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

Several former Republican cabinet officials who've lined up to support Donald Trump's nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state also have some sort of connection to either Exxon or Russia.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates actually recommended Tillerson to Trump as a potential secretary of state nominee, two anonymous sources told Politico. Both Rice and Gates work for the consulting firm Rice Hadley Gates, which counts Exxon as a client.

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Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump's campaign, told a Moscow audience on Monday that Trump's nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state could be great for United States-Russia relations.

Page said that members of Trump's administration like Tillerson have "great enthusiasm" for improving the U.S. relationship with Russia, according to the Huffington Post.

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Shortly after Donald Trump formally announced that he will nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued a statement signaling that he may not support Tillerson's confirmation.

"While Rex Tillerson is a respected businessman, I have serious concerns about his nomination," Rubio said in a Tuesday morning statement. "The next secretary of state must be someone who views the world with moral clarity, is free of potential conflicts of interest, has a clear sense of America's interests, and will be a forceful advocate for America's foreign policy goals to the president, within the administration, and on the world stage. I look forward to learning more about his record and his views.‎ I will do my part to ensure he receives a full and fair but also thorough hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."

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Correction: The original version of this story suggested that Nunes did not support investigating cyber attacks carried out by Russia. His statement was referring to calls for the creation of a special committee to investigate Russian hacking, which Nunes rejected. The House Intelligence Committee announced in late January that the panel began receiving documents for a probe into Russian cyber attacks during the 2016 election.

Original Story:

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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