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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

After Democrat Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor race on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump wasted no time in noting that Gillespie did not fully embrace the Trump administration during the campaign.

Trump suggested that the distance Gillespie kept from the administration cost him the governor’s mansion. The President also noted that Republicans won four special elections for House seats this year in an apparent attempt to paint the results in Virginia as a fluke.

Trump backed Gillespie during the Virginia gubernatorial race in several tweets, but he did not hit the campaign trail for the Virginia Republican. Gillespie did not run explicitly as a pro-Trump candidate but employed some ads touting policies favored by Trump.

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Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) told the other lawmakers of the Arizona congressional delegation that she will run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republic and Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The Hill’s Scott Wong confirmed that McSally told her colleagues about her plans to enter the GOP primary.

Flake announced in October that he will not seek re-election in 2018, saying that there “may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party.”

McSally will face off against at least one other Republican in the primary, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, and other Republicans are likely to announce primary bids now that Flake has ducked out. Ward had already announced a primary challenge to Flake in the Republican primary and declared his retirement a “victory.”

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President Donald Trump has brought his love of fast food into the White House.

Trump asked Keith Schiller, his former body man, to get him a meal from the local McDonald’s when the kitchen in the White House was unable to make a burger and fried apple pie to his liking, according to a Politico report out Monday night.

Schiller, a longtime confidante who left the White House in September, acted as a gatekeeper for Trump in the West Wing. While working in the White House, he was often the first person to see Trump in the morning and last to see him at night, insiders told Politico. He also hand-delivered a Trump’s termination letter for former FBI Director James Comey to the bureau’s headquarters. Comey was in California at the time and learned of the firing on TV.

Schiller will sit for an interview with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, where he will face questions about a 2013 trip to Moscow. Schiller accompanied Trump to Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe Pageant while he was the director of security for the Trump Organization. The committee will reportedly ask Schiller about the dossier alleging ties between Trump and Russia — the dossier claims that Russia obtained compromising information about Trump during that 2013 trip.

Correction: This post originally reported that Schiller delivered Trump’s termination letter to Comey. Schiller delivered the letter to the FBI headquarters, but Comey was in California at the time.

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Three former aides to Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) told Politico that the congresswoman ignored complaints from them about her chief of staff’s treatment of women.

The three unnamed ex-staffers, who are all women, told Politico that they did not use the term “sexual harassment” when speaking to Lawrence about their concerns, but said that they told the congresswoman that women in the office were not comfortable around Dwayne Duron Marshall and that he treated women differently than he did male staffers. One aide told Politico that she told the congresswoman about “inappropriate” comments and physical contact from Marshall. The aides said that Marshall often commented on female staffers’ appearance, and one aide said that Marshall would come up behind her and start rubbing her shoulders, per Politico.

Lawrence denied to Politico that she received any sexual harassment complaints, but she said that she did attempt to address concerns about “management-style issues” with “individual personnel actions.”

“I want to be very clear, very firm, that I had no knowledge of any allegations of sexual harassment in my office, and when I say none, I mean none,” Lawrence told Politico. “I have had individual conversations with some of my employees when they had exit interviews. I’ve had one-on-ones and we have discussed things in the office that they felt we could do better. I have implemented training and other positive forms of correction. … But I have not, and I want to be very clear, have not ever, had an employee — former or present — talk to me about sexual harassment in my office.”

Lawrence is a former sexual harassment complaint investigator and recently introduced legislation to require staffers in Congress to take a sexual harassment training course.

Read Politico’s full report here.

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Two top Trump administration officials will head to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet with a group of Senate Democrats about the Republican tax cut plan, according to reports from the Washington Post and CNN.

Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, will discuss potential changes to the Republican tax plan, unnamed people familiar with the meeting told the Washington Post. Short confirmed the meeting to CNN.

He told CNN that Tuesday’s meeting is not the first time the White House has reached out to Democrats about tax reform. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) organized the meeting, both CNN and the Washington Post reported.

At least eight Democrats will attend the meeting, including Manchin and several moderate Democrats up for re-election next year, according to the Washington Post. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will attend the meeting, per the Post.

House Republican leaders unveiled their tax cut legislation last week, and some Republicans in blue states have already balked at a provision that would repeal a deduction for people who live in states with high local taxes, such as New York and California.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Monday night that his committee will conduct oversight over the Defense Department’s investigation into the Air Force’s failure to report the Texas shooter’s criminal history to the FBI.

“The Air Force has acknowledged that after court-martialing and convicting the perpetrator on charges of domestic assault, it failed to report the conviction to the FBI,” McCain said in a statement. “The Senate Armed Services Committee will conduct rigorous oversight of the Department’s investigation into the circumstances that led to this failure. It’s critical that each of the military services take the steps necessary to ensure that similar mistakes have not occurred and will not occur in the future.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Armed Services Committee, also told CNN Tuesday morning that the Senate should investigate the Air Force’s failure and suggested that the reporting failure is part of a large problem.

“There are court-martials, thousands of them, every year, that involve very serious felonies as well as domestic violence misdemeanors. All of them should be reported,” Blumenthal said on CNN’s “New Day.” “The preliminary information available to me is they’re not being reported, and that is a major lapse in the system.”

The gunman in Sunday’s deadly shooting, Devin Patrick Kelley, had a history of domestic violence. He was discharged for bad conduct from the Air Force in 2014 over a 2012 assault on his ex-wife. Kelley choked his ex-wife and hit her son hard enough to fracture his skull, and served a year of confinement. The Air Force is required by law to report crimes like assault to the FBI but failed to do so.

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President Donald Trump argued Tuesday morning that tougher restrictions on buying guns could have actually made the Sunday shooting in Texas deadlier, given that a bystander with a gun helped stop the shooter.

During a press conference in South Korea, Trump was asked if he would support increased “vetting” for those looking to purchase a gun in the wake of the Texas shooting that left 26 people dead, including several children. The President suggested it may not be an “appropriate question” given that he is in South Korea but responded anyway.

“If you did what you are suggesting it would have made no difference three days ago. And you might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun or a rifle in his truck go out and shoot him and hit him and neutralize him,” Trump said. “And I can only say this, if he didn’t have a gun, instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead. So that’s the way I feel about it.”

The gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley, on Sunday opened fire in a Texas church, killing 26 and wounding about 20 others. After leaving the church, Kelley was confronted by a nearby resident with a gun, police said. He was found dead with three gunshot wounds, including at least one self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

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The British government’s communications regulator ruled on Monday that the Fox News programs anchored by Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson breached the UK’s impartiality rules in segments that aired earlier this year.

The regulator, Ofcom, found that the segments did not provide adequate view points even as opinion programs and therefore broke “due impartiality” standards.

The ruling comes as the British government considers 21st Century Fox’s — the parent company of Fox News — bid to buy British outlet Sky News. Fox has faced significant scrutiny from British regulators after top officials at Fox resigned amid sexual harassment allegations and Fox News faced a lawsuit alleging that the network worked with members of the Trump administration to push a conspiracy theory about a murder DNC staffer.

In September, Ofcom found that “alleged behaviors” at 21st Century Fox were “concerning,” but said that their findings did not warrant additional review. Ofcom also reviewed programs like “Hannity” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” due to complaints about the programs, but found that the shows did not have to meet a “due accuracy requirement” since they are not news programs. The British competition watchdog is now reviewing the proposed merger.

Fox News stopped airing its programs in the UK in August, but Ofcom said Monday that it reviewed outstanding complaints “to ensure there is a complete compliance record and to facilitate public understanding of the Code.”

The regulator found that Hannity’s January 31 segment on President Donald Trump’s travel ban “didn’t include a sufficiently wide range of views, and any alternative opinions put forward during the discussion were dismissed by the presenter.” Ofcom ruled that “Tucker Carlson Tonight” breached impartiality rules with a May 25 segment on the bombing at a concert in Manchester, England because a “discussion about the UK’s security policies did not include an adequate range of viewpoints.”

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White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Monday morning accused liberals of too quickly politicizing mass shootings but never doing anything to help victims.

During an interview on “Fox and Friends,” co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked Conway about tweets from comedian Chelsea Handler criticizing Republicans in the wake of the deadly shooting in Texas.

Conway first told Earhardt that she would not “dignify” Handler’s comment with a response because the tweet was “so beyond any type of reasonable response that anyone should have.” But Conway then proceeded to criticize liberals’ reactions to mass shootings, questioning why “people see politics immediately.”

“It’s just like I said in Las Vegas over a month ago. You had families literally still looking for their loved ones through the rubble and the remains in Las Vegas running from hospital to hospital. There were people who were were injured who then went on to pass away,” Conway said. “And yet people are taking to Twitter in the comfort of their very luxurious lives pointing fingers. And as far as can I tell never really help in between the tweet-storms, never really help charities, never help people to heal, never try to reach across for understanding.”

She blasted people who “see politics and Trump derangement in every single thing they do,” arguing that it’s “disrespectful to the dead.”

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Following the deadly shooting Sunday in Texas, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) issued a lengthy statement calling on Congress to enact gun control legislation.

Murphy, one of the most vocal gun control advocates in Congress, tore into Republican lawmakers who vote in favor of gun lobbyists.

“The paralysis you feel right now – the impotent helplessness that washes over you as news of another mass slaughter scrolls across the television screen – isn’t real. It’s a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby, designed to assure that no laws are passed to make America safer, because those laws would cut into their profits,” he said in a statement.

“My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach, once again, when I heard of today’s shooting in Texas,” Murphy continued. “My heart dropped further when I thought about the growing macabre club of families in Las Vegas and Orlando and Charleston and Newtown, who have to relive their own day of horror every time another mass killing occurs.”

He wrote that mass shootings are not “inevitable” and that the mass carnage from guns is unique to the United States.

“As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets,” he said in the statement. “Ask yourself – how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents.”

Read the full statement from Murphy:

The paralysis you feel right now – the impotent helplessness that washes over you as news of another mass slaughter scrolls across the television screen – isn’t real. It’s a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby, designed to assure that no laws are passed to make America safer, because those laws would cut into their profits. My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach, once again, when I heard of today’s shooting in Texas. My heart dropped further when I thought about the growing macabre club of families in Las Vegas and Orlando and Charleston and Newtown, who have to relive their own day of horror every time another mass killing occurs.

None of this is inevitable. I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate.

As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets. Ask yourself – how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents.

My heart breaks for Sutherland Springs. Just like it still does for Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Charleston. And Aurora. And Blacksburg. And Newtown. Just like it does every night for Chicago. And New Orleans. And Baltimore. And Bridgeport. The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic. The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something.

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