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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

This post has been updated.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions encountered the Russian ambassador twice during the 2016 campaign, and by Sessions' second interaction with Sergey Kislyak, talk of Russia's role in hacking the Democratic National Committee already was playing an outsized role in the election.

The then-senator did not reveal that he had met with the Russian official during his confirmation hearing. Sessions has dismissed concern about his failure to disclose the matter, and his spokeswoman emphasized that that at the hearing Sessions was asked specifically about discussions with Russian officials about the election.

There's no evidence Sessions and Kislyak discussed the campaign in either of their two meetings. Concerns about Russian cyberattacks on the DNC and other organizations, as well as ties between certain Trump associates and Russia, were all over the news by the time of their second meeting, however.

In the days immediately preceding that Capitol Hill sitdown, Hillary Clinton hinted there might be a link between the DNC hack and Trump’s candidacy, while Trump heaped praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump even appeared on the Kremlin-aligned RT television network on the same day Sessions sat down with Kislyak, telling Larry King that it's "unlikely" Russia was trying to influence the U.S. election.

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Two top Republicans in the House on Thursday morning indicated that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should consider recusing himself from investigations related to Russia given the revelation that he failed to disclose two meetings with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that it would be "easier" for Sessions to recuse himself, and later told "Fox and Friends" that he never called on Sessions to recuse himself from Russia probes.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said in a tweet that Sessions should clarify his comments about contacts with Russia during his confirmation hearing and said that the attorney should recuse himself, appearing to refer to probes into any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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This post has been updated.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Russia's ambassador to the United States twice before the election while he was a senator and also a surrogate for President Donald Trump's campaign.

The Washington Post first broke the news and a spokeswoman for Sessions, Sarah Isgur Flores, acknowledged that Sessions did meet with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The attorney general did not disclose his contact with Kislyak during his confirmation hearing in January.

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Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday morning defended President Donald Trump's recent attacks on the media, arguing that Trump is just pushing back against "fabricated" stories and "unfair criticism."

During an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Pence avoided directly answering the hosts' questions about Trump's constant criticisms of the press and repeatedly said that Trump was merely responding to unfair coverage.

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President Donald Trump has decided to delay signing a new executive order to replace the order to suspend the refugee program and bar travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, according to reports from CNN and Politico late Tuesday night.

The President was initially scheduled to sign the new executive action on Wednesday, but the administration decided to postpone the signing so that the order would come down during a new news cycle, according to the reports.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tuesday said that members of Congress have not seen evidence yet to support reports that associates of President Donald Trump were in contact with Russian officials before the election.

"We have seen no evidence so far based upon the investigations that have already been conducted," Ryan told reporters when asked if he was confident that Trump aides were not communicating with Russian officials.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tuesday said that Republicans are united in their effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, despite some conservative House members' opposition to a draft of repeal legislation that recently circulated.

"Look, you'll have a lot of turning on any kind of legislative product like this," Ryan told reporters when asked about pushback from conservative members. "This is a plan we're all working on together."

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