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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

Rep. Hank Johnson’s (D-GA) office removed from the congressman’s website articles about Democrat Jon Ossoff and the special election in Georgia’s Sixth District over the weekend after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution inquired about them.

The inquiry came after a conservative group, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, told the newspaper that it planned to file a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics on Monday over articles on Johnson’s website about Ossoff, who used to work for the congressman as an aide. FACT accused Johnson of violating a House rule that bars members of Congress from using their offices to promote campaign activities.

“Representative Johnson has simply disregarded the rule and is blatantly using his official website for partisan purposes and campaign related activity,” Matthew Whitaker, the executive director of FACT, wrote in the letter, per the Journal-Constitution. “Not only is it troubling that Johnson has breached a basic rule that ensures the public’s confidence that our House Members are working for the citizens and not for their own personal political gain, but he has misused taxpayer funded resources.”

Johnson’s office declined to comment to TPM on the ethics complaint or the articles.

In a video message delivered on Sunday, President Donald Trump acknowledged the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, after failing to mention the Jewish people in a January statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“The mind cannot fathom the pain, the horror and the loss. Six million Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, murdered by the Nazi genocide. They were murdered by an evil that words cannot describe and that the human heart cannot bear,” Trump said in a video for the World Jewish Congress on Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance day.

Trump said that the U.S. stands with Israel and called for an end to anti-Semitism.

“We must stamp out prejudice and anti-Semitism everywhere it is found,” he said. “We must defeat terrorism and we must not ignore the threats of a regime that talks openly of Israel’s destruction. We cannot let that ever even be thought of.”

Trump also managed to mention his victory in the November election, when thanking Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, for predicting that he would win the presidential race.

Trump will also speak at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday for the Days of Remembrance ceremony remembering the victims of the Holocaust.

 

Vice President Mike Pence will head back to Washington, D.C. one day earlier than planned after a trip to Asia and Hawaii due to a busy week tackling health care, government funding legislation, and a tax code overhaul, an aide to Pence said, according to the vice president pool report.

The Vice President was initially scheduled to visit the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbour on Tuesday, but will instead leave Hawaii on Monday to arrive in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Congressional lawmakers will return to D.C. this week after a two-week recess in their home districts, and are faced with a busy legislative agenda.

Members this week must pass legislation to keep the government open past April 28. The White House has demanded that the funding legislation this week include funding to begin construction on the wall along the southern border. But Democrats will likely not vote for a spending bill that includes funding for the border wall.

The White House is also pressuring Republican lawmakers in Congress to push through a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare before Trump hits his 100-day mark, though House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Saturday that funding will be the priority for the House this week.

President Donald Trump has postponed a dinner planned for Thursday with justices on the Supreme Court.

The Hill first reported Sunday night that Trump would no longer have dinner with the justices on Thursday due to scheduling conflicts. ABC News’ Jonathan Karl confirmed Monday morning that the dinner is not on the President’s schedule anymore.

The White House said earlier on Sunday that Trump would dine with justices on the Supreme Court this week. The Trump administration did not confirm which members planned to attend, but the newest member of the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was expected to attend, according to the Huffington Post.

It’s unusual for a president to dine with members of the Supreme Court, but it’s not entirely unprecedented. But the Trump administration faced criticism Sunday for the planned dinner.

President Donald Trump has said that he will not fire White House Press Secretary because the spokesman “gets great ratings” for his daily press briefings, the Washington Post reported on Sunday evening.

“I’m not firing Sean Spicer,” Trump said last month when asked if Spicer’s job was in jeopardy, a person “familiar with the encounter” told the Post. “That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.”

Spicer is often under intense scrutiny as he attempts to answer for Trump’s policy proposals and tweets. The White House in March had to apologize to Great Britain after Spicer cited an unsubstantiated claim from a Fox News analyst that British intelligence spied on Trump for President Barack Obama.

In April, Spicer had to apologize after falsely claiming that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday afternoon announced that the Treasury Department would not grant ExxonMobil a waiver from U.S. sanctions to resume its drilling ventures in Russia.

“In consultation with President Donald J. Trump, the Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to U.S. companies, including Exxon, authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions,” Mnuchin said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Exxon had applied for a waiver to pick back up its joint venture with Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil giant. Exxon initially applied for the waiver in July 2015, and the company restarted its push for approval in March of this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company revived its effort to win approval for the waiver about a month after Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon, began his tenure as secretary of state.

 

President Donald Trump argued in a court filing submitted on Thursday that people have “no right” to protest inside his campaign rallies.

The filing was the latest from the President in a lawsuit brought by three protesters who alleged that he incited the crowd to harass and physically intimidate them at a March 2016 campaign rally in Kentucky. The suit alleges that Trump encouraged the crowd to remove the protesters from the rally and offered to pay legal fees for anyone arrested for removing protesters from the event.

In the Thursday filing, lawyers for Trump argued that he had a First Amendment right to exclude the protesters from his campaign rally.

They wrote that “political campaigns have a core First Amendment right to associate for the purpose of expressing a particular message,” which they argued allows for excluding views that are at odds with the campaign’s message. Trump then has a right to shape the rally “by excluding or expelling demonstrators who express contrary viewpoints,” the lawyers asserted.

“Of course, protesters have their own First Amendment right to express dissenting views, but they have no right to do so as part of the campaign rally of the political candidates they oppose,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

They added that the demonstrators “obviously interfered with the Trump campaign’s First Amendment right” when they “began vigorously expressing their disdain for Mr. Trump.”

The federal judge proceeding over the case had previously denied motions from Trump’s lawyers to dismiss the case, agreeing with the protesters that Trump’s comments at the rally incited violence. About two weeks later, Trump’s lawyers submitted another filing arguing that Trump is immune from lawsuits as president.

In the most recent filing submitted on Thursday, Trump’s lawyers asked a federal district court judge to pause the proceedings in the case and allow Trump to appeal to a higher court since that district court judge had dismissed Trump’s initial request to dismiss the case.

In a statement to Politico, the lawyer for the protesters who filed the suit said that they “anticipated that the President would do everything in his power to prevent this case from proceeding to the discovery phase, so this motion was not a surprise.”

They also argued that Trump’s calls for the protesters to be removed were protected by the First Amendment. They noted that Trump never explicitly encouraged the use of force, but that even if he did, it would be permissible to a certain extent.

They wrote that “even if Mr. Trump implicitly instructed the audience to remove the protesters by using force if necessary, his speech was still entirely lawful and protected under the First Amendment unless he advocated a greater degree of force than was necessary under the circumstances.”

“Absent that type of unlawful advocacy, Mr. Trump cannot be held liable for incitement. It makes no difference whether the crowd reacted with unlawful violence beyond what Mr. Trump advocated,” Trump’s lawyers argued.

Fewer than 10 days out from the 100-day mark of his presidency, Donald Trump on Friday morning blasted the “ridiculous standard of the first 100 days.”

President Trump was likely looking to get out ahead of news stories analyzing what he has accomplished during his first 100 days, a benchmark on which many presidents have been assessed.

Already, outlets, including TPM, are publishing pieces noting that Trump has yet to achieve some of the goals he laid out for himself. The Washington Post on Thursday published a piece laying the goals Trump set for himself in his first 100 days, like cutting taxes and renegotiating trade deals. The Post noted that the President has yet to achieve those goals.

Emails between ousted Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and his legal team obtained by Politico on Thursday reveal that O’Reilly’s lawyers felt they could save O’Reilly’s job at Fox News by showing that liberal groups were pressuring companies to pull advertising from O’Reilly’s show.

O’Reilly and his lawyers discussed whether to share with leadership at 21st Century Fox an email showing that Democratic fundraiser Mary Pat Bonner was planning a conference call with a leader at the liberal group Media Matters to discuss a campaign to urge advertisers to pull out of O’Reilly’s show, according to Politico. The email was sent to Politico by mistake.

The former Fox host and his lawyers have been trying to prove that O’Reilly is merely the victim of a “smear campaign” from the left. It’s not clear what the email from Bonner would prove given that Media Matters has acknowledged its push for advertisers to leave the show. The recent pressure for companies to pull ads from O’Reilly’s show followed a report in the New York Times revealing that several women who accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment have received settlements.

O’Reilly argued that his legal team should not send the Bonner email to Fox.

“If we show to Fox tomorrow, word will get out and the Thursday call may be cancelled,” O’Reilly wrote in an email, per Politico.

“So no formal sending to Rupert until after the call,” he added. “You all should know that I will not put up with much more from FNC.”

Hawaii state Attorney General Doug Chin on Thursday criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for remarking that it is amazing that a judge on “an island in the Pacific” could stop President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

“President Trump previously called a federal judge in California a so-called judge. Now U.S. Attorney General Sessions appears to dismiss a federal judge in Hawaii as just a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific,” Chin said in a statement. “Our Constitution created a separation of powers in the United States for a reason. Our federal courts, established under article III of the Constitution, are co-equal partners with Congress and the President. It is disappointing AG Sessions does not acknowledge that.”

During an interview on “The Mark Levin” radio show Wednesday, Sessions complained that a federal judge in Hawaii blocked Trump’s travel ban, appearing to question that judge’s authority.

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power,” Sessions said.

Under fire from Hawaii Democrats for Sessions’ remarks, the Department of Justice on Thursday released a statement noting that Hawaii is an island in the Pacific.

“Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific – a beautiful one where the Attorney General’s granddaughter was born,” Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said in a statement. “The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the President’s lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe.”

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