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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

Donald Trump's transition team on Wednesday distanced itself from the questionnaire it sent to the Energy Department asking for a list of staffers and contractors who had been engaged in climate policy discussions.

"The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled," an unnamed Trump transition official told CNN.

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Donald Trump has said that he will step away from his businesses by the time he takes office and hand over the reins to his two oldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, but the President-elect's children are still very much involved in efforts to fill out Trump's cabinet.

Trump's three oldest children, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, all sit on the transition team's executive committee. His children have taken part in the process to select cabinet nominees and have sat in on meetings with foreign leaders.

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During an interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Tuesday night, Jason Miller, a spokesman for Donald Trump's transition team, repeatedly dodged questions about whether Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency believes in climate change.

Kelly told Miller that "the left" is concerned that Trump's EPA nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt does not believe in climate change. Pruitt has expressed skepticism of climate change, writing earlier this year that "scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind."

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During a victory tour rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday night, Donald Trump told the crowd that early on election night, he was convinced that he had lost the presidential race.

Trump said "it began with phony exit polls" showing him losing, at which point he resigned himself to the loss, according to Politico.

"So I sort of thought I lost, and I was OK with that,” Trump said Tuesday. “I wouldn’t say great."

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Donald Trump on Wednesday morning announced that he would nominate Rick Perry to be energy secretary, confirming reports that he would choose the former Texas governor to lead the department.

"As the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry created created a business climate that produced millions of new jobs and lower energy prices in his state, and he will bring that same approach to our entire country as Secretary of Energy,” Trump said in a statement. “My administration is going to make sure we take advantage of our huge natural resource deposits to make America energy independent and create vast new wealth for our nation, and Rick Perry is going to do an amazing job as the leader of that process."

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Donald Trump's pick to be secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, leads a company currently under investigation by state attorneys general for potentially misleading investors about what the company knew about climate change.

As secretary of state, Tillerson would be the United States' representative abroad negotiating agreements on climate change. On the campaign trail, Trump said that he would favor pulling out of the Paris Agreement, but has since claimed to have an "open mind" and be "studying" the issue.

For his part, Tillerson has said that climate change is a "serious" threat, and Exxon now publicly supports the science behind climate change as well as the Paris accord. Yet Exxon has come under scrutiny in the last year from environmental groups and state attorneys general for allegedly downplaying the risks posed by climate change.

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Scientists have started copying United States climate data onto non-government servers out of fear that the data could disappear under Donald Trump's administration, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Trump has not said that he will delete data climate data from government servers. However, the President-elect has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate change skeptic, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, and the transition team has asked for a list of the names of Energy Department staffers who were engaged in climate policy under the Obama administration.

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Several former Republican cabinet officials who've lined up to support Donald Trump's nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state also have some sort of connection to either Exxon or Russia.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates actually recommended Tillerson to Trump as a potential secretary of state nominee, two anonymous sources told Politico. Both Rice and Gates work for the consulting firm Rice Hadley Gates, which counts Exxon as a client.

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