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

With renewed attention being paid to a sexual harassment settlement Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) paid to a former aide, the New York Times revealed on Monday that two other aides submitted formal complaints about the office environment.

One aide complained that Farenthold’s chief of staff, Bob Haueter, treated female staffers differently, and another aide, Elizabeth Peace, complained that a female staffer made “inappropriate sexualized commentary in the workplace,” according to the New York Times. Farenthold spokeswoman Stacey Daniels told the Times that a lawyer reviewed those complaints and did not find evidence of gender bias of inappropriate sexual comments.

Peace told the New York Times that the level of inappropriate behavior in the office would not have taken place “if the congressman hadn’t already set the tone.”

One former aide, who spoke to the Times on condition of anonymity, said that staff regularly commented on women’s bodies.

“There were numerous lewd comments that were made either about female reporters’ breast size, or other reporters’ breast size as well as female lobbyists and their appearance that would go on,” the aide said. “On any given week you were prone to either ridicule, rude comments, acts of aggression or rage.”

Lauren Greene, the former aide who received a settlement from Farenthold for alleged sexual harassment, said that the congressman liked redheads and “regularly drank to excess, and because of his tendency to flirt, the staffers who accompanied him to Capitol Hill functions would joke that they had to be on ‘redhead patrol’ to keep him out of trouble.”

Lawyers for Farenthold acknowledged to the New York Times that “some staff occasionally joked that Rep. Farenthold finds redheads attractive.”

Farenthold reportedly paid a $84,000 settlement to Greene after she sued him in 2o14. Greene said she was fired after complaining that a staffer told her that Farenthold had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her.

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This post has been updated.

In a letter to the leaders of the House Oversight Committee, more than 50 Democratic congresswomen asked the committee to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump.

The female lawmakers noted that at least 17 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct and argued that Trump’s comments on the “Access Hollywood” tape “appear to back up the allegations.”

“In the time of ‘Me Too,’ women across the country are coming forward with their own harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assault. Members of Congress have also come under scrutiny and investigation, with some resigning, for improper sexual conduct. We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations against Mr. Trump,” they wrote. “With that said, the President should be allowed to present evidence in his own defense.”

The leaders of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, Reps. Lois Frankel (D-FL) (pictured above), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), and Jackie Speier (D-CA), led the effort to send the letter to the House Oversight Committee.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on Tuesday morning backed the female lawmakers’ call for the Oversight Committee to investigate the sexual misconduct claims against Trump and called on Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to launch a probe.

“Congress is in the midst of a critical and long-overdue examination of allegations against its own Members—both before and after they were elected to Congress. The Oversight Committee is charged with examining similar allegations against Executive Branch employees and the President. It is extremely hard for Republicans to argue that Congress should ignore these multiple allegations. They deserve a bipartisan review, and I hope Chairman Gowdy will launch an investigation immediately,” Cummings said in a statement.

The letter comes after several Democrats in Congress called for Trump to resign over the sexual misconduct allegations made before the 2016 election. The revelations about Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Alabama GOP candidate Roy Moore, and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), have prompted renewed scrutiny of Trump’s behavior. Several of Trump’s accusers on Monday urged Congress to launch a formal probe of claims of sexual misconduct made about Trump.

Read the letter:

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Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced on Monday night that he will write a book about his experience working for President Donald Trump during the campaign and in the White House.

“I looked back at the coverage of the campaign, the transition and the first six, seven months of this White House and realized the stories that are being told are not an accurate represent [sic] of what President Trump went through to get the nomination, to transition to the White House and then his first six months in office,” Spicer told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday night.

“I’ve decided that it is incumbent upon me to set the record straight,” he added.

He said that his book is scheduled to come out in the summer of 2018.

Spicer left the White House over the summer after spending several months defending Trump from behind the briefing room podium. He notoriously claimed that the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was the largest ever, which he said he later regretted.

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Monday afternoon called on President Donald Trump to resign as accusations of sexual misconduct against the President have seen renewed scrutiny.

“President Trump should resign. These allegations are credible; they are numerous. I’ve heard these women’s testimony, and many of them are heartbreaking,” Gillibrand said on CNN.

Gillibrand said that it’s unclear whether Trump will ever hold himself accountable, and so if he does not “immediately” resign, Congress should investigate the allegations made about his behavior.

The senator’s comments came the same day that several of Trump’s accusers held a press conference to reiterate that Trump groped or harassed them and to call on Congress to investigate the allegations about the President’s conduct before taking office. Several other Democratic senators recently suggested that Trump resign after placing pressure on Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to resign over sexual misconduct claims.

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In a letter to the Senate Sergeant at Arms, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) warned that if elected to the Senate, Roy Moore could pose danger to the high school students who participate in the Senate page program.

She asked the Sergeant at Arms to share “what preventative steps are being taken to safeguard Senate Pages from predatory conduct of U.S. Senators and Senate staff.”

The congresswoman noted that Roy Moore, the GOP Senate candidate in Tuesday’s special election in Alabama, has been accused of inappropriate relationships with teenage girls and that he was reportedly banned from the local mall as a result. As a result, Gwen Moore said that Roy Moore is a “threat to the safety of the young men and women” in the page program.

She argued that participants in the page program are in a vulnerable situation since they are far from home and work in a place that “necessitates long hours in close proximity to lawmakers and staff that can create power dynamics of which young people are not fully aware.”

“It would be unconscionable for Congress to not be vigilant and proactive in taking precautions to safeguard these children given the well sourced allegations against Roy Moore,” Gwen Moore wrote in the letter, which was dated Dec. 8.

She also mentioned Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), who resigned in 2006 after sending inappropriate, sexually explicit messages to at least one underage male page, before asking the Sergeant at Arms to details what steps are being taken to protect pages.

Read the letter from Rep. Moore:

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President Donald Trump on Monday railed against the media on Twitter not long after the New York Police Department confirmed that a pipe bomb detonated in the New York City subway.

Trump’s tweet pushing back on a the New York Times story about his television-viewing habits came after the White House confirmed he had been briefed on the explosion, but before Trump made any public comment about the incident.

The President claimed that the New York Times story was “false” and that he rarely watches CNN or MSNBC.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Trump begins his days by watching cable news and spends at least four hours each day, and sometimes as much as eight hours, watching the news on television.

The Times defended its reporting on Monday in response to Trump’s tweet.

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A group of women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct came together on Monday and urged Congress to investigate claims of sexual harassment and assault against Trump.

“We are not holding our president accountable for what he is and who he is,” Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of groping and kissing her on a plane in the late 1970s or early 1980s, said on Monday morning.

She said that she is hopeful the #MeToo movement, which calls attention to sexual harassment and assault, will bring change.

“I’m hoping that it creates more movement and that we get a change,” Leeds said. “We all have to hope.”

Rachel Crooks, who accused Trump of forcibly kissing her in 2005, said that if Congress is willing to investigate Franken, they should also look into claims against the President.

The women who spoke out in a press conference on Monday morning were featured in the video “16 Women and Donald Trump” from Brave New Films.

After the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape revealing Trump bragging about groping women was released about a month before the 2016 election, Trump faced a barrage of sexual misconduct allegations. Trump denied the allegations and pressed on with the campaign, going on to win the White House.

The accusations about Trump have come under increased scrutiny over the past few months as several prominent politicians and members of the media have been accused of sexual misconduct. Trump has also thrown his support behind Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces sexual misconduct allegations as well.

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President Donald Trump recorded a robocall encouraging Alabama voters to back Republican Roy Moore in Tuesday’s special election to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat representing Alabama.

Politico first reported on Saturday that Trump would record a message, and CNN obtained audio of the call on Sunday.

“We need Roy voting for us. I am stopping illegal immigration and crime. We’re building a stronger military and protecting the Second Amendment and our pro-life values,” Trump says in the robocall supporting Moore, per CNN. “But if Alabama elects liberal Democrat Doug Jones, all of our progress will be stopped cold. We already know Democrat Doug Jones is a puppet of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, and he will vote with the Washington liberals every single time.”

Moore faces allegations from several women that he inappropriately pursued a sexual or romantic relationship with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Despite the sexual misconduct allegations, Moore has pressed on in the race. Although Republican leaders urged Moore to leave the race when the allegations first surfaced, GOP leaders have since softened on Moore and pushed to keep the seat in Republican control.

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Following Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) speech announcing his resignation over sexual misconduct allegations, one of his accusers said Thursday she was disappointed that Franken is still pushing back against the allegations.

“I have to say that I’m so sad and appalled at his lack of response and him owning up to what he did,” Stephanie Kemplin, an army veteran who accused Franken of groping her while he was in Kuwait entertaining the troops in 2003, said on MSNBC.

“He just keeps passing the buck and making it out to be something that we — we took his behavior the wrong way or we misconstrued something or that we just — we just flat-out lied about what happened to us,” she continued.

Kemplin made the comments when asked if Franken’s resignation is justice for allegedly groping several women. Kemplin said that his resignation does not feel like justice to her and that she would like to see him acknowledge his behavior.

“Justice to me would be him owning up to what he did and to stop trying to pass the buck onto other individuals who possibly — they did commit the same things, maybe even more heinous than what he’s done,” she said, perhaps referencing to Franken’s comment in his resignation speech that President Donald Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore have not seen the same repercussions for their alleged sexual misconduct.

Franken announced in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday that he will resign from his seat. He said that the allegations of sexual misconduct are a distraction, but he insisted that some of the allegations he faces are “simply not true.”

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As accusations of sexual misconduct put pressure on several prominent officials to leave office or politics, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) argued on Thursday morning that voters should decide whether those facing the allegations are fit to serve in public office.

“We shouldn’t have trial by newspaper,” he told the Associated Press.

When it comes to Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces sexual misconduct allegations from several women, Cotton said that Alabama voters “are going to make that decision, just like the people of this country made their decision last year on Donald Trump.”

Though several GOP senators called for Moore to drop out of the race if the allegations against him were true when the claims first surfaced, as Moore has continued to deny the accusations and campaign for the Senate seat, Republicans have slowly softened their stances.

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