Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

As Tuesday’s special election to fill an open House seat in Georgia drew closer, President Donald Trump upped his attacks on Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate leading the race.

The President recorded a robocall for the Republican National Committee urging Republican voters to get out to the polls on Tuesday, but did not endorse a specific Republican candidate.

“Liberal democrats from outside of Georgia are spending millions and millions of dollars trying to take your Republican congressional seat away from you. Don’t let them do it,” Trump said on the call, according to The Hill. “Only you can stop the super-liberal Democrats and Nancy Pelosi’s group, and in particular Jon Ossoff. If you don’t vote tomorrow, Ossoff will raise your taxes, destroy your healthcare, and flood our country with illegal immigrants.”

Trump’s robocall came as he fired off several tweets about the race to fill the House seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Late Monday night, Trump said that a runoff would count as a victory for the GOP, given the crowded Republican field. (Tuesday’s race will function as a jungle primary, with candidates from all parties competing against each other, and if no candidate clears 50 percent, the top two will head to a June runoff.)

Trump followed up Tuesday morning and singled out Ossoff.


During a Monday night interview on MSNBC, Ossoff offered a mild criticism of Trump.

“It was one of the most divisive and destructive presidential races in U.S. history and I think that many have been hoping that the president will heal some of those wounds, show good faith and a more inclusive approach to governance,” Ossoff told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews when first asked about Trump. “So far, I don’t think that he’s allayed those concerns among those who believe that that divisive approach to government is not right for the United States.”

Asked again to describe Trump, Ossoff said, “I have great respect for the office. I don’t have great personal admiration for the man himself.”

When asked yet again, Ossoff said he does not know Trump personally but that he would be willing to work with the President on an infrastructure package.

Ossoff has been leading the crowded field by a wide margin, but polls show him falling short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Democrats have been hopeful from the outset that they can use anti-Trump energy to flip the ruby-red district Democratic, especially given that Trump only won the district by one point in November.

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Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, is working with a Chinese billionaire to help him navigate U.S. building contracts should Trump push through an infrastructure plan, the Financial Times reported Monday.

Manafort met last week with Yan Jiehe, the founder of Pacific Construction Group in Shanghai. Yan told the Financial Times ahead of the meeting that Manafort would help him with the process of winning infrastructure contracts in the United States.

A spokesman for Manafort denied that the former Trump aide was helping Yan land  infrastructure projects, however.

“The Pacific Construction Group was an impromptu meeting added to Mr Manafort’s schedule at their request because the Chinese are interested in US infrastructure,” Jason Maloni told the Financial Times. “However, his work does not involve any current or future infrastructure projects or contracts in the United States. As he has said before, he is not engaged in government affairs or lobbying for corporations, governments or individuals.”

Yan seemed confident he could win a construction bid in the United States.

“I will not seek out Trump. He will seek me out,” he told the Financial Times. “In the entire world, I am definitely the most ideal privately owned unit to invest in construction. In the whole world, there’s not another company equal to Pacific Construction.”

Manafort, whose previous work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine has been subject to intense scrutiny, said last week that he would belatedly register with the U.S. government as a foreign agent. Following a slew of recent reports about Manafort’s ties to Russia, the White House has tried to distance Trump from Manafort, while the FBI and congressional committees probe any potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia.


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President Donald Trump on Monday morning weighed in on the special election to fill an open House seat in Georgia by criticizing the leading Democratic candidate as “super liberal.”

The special election takes place on Tuesday.

Democrat Jon Ossoff has been leading the polls for the 18-candidate race to fill the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Democrats have been hopeful that they can channel anti-Trump fervor into a win, especially given that Trump only won the district by one point in the November election.

The race will function as a jungle primary, with all candidates regardless of party competing on one ballot. If no one candidate clears 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will head to a run-off in June.

Ossoff responded to Trump’s “misinformed” tweet in a Monday morning statement.

“While I’m glad the President is interested in the race, he is misinformed,” he said in a statement. “I’m focused on bringing fresh leadership, accountability, and bipartisan problem solving to Washington to cut wasteful spending and grow metro Atlanta’s economy into the Silicon Valley of the South.”

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Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) faced tough questions on Saturday at a breakfast event with local chambers of commerce, which are typically friendly territory for Republicans.

A few attendees at the breakfast said they weren’t fans of either Rokita or Donald Trump and peppered the congressman with questions about the President, health care and climate change, according to the Journal-Review.

Members of the audience repeatedly interrupted Rokita as he tried to answer questions, prompting the congressman to ask the crowd to be civil, the Journal-Review reported.

“This is a free country and we have free speech rights,” Rokita said, per the Journal-Review. “But, we also have to be civil. I learn from constructive dialog, but I will not tolerate disruptive discussion because that is not fair to people who came to exchange ideas and learn something.”

The congressman also addressed House Republicans’ failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, arguing that Republicans need to take their time replacing the law.

“We learned we need to take more time and get it right,” Rokita said, per the Joural-Review. “We need to explain it better to get the next one passed.”


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Nearly three months into his presidency, and President Donald Trump appears to still sit alone in the morning with Twitter while watching the news.

He published a series of tweets Monday morning while watching cable news, praising “Fox and Friends” and criticizing other members of the media.

He also promoted a humor book titled “Reasons To Vote For Democrats,” which is filled with blank pages.

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During a town hall event last week, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) tried to defend Republican legislation rolling back an Internet privacy rule by arguing that Americans don’t have to use the Internet.

His defense came when a town hall attendee on Thursday asked about the Republican bill allowing Internet providers to sell customers’ browsing history.

“Nobody’s got to use the Internet at all,” Sensenbrenner told the attendee. “And the thing is that if you start regulating the Internet like a utility, if we did that right at the beginning, we would have no Internet.”

“Internet companies have invested an awful lot of money in having almost universal service now. The fact is is that, you know, I don’t think it’s my job to tell you that you cannot get advertising for your information being sold. My job, I think, is to tell you that you have the opportunity to do it, and then you take it upon yourself to make that choice,” the congressman continued. “That’s what the law has been, and I think we ought to have more choices rather than fewer choices with the government controlling our everyday lives.”

Watch the clip via Democratic opposition research firm American Bridge:

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During a visit to South Korea and the Demilitarized Zone, Vice President Mike Pence said that “all options are on the table” when it comes to preventing North Korea from using a nuclear weapon.

“The United States and our allies have stood together for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.  We hope to achieve this objective through peaceable means.  But all options are on the table,” he said in Seoul after a visit to the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea.

The Vice President said that “the era of strategic patience is over.”

During his visit to the Demilitarized Zone, Pence told CNN that the U.S. hopes to stop North Korea’s nuclear program peacefully.

“We’re going to abandon the failed policy of strategic patience. But we’re going to redouble our efforts to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on North Korea. Our hope is that we can resolve this issue peaceably,” he said.

Pence called on China to do more to pressure North Korea.

“I know the President was heartened by his discussions with President Xi (Jinping). We’ve seen China begin to take some actions to bring pressure on North Korea but there needs to be more,” Pence told CNN.

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President Donald Trump will not make White House visitor logs available to the public while he is in office, breaking from precedent set by his predecessor Barack Obama.

White House Communications Director Michael Dubke said in a statement that the administration would keep the logs secret due to “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.”

The logs of visitors to the White House complex are maintained by the Secret Service. The White House will still fulfill Freedom of Information Act Requests for records that fall under areas that are considered agencies, like the Office of Management and Budget, but it does not plan to release logs of of those entering the complex to visit Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, or members of the White House senior staff.

In his statement, Dubke said that the Trump administration’s decision is one “the Obama White House successfully defended in federal court,” referring to a 2013 appeals court ruling that held the Executive Branch does not need to release White House visitor logs.

Time Magazine first reported the announcement. The Trump administration will not make the logs public until five years after Trump has left office, according to Time.

In response to lawsuits, President Barack Obama adopted a policy that made the White House visitor logs public but also gave the White House counsel power to redact log entries, including personal visits from friends.

The Trump White House will also decline to renew a contract for Open.WhiteHouse.gov, the site where the Obama administration published visitor logs along with other data.

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ choice to help lead the department’s Office for Civil Rights once complained that in college she had experienced discrimination for being white, ProPublica reported Friday.

Candice Jackson was tapped to serve as the deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Civil Rights, a position that does not require Senate confirmation. But she will serve as the interim head of the office until the assistant secretary has been named. At the office, Jackson will be charged with helping protect students from discrimination.

She once recounted her experience in a class at Stanford University in the 1990s, where she was an undergraduate student, in a piece for the Stanford Review. She complained that she was unable to join a section of a math class that offered minority students additional help with tough problems, according to ProPublica.

“I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” Jackson wrote, per ProPublica. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming competence or incompetence based on race.”

Jackson also wrote an op-ed when she was an undergraduate that opposed affirmative action, arguing that it “promotes racial discrimination,” according to the report.

“As with most liberal solutions to a problem, giving special assistance to minority students is a band-aid solution to a deep problem,” she wrote, as quoted by ProPublica. “No one, least of all the minority student, is well served by receiving special treatment based on race or ethnicity.”

Asked for an interview by ProPublica, Jackson referred the outlet to the Department of Education. The Education Department did not respond to the publication’s request for a statement.

Read the whole thing here.


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Intelligence agencies in Great Britain and other European countries intercepted communications between Trump staffers and Russian officials during the 2o16 campaign, and shared that information with the United States, according to reports in The Guardian and CNN.

The Guardian first reported the revelation on Thursday, and CNN later confirmed that the foreign agencies caught those communications.

GCHQ first noticed “interactions” in late 2015 and over the next six months several intelligence agencies in the West caught communications between Trump staffers and Russian officials, according to The Guardian. The countries that shared information with the U.S. in addition to the U.K. included Germany, Poland, Estonia and Australia, per The Guardian.

The Guardian reported that “GCHQ played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation.”

The British and European agencies were not conducting surveillance of aides to President Donald Trump, but were conducting surveillance of Russian officials, according to CNN.

The revelation follows a claim by Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano that the U.S. asked Great Britain to spy on Trump. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer then cited Napolitano to back up Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that Trump Tower was wiretapped. GCHQ denied Napolitano’s claim, calling it “utterly ridiculous,” and the White House later apologized for parroting it.

However, the reports in The Guardian and CNN did not suggest that the U.S. asked other intelligence agencies to surveil Trump staffers. Both outlets reported that the foreign intelligence agencies picked up the communications while surveilling Russian officials.

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