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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

Following reports that White House Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI to dispute a story saying aides to President Donald Trump were in contact with Russian officials before the election, senior administration officials insisted that FBI officials came to Priebus to say the reporting was inaccurate.

The officials told reporters that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe brought up to Priebus during a one-on-one meeting on Feb. 15 that a New York Times story on the subject was "bullshit," according to a White House pool report.

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White House aide Sebastian Gorka took a break from chewing out his critics to tell the audience Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the United States government should work to quash the ideology of "jihad" both abroad and at home.

Gorka said that the U.S. will make "the black flag of jihad" as "repugnant" as the Nazi flag.

"The brand of jihad has to be destroyed," he said, adding that it must be "vilified" in America as well as in the Middle East.

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As the week comes to a close, Republican lawmakers home in their districts continued to face pointed questions from constituents about President Donald Trump and the Affordable Care Act.

Those who did face the public in town halls were met with jeers and pressure to be a check on Trump. Two Republican members of Congress were asked about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Some lawmakers avoided the public by either canceling planned events or refusing to engage with protesters.

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During a town hall in Florida on Thursday freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns following a question from an attendee.

Donna Waters, a 56-year-old Pensacola resident, told Gaetz, "There are allegations that a hostile foreign country is committing acts of undeclared war by infiltrating the highest levels of our government," according to CNN.

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In an interview that aired Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that the United States is not going through the "best of times" but added that she still has "hope" for the country's future.

"I am optimistic in the long run. There was a great man who once said that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle. It is the pendulum. And when the pendulum swings too far in one direction it will go back," she told BBC's "Newsnight."

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Back home in their districts while Congress is in recess, some Republicans have ducked the raucous crowds at town halls in favor of more tightly controlled conference calls and private events. But even those who stuck to closed-door events, facilitating a friendlier crowd, haven't managed to escape the tough questions and protests that earned their colleagues so many headlines.

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New York Police Department Commissioner James O'Neill on Wednesday indicated that the department will ignore new Department of Homeland Security memos that increase the number of undocumented immigrants prioritized for deportation and call on local law enforcement to help federal agents.

In an internal memo, O'Neill reminded officers of the department's policies on undocumented immigrants and tells officers not to carry out federal immigration enforcement.

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Republicans home in their districts for the week faced more rowdy crowds at town halls on Wednesday night.

In events that drew hundreds of constituents, these GOPers were often pressed about their plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, and some faced shouts and jeers. At a town hall in Louisiana, attendees even turned their backs on Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) as he tried to give a PowerPoint presentation on his replacement plan. The protest forced him to ditch his planned talking points and answer questions instead.

Below is a roundup of Wednesday's district events:

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Wednesday said that she would be open to issuing a subpoena for President Donald Trump's tax returns if it's necessary for the committee's probe into Trump's ties to Russia.

"I don’t know whether we will need to do that. If it’s necessary to get to the answers, then I suspect that we would," Collins said on Maine Public Radio when asked if she would subpoena Trump's tax records for the investigation.

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During a town hall in Arkansas on Wednesday night, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) faced a raucous crowd of about 2,000 people for two hours as attendees jeered and quizzed him on Republican plans to repeal Obamacare and the senator's support for President Donald Trump.

As Cotton attempted to answer questions, he was often met with chants like "Do your job" and "tax return," according to CNN.

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