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

Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration official and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist, on Wednesday denied reports that he has been advising Donald Trump's transition team.

The Wall Street Journal had reported that Gaffney "was brought in to assist on national security issues" when Rogers left the transition team. And the New York Times said that Trump's "inner circle has been relying on" Gaffney and others for advice on national security issues.

During an interview on MSNBC Wednesday morning, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said that Gaffney had not joined the team and is not advising the transition team. When asked if Gaffney had met with Trump in the past two days, Miller avoided answering the question.

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Donald Trump's transition team has not reached out to officials at the State Department or the Pentagon for briefings as the President-elect prepares to take office in January, according to officials from those agencies.

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said on Tuesday that the department has not heard from Trump's transition team, according to Al-Monitor reporter Laura Rozen.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Tuesday warned that any efforts to improve the United States' relationship with Russia could backfire, an apparent reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin's Monday call with Donald Trump, though McCain did not mention the President-elect by name.

“With the U.S. presidential transition underway, Vladimir Putin has said in recent days that he wants to improve relations with the United States," McCain said in a statement. "We should place as much faith in such statements as any other made by a former KGB agent who has plunged his country into tyranny, murdered his political opponents, invaded his neighbors, threatened America’s allies, and attempted to undermine America’s elections."

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tuesday dismissed concerns about Donald Trump appointing Steve Bannon, a former Breitbart executive who has embraced the alt-right, as his chief strategist in the White House.

"Look, I would just simply say that the president is going to be judged on his results. This is a person who helped him win an incredible victory and an incredible campaign. The president is going to be judged on the results of this administration," Ryan said when asked at a press conference about concerns that Bannon will serve in the administration. "We're confident about moving forward. We're confident about the transition. And we're very, very excited about getting to work for the American people."

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Exxon Mobil has added New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to a lawsuit attempting to block Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's investigation into whether Exxon lied to its investors about what it knew about climate change, Inside Climate News reported.

In the newly expanded lawsuit, Exxon argues that the state probes are motivated by political beliefs about climate change.

"Attorneys General Schneiderman and Healey have joined together with each other as well as others known and unknown to conduct improper and politically motivated investigations of ExxonMobil in a coordinated effort to silence and intimidate one side of the public policy debate on how to address climate change," the complaint reads.

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Fox News host Megyn Kelly on Tuesday morning recalled how her daughter processed the 2016 election and Donald Trump's candidacy during an interview with ABC News' "Good Morning America."

Kelly said that her 5-year-old daughter, who the Fox host mentioned in her new book "Settle for More," told her that she was "afraid of Donald Trump."

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In his first 100 days in office, Donald Trump will attempt to carry out some of his campaign promises on trade, including renegotiating or withdrawing from the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to a draft memo from Trump's transition team obtained by CNN.

"The Trump trade plan breaks with the globalist wings of both the Republican and Democratic parties," the memo reads, according to CNN. "The Trump administration will reverse decades of conciliatory trade policy. New trade agreements will be negotiated that provide for the interests of US workers and companies first."

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told donors gathered by a liberal group on Monday that the Affordable Care Act was not bold enough, which hurt Democrats' message to working and middle-class class voters still struggling following the economic crisis, according to reports from the Boston Globe and the Huffington Post.

Warren said that Democrats were not able to effectively tell voters that they were fighting for the little guy after making compromises on Obamacare, attendees at the meeting held by the Democracy Alliance told the Boston Globe. She told donors that if Democrats had acknowledged the legislation's shortcomings and pledged to work for more, the party's message about healthcare may have been more effective, sources told the Huffington Post.

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Democrats won a majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court on Election Day, but at least one conservative group has floated the possibility of flipping it back to GOP control by quickly expanding the court by two seats, securing two more conservative picks before the end of lame-duck Gov. Pat McCrory's (R) term.

Republicans have largely avoided commenting on the matter, with one GOP legislative leader denying that plans to expand the nominally non-partisan court are in the works.

Though he has yet to concede the governor's race, it appears McCrory has lost his re-election bid and will leave office Jan. 7, 2017. He is trailing Democratic challenger state attorney general Roy Cooper by about 5,000 votes. The state Republican Party has asked for a recount in Durham County, and McCrory said last week that he would not concede the race until at least Nov. 18. Despite McCrory's apparent loss, Republicans maintained their supermajority in the state legislature.

McCrory's apparent defeat came at the same time that Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, a Democrat, defeated state Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds, a Republican, for a seat on the court, flipping the majority on the state's highest court from Republicans to Democrats. Elections for the state Supreme Court are not partisan, and justices are elected to eight year terms. But the governor appoints justices to fill vacancies on the court, and those justices would then be up for re-election during the next election for the general assembly, which takes place every two years.

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