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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

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, used his opening remarks at a committee meeting on Thursday morning to criticize the committee's chair, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), for not allowing the Democrats to participate in the discussion over whether to consider President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court.

"I know you to be a man who embodies the best traditions and courtesies of this body. That is why I was so disappointed two weeks ago when the Majority Leader announced that the ‘Judiciary Committee has unanimously recommended’ that the next Supreme Court nominee will not receive any consideration this year," Leahy said in his written remarks.

It was Leahy's first chance to castigate committee Republicans in person and in public since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last month.

"This is our first business meeting to consider anything since the untimely passing of Justice Scalia. Our Committee has not had the opportunity to discuss how to proceed, and we certainly have not recommended or decided anything unanimously," he continued.

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During an MSNBC town hall on Wednesday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) admitted that he's not proud of launching personal attacks on Donald Trump, mocking the candidate's hair and hands, prompting Trump to discuss his manhood at a debate.

When asked by an audience member how he can justify attacks on Trump as a Christian, Rubio said that he does not regret criticizing Trump's policy views and business record, but said he would not launch personal attacks again.

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday night defended his proposal that the United States legally accept immigrants based on their skill level when asked during an MSNBC town hall whether his policies would have admitted his own parents into the country in the 1950s.

During the town hall moderated by MSNBC's Chuck Todd, an audience member asked Rubio, "If you were to institute your merit-based immigration policy, wouldn't you be shutting out people like your parents?"

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Donald Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night that he thinks that "Islam hates" the United States, and the Republican presidential candidate did not offer a clear contrast between Islam and "radical Islam" when asked.

Cooper asked Trump if he believes "Islam is at war with the West."

"I think Islam hates us," Trump responded. "There’s a tremendous hatred there, there’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There is an unbelievable hatred of us."

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During an interview on CNN Wednesday night, host Anderson Cooper quizzed Donald Trump on whether his Trump Steaks business still exists after the Republican presidential candidate brought steaks to a Tuesday night press conference in an attempt to defend his business ventures from Mitt Romney's criticism.

Throughout the interview, Trump avoided acknowledging that he no longer sells Trump Steaks online through the Sharper Image and instead insisted that he still sells steaks.

"The steaks you showed, those aren’t actually Trump Steaks, right?" Cooper asked Trump.

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Former Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will meet with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday and Thursday in Miami ahead of the Republican presidential debate there, according to a Washington Post report.

A spokesman for Bush would not confirm to the Post when or where Bush would meet with the candidates. The former governor will not meet with Donald Trump.

During a heated exchange with a Democratic senator, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Wednesday that the committee will debate on Thursday how Republicans are handling the prospect of President Obama nominating a Supreme Court justice.

Grassley appeared to be anticipating the chance Democrats committee members will get to lay into him at the previously scheduled Thursday meeting.

"If you want to hear a full-blown debate on this issue, I think we’ll probably have one before our committee tomorrow while we’re also considering three of four judges and a piece of legislation as well," Grassley said during a hearing with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, according to The Hill.

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A spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) presidential campaign on Wednesday morning pushed back against yet another report indicating that members of the campaign are discussing whether Rubio should drop out before the primary in his home state of Florida.

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Donald Trump on Wednesday morning told CNN that he had a "conciliatory" phone conversation with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently.

"It was just very conciliatory. We get along well. I like him a lot. I respect him a lot. I think he respects me," Trump said, describing his call with Ryan. "I think he really does respect what I've done. He said it. It's amazing. He said it's amazing."

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Ohio secretary of state over his decision not to let 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election vote in the presidential primary.

Sanders argued that Secretary of State Jon Husted discriminated against young black and Latino voters with the rule barring 17-year-olds from participating in the primary, according to the New York Times.

"It is an outrage that the secretary of state in Ohio is going out of his way to keep young people -- significantly African-American young people, Latino young people -- from participating," Sanders said in a statement, according to CNN.

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