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

President Donald Trump on Monday morning defended his decision to duck out of a meeting of G20 leaders over the weekend and have his daughter, Ivanka Trump, take his place at the summit temporarily.

Trump’s eldest daughter was photographed sitting in between British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump and his daughter were quickly criticized for the move.

Chelsea Clinton on Monday morning pushed back against Trump’s argument that people would not mind if it were her sitting in for her mother:

President Donald Trump on Monday morning published a mildly threatening tweet about the Senate GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, urging senators to pass legislation this summer.

Trump’s tweet came amid intense uncertainty that the Senate can pass a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act as senators have yet to come out with a grand deal. Over the weekend, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that he thinks the bill is dead, and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said she has no reservations about killing the bill if she thinks it could hurt her constituents.

Senate Republicans only have a few weeks to pass the bill before they leave the Capitol for a month-long recess in August. The House would then need to approve the Senate version before the legislation could be sent to Trump’s desk.

In an interview published Sunday, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) indicated that she has no problem being the vote in the Senate that kills the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“I only see it through the lens of a vulnerable population who needs help, who I care about very deeply,” Capito told Politico, referring to the possibility that she could help determine the Senate bill’s demise. “So that gives me strength. If I have to be that one person, I will be it.”

Capito opposes the Senate bill’s deep cuts to Medicaid and has said that a stand-alone provision providing more funding to fight opioid addiction would not win her support for the legislation.

She told Politico that she’s uncertain about the bill’s future when the Senate returns to Washington, D.C., this week.

“I think that remains to be seen,” Capito said on the chances for the bill’s success. “That’s the eye of the needle, and I think it’s being tried to be threaded. But I’m not sure.”

Capito also said that Republicans may have to work with Democrats if this effort fails.

“Collaborating with Democrats on the other side, to me, is not an exercise in futility,” she told Politico. “That may be where we end up, and so be it.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Sunday said that the Senate Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare is likely to fail when the Senate returns from the July 4 recess this month.

“My view is it’s probably going to be dead,” McCain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” adding the caveat that he has been wrong before. “I fear that it’s going to fail.”

McCain lamented that Republican leaders pushed to pass the legislation with only Republican votes.

“If you shut out the adversary or the opposite party, you’re going to end up the same way Obamacare did when they rammed it through with 60 votes. Only guess what? We don’t have 60 votes, John,” McCain told host John Dickerson.

If the bill fails, McCain said that Republicans should try to bring Democrats into the process.

“It doesn’t mean they — that they control it. It means they can have amendments considered. And even when they lose, then they’re part of the process. That’s what democracy is supposed to be all about,” the senator said.

President Donald Trump on Sunday morning revealed that he discussed forming a “Cyber Security unit” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but under 24 hours later Trump walked back that suggestion.

Trump mentioned the unit in a tweetstorm about his conversation with Putin at the G20 summit and Russian election hacking.

Trump’s proposal for a partnership with Russia on cyber security drew criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on Sunday. The President then stated that the cyber unit “can’t” happen Sunday night.

The FBI and U.S. Army investigated allegations that Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight inappropriately touched several women during a July 2015 visit to a U.S. spy agency, but they did not bring charges against Knight, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Knight gave a speech at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) on July 10, 2015, and at least four women alleged that Knight groped or touched them inappropriately during his visit, according to the Washington Post. One woman said that Knight touched her on the shoulder while commenting on her legs and another said he hit her on the buttocks, according to the Post.

Following complaints about Knight’s behavior, the NGA’s inspector general and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence launched an investigation, which was then turned over to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, the Washington Post reported. Army investigators spoke with the women who complained of Knight’s inappropriate behavior but decided they did not have jurisdiction over Knight as a civilian, and turned over the probe to the FBI.

The FBI did not interview Knight until July 2016, a few months after Knight joined then-candidate Donald Trump on the campaign trail in Indiana. Knight has denied wrongdoing.

“There is absolutely no credible evidence to support this in our opinion, these allegations,” James Voyles, Knight’s lawyer, told the Washington Post. Voyles told the Post that FBI agents “reported to their superiors that there was no basis for any further action, period.”

The FBI closed the probe last year and decided not to bring charges against Knight, according to the Washington Post.

Read the Washington Post’s full report here.

After President Donald Trump claimed Friday morning that John Podesta “refused” to give federal investigators a hacked email server and that “everyone” at the G20 summit was talking about it, the former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman hit back with his own tweetstorm.

Podesta, whose personal emails were hacked during the 2016 election, called Trump a “whack job” and noted that he never ran the Democratic National Committee, which was the victim of a separate cyberattack.

“Get a grip man, the Russians committed a crime when they stole my emails to help get you elected President,” he wrote:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Thursday backed a plan endorsed by President Donald Trump to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare immediately and come up with replacement legislation later.

“If we cannot bring the conference together and agree on repeal legislation, then I think President Trump’s absolutely right that we should pass a clean repeal,” Cruz told reporters following a town hall in Texas, according to the Washington Post.

Last week, Trump backed a plan proposed by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) to pass a bill to completely repeal Obamacare immediately with a deadline to replace the law within a year. Such an approach will likely face opposition from several members of the Republican caucus. Several senators shot down that approach in January, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recently warned against the approach backed by Trump.

Despite his willingness to pass a clean Obamacare repeal bill if the Senate fails to come to a deal on a repeal and replace bill, Cruz seemed cautiously optimistic  on Thursday that the Senate can reach agreement.

“I believe we can get to yes,” he told reporters, per the Post. “I don’t know if we will.”

Hackers have targeted the computer networks of companies that run nuclear power plants and other energy facilities in the U.S., according to reports in the New York Times and Bloomberg News.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a joint report on the hacks last month, according to the New York Times. Both the Times and Bloomberg News reported that Wolf Creek, which runs a nuclear power plant in Kansas, was among those targeted by the hackers.

It’s not clear whether the hackers sought information or were gearing up for destruction, and there’s no sign that the hackers were able to access the facilities’ control systems, per the New York Times.

In a joint statement obtained by the Times and Bloomberg News, DHS and the FBI said, “There is no indication of a threat to public safety, as any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks.”

Bloomberg News reported that Russia is the “chief suspect” in the hacks, citing “three people familiar with the continuing effort to eject the hackers from the computer networks.” The New York Times reported that the techniques use by the hackers in the U.S. are similar to those of a Russian hacking group called “Energetic Bear.”

In a tweet from Europe Friday morning, President Donald Trump claimed that “everyone” at the G20 summit in Germany is discussing former Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta and the DNC server.

Trump’s tweet follows a Fox Business Network interview with Podesta over the weekend during which he said he was unsure whether the DNC ever gave federal investigators its server since he did not work for the committee at that time. Podesta said that he turned over Clinton’s servers to the FBI and but that the DNC was responsible for its own servers.

In the wake of the 2016 election and the revelation that Russia tried to interfere, Trump and his allies have obsessed over the DNC server and why the committee did not give the server to federal investigators. The DNC gave the FBI information on the server hack through a third party and has said that the FBI said it received all the information it needs.

A spokeswoman for the DNC responded to Trump Friday morning, noting that Podesta did not lead the DNC.

Trump followed up his tweets about Podesta with a preview of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and a tweet railing against the “Fake News Media.”