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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

Chris Christie, the outgoing Republican governor of New Jersey, said in an interview published Monday that he would have won the Republican presidential nomination if Donald Trump had not run.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to think to yourself, ‘Wow, if this guy were not in the race, we’d win this thing.’ And I absolutely believe if Trump had not gotten into the race, I think we would have won,” Christie told NJ Advance Media in an extensive interview.

Christie said that his campaign’s polling showed that he was the second choice for 38 percent of Trump voters at one point. He also argued that Trump did not win because of his nationalist rhetoric, but because of his “toughness,” suggesting that he also portrayed to voters that he was tough.

“What won it for him was his toughness and his outsider nature. I don’t think the other stuff won it for him. I don’t think that’s what people were really reacting to. They were reacting to, they wanted someone down there who was no nonsense, wasn’t gonna take any crap and was going to whip Washington into shape,” Christie said. “I think they felt like he was better equipped to do it than I was.”

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended President Donald Trump’s work schedule following a report in Axios that Trump spends the first several hours of his day in his private residence watching television, making calls and tweeting.

“The time in the morning is a mix of residence time and Oval Office time but he always has calls with staff, Hill members, cabinet members and foreign leaders during this time,” Sanders said in a statement to Axios. “The President is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and puts in long hours and long days nearly every day of the week all year long. It has been noted by reporters many times that they wish he would slow down because they sometimes have trouble keeping up with him.”

Axios reported that Trump stays in his residence until about 11 a.m. most days, before he heads to his first meeting, citing unnamed officials. Trump typically spends the time watching cable news and on Twitter, per Axios. The President’s time in his private residence, which has lengthened since the beginning of his term, is marked as “Executive Time” on his official schedule.

Trump does often send tweets early in the morning, some of which are clearly in response to reports on “Fox and Friends” and other networks.

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Lawyers for Donald Trump are debating a strategy for the President ahead of an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, according to several reports out Monday.

Mueller told Trump’s attorneys during a late December meeting that his team will likely seek an interview with the President, the Washington Post reported Monday afternoon. The special counsel’s team could interview Trump with a limited number of questions within the next few weeks, a person close to the President told the Post.

The heads up from Mueller prompted an internal debate within Trump’s legal team on how to avoid a sit-down interview or place limits on an interview, according to the Washington Post.

NBC News reported earlier on Monday that lawyers for  Trump are engaged in initial talks with the FBI about a possible interview with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and the President, citing three people familiar with the matter.

Trump’s lawyers are discussing several potential formats for an interview, such as responding to written questions in place of an in-person interview, and they are debating whether Trump could completely skip an interview, according to NBC News. His attorneys are also looking at the legal standard for when Trump can be interviewed and whether Mueller himself would interview the President, per NBC.

The President’s legal team met with investigators on the special counsel probe in late December, but it was not previously clear what was discussed at that meeting.

Read NBC News’ report here.

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President Donald Trump on Sunday evening said that he would push back the presentation of his so-called “Fake News Awards” to Wednesday, instead of Monday, and claimed that there has been great interest in the “awards.”

Trump initially announced the “awards” last week, telling his Twitter followers that he would call out the “MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT” members of the media.

The President has long raged against the press, fighting negative media attention by attempting to undermine journalists’ credibility. His anger over coverage of his administration intensified last week with the publication of a new book, “Fire and Fury,” which portrays his administration as chaotic and inept.

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White House aide Stephen Miller was escorted off the set of CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday after host Jake Tapper told Miller he was wasting viewers’ time and ended Miller’s interview on the show, according to several reports.

Business Insider was first to report that Miller was escorted off the set, citing two sources close to the administration. Miller was asked to leave the set several times and when he he ignored the requests, security came to escort him out, per Business Insider.

The Hill and CBS News later confirmed that Miller was escorted off the CNN set.

During the Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Miller dodged several questions from Tapper about President Donald Trump’s tweets and former White House adviser Steve Bannon. As Miller avoided Tapper’s questions, the CNN host eventually cut him off.

“I get it. There’s one viewer that you care about right now and you’re being obsequious, you’re being a factotum in order to please him, okay?” Tapper told Miller. “And I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time.”

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During a brief press conference at Camp David on Saturday afternoon, flanked by GOP congressional leaders and cabinet secretaries, President Donald Trump insisted that Mexico will pay for a wall along the United States’ southern border.

“I believe that Mexico will pay for the wall. I have a very good relationship with Mexico. As you know, we’re negotiating NAFTA. We’ll see how that goes,” Trump said. “But Mexico will pay. In some form, Mexico will pay for the wall.”

Trump’s comment came as he explained his stance on legislation to restore the protections from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed certain young, undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

The President stressed to reporters that any DACA legislation should include funding for the border wall. He also said that bill should address “chain migration” and the visa lottery program.

“The wall is going to happen, or we’re not going to have DACA,” he said.

The Trump administration has asked for $18 billion over 10 years to expand the border wall. The administration wants to build 316 miles of new barrier and replace or bolster 407 miles of existing barrier with those funds.

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President Donald Trump said on Saturday afternoon that he will be heavily involved in the Republican primaries for the 2018 election, but he said it’s unlikely he will back anyone challenging a Republican incumbent.

“I’ll be very much involved,” Trump said from Camp David when asked if he’d be involved in the GOP primaries. “I will be actually working for incumbents and anybody else that has my kind of thinking. I think that’s going to happen, and we’ll make a lot of trips. We’ll be very involved.”

Asked if he would consider supporting any primary challengers, Trump indicated it’s not likely, citing Republican Roy Moore’s loss in the Alabama special election.

“I don’t see that happening. I don’t see that happening at this moment, no. I think they have sort of scattered,” he said. “We have somebody that lost us the state of Alabama, and I think, as far as I’m concerned, that was a shame that that was lost. It should never have been lost.”

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President Donald Trump on Saturday said that a New York Times report that the he directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the Russia probe was “off,” but he did not outright deny making that demand.

“Everything I did is 100 percent proper. The story by the way in the Times was way off, or at least off. Everything that I’ve done is 100 percent proper. That’s what I do, is I do things proper,” Trump said when asked if he told the White House counsel to tell Sessions not to recuse himself, as the New York Times reported.

Asked how the New York Times story was “off,” Trump simply replied, “You’ll find out. But the story was off.”

Trump also addressed why he felt compelled to defend his mental stability in a Saturday morning Twitter rant.

“Only because I went to the best colleges, or college. I went to — I had a situation where I was a very excellent student, came out and made billions and billions of dollars, became one of the top business people. Went to television and for ten years was a tremendous success, as you probably have heard. Ran for president one time and won,” Trump said when asked about his tweets.

Trump then denied that he spoke with the author of the new book “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff, and said he was “heartened” that members of the “fake news media” defended him “because they know the author and they know he’s a fraud.”

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The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the Kushner Companies’ use of the EB-5 visa program, which grants green cards to foreigners who invest in American businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday morning, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

The SEC issued a subpoena to the Kushner Companies, the company run by the family of White House adviser Jared Kushner, in May 2017 asking for information on the company’s use of the program, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported in August that federal prosecutors in New York separately subpoenaed the Kushner Companies over their use of the program.

It’s not clear whether the SEC probe targets any specific project run by the Kushner Companies, the Journal reported. The subpoena issued by federal prosecutors in New York focused on the One Journal Square development in New Jersey, per the Wall Street Journal.

The Kushner Companies’ use of the visas came under public scrutiny in May when Jared Kushner’s sister, Nicole Meyer, mentioned her brother’s name in a pitch to Chinese investors. At the time, the company apologized and said that they did not intend to try to lure investors by mentioning Jared Kushner’s name.

“In the course of discussing this project and the firm’s history with potential investors, Ms. Meyer wanted to make clear that her brother had stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project,” the company said in a May statement. “Kushner Companies apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors. That was not Ms. Meyer’s intention.”

Jared Kushner stepped away from the family business and divested from the One Journal Square project, but maintains a stake in other parts of the business. He also recused himself from any policy matters surrounding the EB-5 visa program.

 

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Twitter on Friday announced that it will not block world leaders or remove their controversial tweets.

The post did not mention President Donald Trump by name, but the announcement was likely prompted by concern about Trump’s social media habits. The President recently bragged about the size of his nuclear button on Twitter and has retweeted posts from a British far-right leader who was later suspended by Twitter.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about political figures and world leaders on Twitter, and we want to share our stance,” Twitter said in a statement on Friday. “Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation. Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society.”

“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions,” the company added.

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