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

Donald Trump has reportedly asked son-in-law Jared Kushner to obtain security clearance so that he can sit in on presidential briefings, according to NBC News, but Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer has denied the report.

Trump wants both retired Gen. Michael Flynn and Kushner to join him for the briefings, but while Flynn has the required top-secret security clearance, Kushner has not yet obtained that status, NBC News reported.

Spicer quickly denied the NBC report Wednesday morning.

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Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) confirmed on CNN Tuesday night that several allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), including himself, were asked to leave Donald Trump's transition effort, and that there has been "confusion" among members of the team.

"Sometimes in politics ... there are people who are in and people who are out. And the people who have been asked to move on have some relationship with Chris Christie," Rogers told CNN. "And so there's a whole series of about five of them that fit that criteria that were asked to leave in the last few days. And you know what? That's absolutely the campaign's prerogative. I hope they all stay engaged."

Rogers said that the transition team "clearly wanted to make a change" and "go in a different direction."

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has been advising Donald Trump's transition team on immigration issues, says that Trump may reinstate a post-9/11 registry of immigrants and visitors from countries with active terrorist groups.

Kobach told Reuters in an interview published Tuesday night said he has had several calls with Trump's transition team and that they may draft a proposal to bring back something like the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), a program started in 2002 that Kobach helped design under President George W Bush.

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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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