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

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, on Monday said that he will not launch a new investigation into Russian hacking now that the CIA has concluded that the Russian government tried to meddle in the 2016 election and aid Donald Trump.

"The House Intelligence Committee is conducting vigorous oversight of the investigations into election-related cyber attacks. Seeing as cyber attacks, including Russian attacks, have been one of the committee’s top priorities for many years, we’ve held extensive briefings and hearings on the topic," Nunes said in a statement. "As the FBI, CIA, and other elements of the Intelligence Community continue their investigations into these attacks, the House Intelligence Committee will remain a vigilant monitor of their efforts. We will also closely oversee the production of the report on these attacks requested by President Obama to ensure its analytical integrity."

"At this time I do not see any benefit in opening further investigations, which would duplicate current committee oversight efforts and Intelligence Community inquiries," Nunes, a member of Trump's transition team, concluded.

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The Republican sponsors of a so-called "religious freedom" bill plan on re-introducing the legislation next year in the hopes that Donald Trump's election will boost chances for the bill to be signed into law, Buzzfeed News reported.

The bill, the First Amendment Defense Act, would ban the federal government from revoking tax exemptions from or denying grants to individuals or corporations with religious or "moral" beliefs opposing same-sex marriage.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the legislation last year, and a counterpart measure was filed in the House, but neither bill made it to a full vote in either the House or Senate.

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Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, on Monday morning defended the President-elect's comments casting doubt on conclusions from the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the U.S. elections and dismissed the reports as just another excuse for Hillary Clinton's loss in the presidential race.

"First it was Jim Comey’s fault, then 'Let’s have a recount' that wasted millions of dollars and everybody’s time that went nowhere, then it’s Russian interference, then it’s a bunch of people in a movement that we have disavowed many times," Conway said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "How about it was just Hillary Clinton and the message?"

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Donald Trump on Monday morning continued to dismiss reports that the CIA concluded that Russian hackers tried to help Trump win the 2016 election, casting doubt on the CIA's findings with a false claim that the issue was not reported before the November election.

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a critic of former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, said on Sunday that he would oppose Bolton's nomination as the No. 2 leader in the State Department.

Trump is reportedly considering Bolton to serve as the deputy secretary of state under Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson.

During an interview on ABC's "This Week," Paul said that he would oppose Bolton's nomination to serve under Tillerson.

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Following reports that Donald Trump is expected to nominate Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, some Republicans in the Senate indicated that they may oppose his confirmation due to his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tillerson's connections to Russia dates back years. He struck a deal with Russian oil giant Rosneft in 2011 to access the country's oil resources in the Arctic, prompting Putin to award Tillerson the Order of Friendship honor. Tillerson has also spoken out against the sanctions the U.S. imposed on Russia after the country invaded the Crimea.

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As Donald Trump continued to dismiss reports that the CIA has concluded that Russian hackers interfered in the 2016 United States election, a bipartisan group of senators on Sunday called for a Congress to look into the reports.

"For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property. Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said in a statement from the Armed Services Committee.

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