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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

After the news broke early Friday morning that London police were treating a fire on a subway train as a terrorist attack, President Donald Trump embarked on a Twitter tirade, blasting “loser” terrorists and calling for a “larger, tougher” travel ban in the United States.

At the time Trump published his tweets, London authorities had not yet identified a suspect in the fire. However, the President was quick to tie the attack to his travel ban, which prohibits travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries from coming to the U.S. It’s not clear what Trump meant by a “more specific” travel ban.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) tried to downplay President Donald Trump’s Wednesday night discussion with Democrats on immigration and made clear that Trump will have to work with Republicans on any legislation to restore the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“I think the President understands he’s going to have to work with the legislative majority,” Ryan told reporters Thursday afternoon when asked if he would consider bringing a deal between Trump and Democrats on DACA to a vote.

Trump dined with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Wednesday night, where they discussed a legislative fix for DACA. Following the meeting, Schumer and Pelosi announced that they had reached a tentative agreement with Trump that would not include funding for the border wall. Trump appeared to confirm this Thursday morning, telling reporters that “the wall will come later” and that he was “fairly close” to a deal on DACA.

Despite the enthusiasm from Trump and Democrats about the dinner, Ryan pushed back on the notion that any kind of deal was made. He said that Trump called him from Air Force One Thursday morning, after the President told reporters about his meeting with Democratic leaders.

“It was a discussion, not an agreement or a negotiation,” Ryan said, describing Trump’s meeting with the Democrats.

The speaker said that any legislation restoring DACA’s protections would also need to include border security measures, though he would not go into detail. Ryan told reporters that he will “get consensus with our members” and won’t “negotiate through the media.”

President Donald Trump on Thursday morning appeared to confirm Democratic leaders’ claims that Trump will not demand that funding for the border wall be included in legislation restoring the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“The wall will come later,” Trump told reporters when asked about a deal on DACA before boarding Air Force One to travel to Florida. “The wall is going to be built and it’ll be funded a little bit later.”

The President confirmed that he’s working on a plan with Congress to restore DACA.

“We are working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen. You have 800,000 young people brought here, no fault of their own, so we’re working on a plan. We’ll see how it works out. We are going to get massive border security as part of that. And I think something can happen. We’ll see what happens, but something will happen,” he told reporters.

He noted that he spoke with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) about a deal Wednesday night.

“We want to get massive border security, and I think both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, I think they will agree,” he said. “I think we are fairly close, but we have to get massive border security.”

Trump said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) are “on board.”

“Ryan and McConnell agree with us on DACA. We are very much on board. I spoke to them, yes,” Trump told reporters as they shouted questions.

Trump’s comments follow conflicting accounts from Democratic leaders and the White House from the President’s Wednesday night dinner with Schumer and Pelosi. The Democratic leaders issued a statement claiming that they were working on a deal for DACA legislation with Trump, and that funding for the border wall would not be included. However, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday night that Trump did not take border wall funding off the table.

Around the same time Trump spoke to White House reporters Thursday morning, Schumer and Pelosi issued another joint statement reiterating that Trump did not demand that funding for the border wall be included in the bill. The Democratic leaders said that they have not yet reached a final deal with Trump, but a tentative agreement, adding that they still need to work out which border security measures could be included in the bill.

“President Trump’s Tweets are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night.  As we said last night, there was no final deal, but there was agreement on the following: We agreed that the President would support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House and Senate to act,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement.

“What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible.  While both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the President made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it,” they added. “Both sides agreed that the White House and the Democratic leaders would work out a border security package.  Possible proposals were discussed including new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment, rebuilding roads along the border and the bipartisan McCaul-Thompson bill.”

It appears President Donald Trump has been keeping tabs on Hillary Clinton’s book promotion tour.

In tweets published late Wednesday night, Trump attacked Clinton’s portrayal of her stunning election loss in November, arguing that Clinton should only blame herself for the election outcome.

Trump’s angry tweets about Clinton came as the former secretary of state promotes her new book “What Happened,” which details her experience running for president against Trump. In her book and during interviews, Clinton has lamented the impact of former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to re-open the email investigation during the campaign and suggested that the Trump campaign helped Russia meddle in the election.

After Democratic leaders Wednesday night announced that they had reached a tentative agreement with President Donald Trump to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program’s protections through legislation, Trump pushed back on that claim in a series of tweets early Thursday morning.

Trump dined with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the White House on Wednesday night, where the leaders discussed several issues, including DACA. After the dinner, Schumer and Pelosi released a joint statement claiming they agreed with Trump to move forward with a bill to restore DACA’s protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors.

“We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the President. The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly disputed the Democrats’ claim that Trump agreed that funding for the border wall would not need to be included in a DACA bill.

Matt House, Schumer’s spokesman, then pushed back on Sanders’ tweet, claiming that Trump told Democratic leaders Wednesday night he would not push for border wall funding to be included in a DACA bill.

The White House has been signaling that it will not necessarily demand Congress fund the border wall in the same bill restoring DACA protections. During a Tuesday breakfast with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, indicated that border wall funding was not a hard demand for a bill enacting DACA protections.

In his tweets Thursday morning, Trump did not definitively say that funding for the wall would have to be included in a DACA bill. He only mentioned the need for border security measures. He also said that his administration has already begun work on a wall, referring to restoration work on existing barriers and defended his support for helping undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.

Trump also reportedly told lawmakers earlier on Wednesday that he would not need border wall funding to be included in a bill restoring DACA.

“He said, the wall doesn’t have to be necessary,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) told reporters Wednesday following a meeting between Trump and House members from both parties, according to the Washington Post. “He said we’re going to add [wall funding] somewhere else.”

“He said, ‘DACA, we’re going to do it early. We’re going to do some kind of border security.’ He brought up the wall. He said that doesn’t have to be on this DACA bill,” Cuellar added, per the Washington Post.

Following Democrats’ statement on the dinner, Trump faced some pushback from Republicans for discussing the issue with Democrats.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted at Trump Thursday morning indicating he was frustrated that Trump “undercut” his committee to reach a deal with Democrats.

Immigration hardliner Rep. Steve King (R-IA) also let Trump know on Twitter that he was unhappy with reports on the agreement between Democrats and the President.

President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the deputy administrator at FEMA told NBC News on Wednesday that he would withdraw from consideration for the position, after the outlet asked him about a government report that found he falsified records while previously working for the agency.

“Given the distraction this will cause the Agency in a time when they cannot afford to lose focus, I have withdrawn from my nomination,” Daniel Craig told NBC News in an email.

President Donald Trump nominated Craig to the No. 2 spot at the agency in mid-July, but the Senate had yet to confirm Craig to the post.

An investigation conducted by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General found that Craig falsified travel and timekeeping records while he worked awarding FEMA contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to NBC News.

The report on that probe is not public, but NBC News obtained a copy.

According to the report, while he was working for the agency Craig looked for work at a firm, The Shaw Group, that had received a FEMA contract. The report found that while Craig claimed on a voucher that an August 2005 trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was for FEMA business, the trip was actually for an interview with The Shaw Group.

Craig told NBC News that the report was the result of “poor” investigating and that some information contained in it was wrong.

Investigators launched the probe to determine whether Craig broke conflict of interest laws by seeking employment at firms bidding for contracts with FEMA, per NBC News. However, the probe did not find there was enough evidence to show Craig broke conflict-of-interest laws, and he was never charged with a crime.

Craig did make an attempt to recuse himself from matters involving Shaw, according to a letter obtained by the Project on Government Oversight. However, that letter came only after he started interviewing for a job at the firm, and after the firm was awarded a contract, per NBC News.

Read the full report here.

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, is expected to meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia probe behind closed doors on Tuesday, Buzzfeed News reported.

Cohen has been under scrutiny by the various congressional committees investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election since early this year. He has business ties in the former Soviet bloc, and was reportedly involved in a Ukraine “peace plan” that would have involved the Trump team in lifting economic sanctions on Russia.

It also came to light last month that Cohen was involved in efforts to build a Trump tower in Moscow while serving as a surrogate for the Trump campaign.

The longtime Trump ally initially refused requests to speak with congressional investigators in May, arguing that “the request was poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered.”

The Trump administration is considering lowering the number of refugees the United States accepts each year to below 50,000 people, the New York Times reported Tuesday, citing unnamed current and former officials.

It would be the lowest number of refugees accepted by the U.S. since 1980, the New York Times noted.

President Donald Trump already set the maximum number of refugees accepted in the country to 50,000 with his executive order earlier this year, down from more than 100,000 under President Barack Obama. But some White House officials are pushing for him to lower that cap even further, according to the New York Times.

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, known for his hard-right views on immigration, has led this push, at one point proposing lowering the number of refugees accepted to 15,000, per the Times. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security are also pushing to lower the cap, proposing it be set at 40,000 refugees, the New York Times reported. Officials at the National Security Council, State Department, and Defense Department have opposed a significant drop in the number of refugees accepted, per the Times.

 

 

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will meet with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other congressional leaders Wednesday evening to discuss how Congress may approach restoring the protections from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program now that President Donald Trump has announced an end to the program next year, according to several reports out Tuesday night.

Politico was first to report that the meeting will take place, and the Washington Post later confirmed Ryan would meet with Pelosi about DACA, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors from deportation.

Leaders in both parties have said that they would like to restore DACA protections, but it’s not yet clear that Republicans and Democrats will be able to agree on legislation. Pelosi and Democrats are pushing for Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would grant DACA recipients legal protections. Republicans have been less clear on what protections they would be willing to grant in legislation.

Democrats have also made it clear that they will not support tying funding for the border wall to legislation restoring DACA protections. The White House has indicated that it would like to see any legislation include provisions on border security, but a top White House aide suggested yesterday that the administration will not demand border wall funding be tied to a DACA bill.

“The President has made a commitment to the American people that he wants—he believes that a physical barrier is important to that equation of border security,” White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said Tuesday. “Whether or not that is part of a DACA equation, or whether or not that’s another legislative vehicle, I don’t want us to bind ourselves into a construct that makes reaching a conclusion on DACA impossible.”

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has again declined a request to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee, CNN reported early Wednesday, citing an unnamed source in Congress.

Investigators are reportedly interested in Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials during the transition and his failure to disclose payments he received from Russian firms.

The former Trump official previously refused a Senate Intelligence Committee request to appear in May, citing Fifth Amendment rights. At the time, Flynn’s lawyers argued that an “escalating public frenzy against him” created a a legally dangerous environment for Flynn, preventing him from testifying.

The Senate committee also issued subpoenas for documents from Flynn in May, and the former national security adviser reportedly agreed to turn over documents to the committee.

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