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

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday said that if there is truth to reports that aides for President Donald Trump's campaign were in contact with Russian officials ahead of the election, Congress should form a special committee to carry out an investigation.

"If in fact there are campaign contacts between Trump officials and Russian intelligence officers that would be a very serious event and would justify the Senate forming a Select Committee to look at all things related to Russia," Graham said in a statement. "The Russians have been trying to break the backbone of democracies all over the world, and clearly in my view, interfered in the 2016 election."

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House Democrats on Wednesday announced a bill geared toward preventing President Donald Trump from relaxing sanctions against Russia.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the House minority whip, announced the legislation at a press conference along with Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Hoyer said that the bill would "ensure that Russia does not receive any sanctions relief."

"We want to have no doubt where we stand with these sanctions," he later added.

Reps. Tom Rooney (R-FL), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) are also co-sponsors of the bill but were not present at the press conference.

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) on Wednesday morning called for congressional investigations into Michael Flynn and the Trump administration's ties to Russia, warning that failure to address the issue could "destabilize" the federal government's ability to enact policy.

"The base issue is getting to the bottom of what the Russian interference was and what the relationship was with associates of the Trump effort, and so that is the big elephant in the room that has got to be dealt with in the most appropriate way," Corker said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday shot down President Donald Trump's repeated claims that millions of "illegal" votes cost him the popular vote in the 2016 election.

"There’s no evidence that enough votes were stolen to change the outcome of the election," McConnell said in an interview taped Tuesday for MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

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Members of President Donald Trump's campaign staff were in contact with Russian officials several times before the November election, according to reports from the New York Times and CNN.

American officials intercepted communications between Trump campaign aides and officials in Russia around the same time that they were uncovering Russian cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee, the New York Times reported, citing unnamed former and current American officials.

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The Office of Government Ethics sent a letter Monday to the White House calling on it to investigate whether Kellyanne Conway broke ethics rules by promoting Ivanka Trump's business on television and to consider disciplining Conway.

The letter was made public by the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee.

Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, wrote in the letter that it appears Conway broke ethics rules barring administration employees from misusing their position.

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Tierney Sneed contributed reporting.

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill were forced Tuesday to grapple with the Trump administration's first major personnel crisis—less than a month into President Donald Trump's tenure at the White House—after Michael Flynn resigned from his role as national security adviser.

Some congressional Republicans instinctively worked to protect and defend Trump, praising the President for booting Flynn from the administration and shifting focus to leaks of information about Flynn's calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Flynn had several phone conversations with the diplomat before Trump’s inauguration, during which he reportedly discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia. Both Flynn and the Trump administration initially denied that Flynn discussed sanctions on the call; however, after several news outlets reported last week that Flynn did in fact discuss the sanctions, Flynn stopped denying that he discussed the issue and conceded he could not be sure whether he talked about sanctions.

Other Republicans seized on Flynn's resignation to call for investigations into his calls to Russia and their implications for the Trump administration's approach to Russia and Vladimir Putin.

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, on Tuesday morning downplayed Michael Flynn's resignation from his role as national security adviser to President Donald Trump.

"Michael Flynn served in the U.S. military for more than three decades. Washington, D.C. can be a rough town for honorable people, and Flynn—who has always been a soldier, not a politician—deserves America’s gratitude and respect for dedicating so much of his life to strengthening our national security. I thank him for his many years of distinguished service," Nunes, who served on Trump's transition team, said in a statement.

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During several television interviews on Tuesday morning, Kellyanne Conway insisted that it was Michael Flynn's decision to resign from his role as National Security Adviser.

During an interview on NBC's "Today," Matt Lauer asked Conway how Flynn resigned so quickly after she had said earlier Monday that Flynn had Trump's "full confidence."

In response, Conway indicated that her comment was true at the time and that it was Flynn's decision to resign.

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