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Alice Ollstein

Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.

Articles by Alice

The House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to kill a resolution that sought to force full disclosure of President Donald Trump’s business conflicts of interest and his administration’s alleged backchannel dealings with the Russian government. All 18 Republican members of the committee voted to report the resolution "unfavorably" to the House.

The author of the resolution, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), told TPM that he and other Democrats will continue to press this issue with subsequent resolutions.

“Even if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of the Trump administration and you think they’ve done nothing wrong, get this out of the way early and don’t let it fester,” he said. “And if they have done something wrong, we need to know it. It’s better for the country either way. Most of the American people want these questions answered.”

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Just hours before President Trump's first address before Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came out against the deep cuts to the State Department proposed in the President's budget blueprint.

McConnell bluntly told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill that a budget with such cuts could "probably not" pass the Senate.

"Just speaking for myself, I think the diplomatic portion of the federal budget is very important, and you get results there a lot cheaper than you do on the defense side," he said. "I'm not in favor of reducing what we call the '150 account' to that extent."

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For the last six years, the Justice Department has sided with the citizens and civil rights groups fighting Texas' voter ID law, which a federal judge at one point found to be intentionally discriminatory against black and Latino voters. But its position changed Monday when the department decided to drop its claim that Republican state lawmakers enacted the law to make it harder for minorities to vote.

"This signals to voters that they will not be protected under this administration," said Danielle Lang, the deputy director of voting rights at the Campaign Legal Center, which is challenging Texas' law in court.

The reversal, on the eve of a key hearing in the case, is a clear sign of the DOJ's direction under Attorney General Jeff Sessions—a longtime advocate of voter ID laws and other voting restrictions. The department signaled its intentions last week when it joined with the state of Texas to ask the court to hold off on judging the constitutionality of the law until Republican lawmakers can modify it. The court rejected this request.

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND—When President Donald Trump took the stage Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he was greeted with cheers, chants of "USA," and dozens of Russian flags.

Two young, progressive activists from DC, Jason Charter and Ryan Clayton with the group Americans Take Action, purchased tickets to the conference, and handed out nearly 1,000 flags to attendees as a prank. After they were thrown out of the conference, they told TPM they wanted to "shed light on an important issue"—namely, the drip of revelations of backchannel communications between the Russian government and the Trump campaign—and allow people to "get a laugh out of their day."

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND–In 2016, Donald Trump canceled his planned speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference amid rumblings of an audience walkout. Several speakers used their time slots that year to bash Trump, and the crowd vigorously booed each mention of his name.

A year later, a newly inaugurated President Trump and his staffers, advisers, cabinet members, and allies dominated the event.

“By tomorrow, this will be TPAC,” joked White House counselor Kellyanne Conway as she sang her boss’ praises to thousands of attendees.

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND—On the main stage of the Conservative Political Action Conference, conservative pundit Kayleigh McEnany gave a shout out to President Donald Trump's decision Wednesday night to repeal an executive order that protected transgender students' right to use the bathroom and locker room that corresponds with their gender identity.

"President Trump rescinded the Obama guidelines on transgender," McEnany said, provoking a loud cheer from the audience.

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND—Richard Spencer's attempt to troll the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington, D.C. did not last long.

Not invited by CPAC organizers, the white nationalist and self-identified leader of the alt-right purchased a ticket and showed up anyway. Spencer sat in the audience wearing a brown three-piece suit and a smirk as one of the conference's organizers gave a speech titled "The Alt Right Ain't Right At All."

Less than an hour later, Spencer was escorted out of the hotel by security.

“He is not welcome here," CPAC Communications Director Ian Walters told TPM. "His views are repugnant and have absolutely nothing to do with what goes on here.”

Before leaving the hotel, Spencer told TPM why he decided to attend and why he believes conservatives are moving in his direction.

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In a sign that the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress aren't prepared to burn down Obamacare just yet, they have jointly asked for a delay in a lawsuit that was originally intended to undermine the Affordable Care Act, back when President Obama would have had to handle the fallout.

Instead, with Republicans in control of all of Washington, the House of Representatives and the Justice Department have asked a federal appeals court to hold off on ruling on the fate of a key pillar of the Affordable Care Act—the subsidies paid to insurance companies to help keep out-of-pocket costs down for low-income patients.

Had the Trump administration dropped its appeal, the multi-billion dollar subsidies could have ceased, triggering chaos in the insurance market and likely pushing several companies to either sharply increase their premiums or cease participating in the exchanges altogether.

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North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who narrowly unseated Republican Pat McCrory in November, announced Tuesday that he is reversing course in a major voting rights case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state will no longer defend a series of voting restrictions passed in 2013 by the GOP-controlled legislature and signed by McCrory that a federal appeals court has ruled constitute unconstitutional "race-based vote suppression."

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