate pact. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega had previously refused to enter the agreement because it did not go far enough in combatting climate change and was "not very strict with the richest nations of the planet." (Bloomberg / CleanTechnica)

5/ Trump appointed several campaign staffers with no agriculture or policy experience to Department of Agriculture posts. An analysis of documents also suggests some appointees lack the relevant credentials required for their governmental salary levels. In a statement, USDA defended the hires, writing that all “appointees have skills that are applicable to the roles they fill.” (Politico)

6/ In a speech to African leaders at the United Nations, Trump twice mispronounced Namibia as "Nambia" as he praised the country's health care system. Before later White House clarification, it was unclear if Trump was referring to Namibia, Zambia, or Gambia. In the same speech, Trump said Africa has "tremendous business potential" and that he has "so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich." (CNN)

poll/ More than 70 percent of Americans support Trump's recent deal with Democrats. Less than a quarter support his handling of race relations and the violence in Charlottesville. (NBC News/Wall Street Journal)

Day 244: Nothing there.

1/ Paul Manafort's spokesman responded to reports of Manafort's wiretapping, arguing "it is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA warrant." Jason Maloni said DOJ should "immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous administration's effort to surveil a political opponent." The original FISA warrant was granted before Trump declared his candidacy. (CBS News)

2/ Special counsel Robert Mueller sent a document to the White House requesting details on Trump's behavior in office. The request encompasses Trump's Oval Office meeting with Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak the day after the firing of James Comey, as well as documents concerning the firing of Mike Flynn and the administration's response to news of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting organized by Donald Trump Jr. (New York Times)

3/ Mueller interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about the Comey firing. The interview occurred in June or July. Since Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, Rosenstein is ultimately in charge of overseeing the Russia probe. (Wall Street Journal)

4/ The Senate will likely begin voting on the latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act next Wednesday. The Graham-Cassidy plan has received pushback from a variety of legislators, as well as from a bipartisan group of 10 governors. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray continue to negotiate for a bipartisan approach to health care reform. (Axios / Washinton Post)

5/ The Trump administration is shifting oversight of international gun sales from State to the Commerce Department. The move will make it easier to sell non-military firearms to foreign buyers. An administration official, noting the increased flexibility, said, "You could really turn the spigot on if you do it the right way." (Reuters)

6/ Erdoğan said Trump apologized to him for the indictment of Turkish security personnel following their clash with anti-Erdoğan protestors in Washington in May. The Turkish president also said Trump told him "he was going to follow up on this issue when we come to the United States within the framework of an official visit." The White House denied the apology had occurred. (The Guardian)

7/ Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price reportedly spent tens of thousands of dollars on private flights last week, breaking with his predecessors. Price did not comment on the expenditures, but a spokesman said charter flights are acceptable when "commercial aircraft cannot reasonably accommodate travel requirements." Price flew to Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. (Politico)

8/ Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called Trump "the new Hitler" following Trump's speech at the United Nations. Trump has openly criticized the Maduro regime for weeks, citing the decline of democracy in the Latin American country. Said Maduro: "Nobody threatens Venezuela and nobody owns Venezuela." (NBC News)

9/ At a United Nations luncheon, Melania Trump condemned bullying. Her speech follows a previous pledge to launch a White House anti-bullying initiative. In her speech, Trump argued that children should never "feel hungry, stalked, frightened, terrorized, bullied, isolated or afraid, with nowhere to turn." (Politico)

poll/ Nearly half of voters support "a single-payer health care system, where all Americans would get their health insurance from one government plan." Only 35 percent of voters oppose such a plan. (Politico/Morning Consult)