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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

James Comey on Thursday testified that he orchestrated the leak of a memo documenting President Donald Trump’s request that he drop the FBI probe into Michael Flynn in hopes that the news would prompt the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the sprawling federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Comey shared the revelation with the Senate Intelligence Committee when asked if he shared his memos with anyone outside of the Justice Department. He said that he was motivated to leak the memos after Trump tweeted that Comey should hope there weren’t “tapes” of their conversations.

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Former FBI Director James Comey said he could not assess whether President Donald Trump’s request for Comey to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn amounted to obstruction of justice.

“I don’t think it’s for me to say whether the conversation I had with the President was an effort to obstruct,” Comey said when asked if Trump had obstructed justice. “I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that’s an offense.”

Former FBI Director James Comey will not read his entire opening statement out loud at Thursday’s hearing, instead allowing senators to quickly begin asking him questions.

As former FBI Director James Comey testifies about his private conversations with President Donald Trump before Congress on Thursday, the Republican National Committee is expected to lead the response effort for the White House and the Republican Party.

The RNC has a team of about 60 staffers who will coordinate a message in response to Comey’s testimony, according to the Wall Street Journal. Trump’s outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz, is also expected to address questions about Comey’s testimony, according to the Journal. Kasowitz had offered a response to Comey’s prepared remarks after they were released on Wednesday afternoon.

The RNC has lined up surrogates to respond to the hearing as well, according to Politico.

“The RNC’s role is to support and defend the president and this White House and this week is no different,” RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney told Politico. “And we prepare for everything, and we’re prepared for the hearing this week.”

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Melania and Barron Trump are expected to move into the White House on June 14 now that the school year is over, Politico reported Wednesday evening, citing people familiar with the planning.

President Donald Trump had previously said that his wife and youngest son would not join him in the White House residence until Barron Trump finished the school year.

Melania’s parents, who help care for Barron, will start spending more time in Washington, D.C., but they will not relocate to the city, per Politico.

Politico reported that the move “is seen internally at the White House as potentially a major shift for a president who has grown increasingly cheerless in his job.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday evening said that the fact that Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the Russia probe, cleared former FBI Director James Comey to speak publicly about his conversations with President Donald Trump shows that Mueller does not think he has an obstruction of justice case against Trump.

Graham told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum that Comey’s prepared statement released Wednesday “means in the minds [sic] of special counsel Mueller there is no obstruction of justice case to be made because if he felt like he had a case, he wouldn’t let Comey, his chief and only witness, go out in public and get beat up.”

“What prosecutor in their right mind would allow their star witness to go out before the Senate panel of 20 senators and get beat up if he really believed he had a case?” Graham continued. “So this is the best evidence yet that in the mind of the special counsel, there is no obstruction of justice case to be made against President Trump because he allowed Comey to testify in public and issue a statement. No prosecutor would ever do that if there was a good case here.”

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