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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

Ivanka Trump on Monday morning told the hosts of “Fox and Friends” that she wasn’t expecting the “level of viciousness” she has experienced since her father was elected president.

“Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Ivanka Trump if it has been hard for her to focus on the issues important to her with distractions like the Russia probes.

“It is hard. And there is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting. I was not expecting the intensity of this experience,” she replied. “But this isn’t supposed to be easy. My father and this administration intends to be transformative. And we want to do big, bold things. And we’re looking to change the status quo. So, I didn’t expect it to be easy. I think some of the distractions and some of the ferocity was — I was a little blindsided by on a personal level.”

“I’m trying to keep my head down, not listen to the noise and just work really hard to make a positive impact in the lives of many people,” she added.

She also said on Fox that her father felt “vindicated” by the testimony from former FBI Director James Comey last week and that President Trump “feels incredibly optimistic.”

Watch part of the interview via Fox News:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that “American leadership” on the global stage was better under President Barack Obama than it is under President Donald Trump, according to a Sunday report in The Guardian.

The Guardian asked McCain, a critic of Obama’s foreign policy, if America’s standing in the world was better under Obama.

“As far as American leadership is concerned, yes,” McCain replied.

McCain was also asked about Trump’s criticism of London’s mayor soon after a terrorist attack in the city and what kind of message Trump’s reaction sent.

“What do you think the message is? The message is that America doesn’t want to lead,” McCain said told The Guardian. “They are not sure of American leadership, whether it be in Siberia or whether it be in Antarctica.”

The attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C. plan on filing a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, claiming that he is violating the Constitution’s Emoluments clause by maintaining ownership of his businesses, the Washington Post reported Sunday night.

The Emoluments clause states that presidents cannot accept payments from foreign governments. Trump already faces a lawsuit from a progressive watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, over profits he makes from foreign governments through his businesses. The Department of Justice on Friday asked a court to dismiss the case, arguing that CREW and the businesses part of that lawsuit do not have standing to sue and that the Emoluments Clause does not apply to the type of profits Trump receives through his businesses.

In the new forthcoming lawsuit, the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C. will charge that Trump is “deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors” by maintaining ownership of his businesses, according to the Washington Post. The attorneys general will seek Trump’s financial records in the lawsuit if a judge allows the case to proceed, per the Washington Post.

It was revealed last week that Trump’s hotel in Washington, D.C. received payments from a lobbying effort tied to the government of Saudi Arabia last year. The Trump Organization said that it will transfer payments from the Saudi Arabian government to the U.S. Treasury Department by the end of the year.

Following former FBI Director James Comey’s blockbuster Senate testimony, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said Friday that he believes Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the federal investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, may depose President Donald Trump.

Comey testified that Trump asked him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and that Trump tried to get him to pledge his loyalty. Trump and his outside lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, both charged that Comey had not been truthful in that testimony.

Reed said Friday that it’s now on Trump to tell his side of the story.

“The burden is now on the President to come forth definitively and say what happened,” Reed said on CNN.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked if Reed was saying Trump should make a statement under oath.

“I think that’s ultimately what will happen,” Reed said. “I would expect at some point, not right away, but at some point that Mr. Mueller will would feel he has to depose the President.”

Democrat Jon Ossoff leads Republican Karen Handel by seven points among registered voters in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released on Friday.

Ossoff earned 51 percent support and Handel earned 44 percent support in the poll, conducted by Abt Associates.

A poll released Thursday evening by WSB-TV showed Ossoff leading Handel by a much smaller margin of 2.5 points, however.

The AJC/Abt Associates poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters June 5-8 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Handel and Ossoff will face off in a June 20 runoff to fill an open U.S. House seat in Georgia.

In a blistering letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) criticized a May opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel allowing the White House to ignore information requests from Democrats, writing that the opinion is “nonsense.”

The OLC issued a legal opinion in May arguing that the White House did not have to complete requests for information from individual members of Congress, even those who are ranking members on committees, and was only required to fulfill requests sent by committee chairs or full committees. The opinion did not bar the White House from fulfilling requests from individual members, but did have the effect of allowing the executive branch to ignore them, leading Democrats to charge that the White House has been ignoring their oversight requests.

Grassley argued in his Wednesday letter that the OLC’s opinion “completely misses the mark” and that its implications are troubling.

“It erroneously rejects any notion that individual members of Congress who may not chair a relevant committee need to obtain information from the Executive Branch in order to carry out their Constitutional duties,” Grassley wrote. “It falsely asserts that only requests from committees or their chairs are ‘constitutionally authorized,’ and relegates requests from non-Chairmen to the position of ‘non-oversight’ inquiries— whatever that means. This is nonsense.”

Grassley explained that committees are simply a structure to help Congress manage a heavy workload and noted they’re not even mentioned in the Constitution.

“For OLC to so fundamentally misunderstand and misstate such a simple fact exposes its shocking lack of professionalism and objectivity,” Grassley wrote in his letter to Trump. “You are being ill-served and ill-advised.”

The senator also argued that OLC had no authority to declare which requests from Congress to the White House are authorized. He warned Trump against ignoring requests from Democrats, noting that the OLC opinion makes a “contrived distinction between ‘oversight’ and ‘non-oversight’” and does not “say that determinations whether to comply voluntarily with an individual request depend or should depend upon the party of the requester.”

But Grassley said that “bureaucrats in the Executive Branch sometimes choose to respond only to the party in power at the moment,” adding that he had trouble with his own requests to the Obama administration.

“I know from experience that a partisan response to oversight only discourages bipartisanship, decreases transparency, and diminishes the crucial role of the American people;s elected representatives. Oversight brings transparency, and transparency brings accountability,” Grassley wrote. “And the opposite is true. Shutting down oversight requests doesn’t drain the swamp, Mr. President. It floods the swamp.”

Grassley ended the letter by laying out why he found OLC’s opinion so troubling: by refusing to fulfill requests voluntarily, he wrote, the White House will prompt Congress to demand the documents through a compulsory process.

 

Read the full letter:

A new poll released by WSB-TV on Thursday showed Democrat Jon Ossoff strengthening his lead over Republican Karen Handel slightly in the special election to fill an open U.S. House seat in Georgia.

Ossoff led Handel by 2.5 points, 49.6-47.1, among likely voters, in the poll conducted by Landmark Communications. In the previous WSB-TV/Landmark poll released last week, Ossoff led Handel by less than two points.

The poll released on Thursday surveyed 420 likely voters June 6-7 with a margin of error plus or minus 4.78 percentage points.

 

A spokesman for Attorney General Jeff Sessions late Thursday pushed back on several aspects of James Comey’s Senate testimony after the former FBI director raised new questions about Sessions’ actions before and after he recused himself from the federal investigation of Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.

Comey’s testimony touched on Sessions at several points. He hinted that the FBI was aware of information that led the bureau to believe Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia probe weeks before he actually did so, and reportedly told senators in a subsequent closed session that Sessions may have met with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. on a third occasion that the attorney general had not disclosed.

Read More →

The morning after former FBI Director James Comey delivered blockbuster testimony in the Senate in which he painted President Donald Trump as a liar and said that the President pressured him to quash a probe into Michael Flynn, Trump published a tweet declaring “vindication.”

Trump published his tweet shortly after 6 a.m. on Friday morning, during the time frame when he typically shares his thoughts on Twitter.

He referenced “false statements and lies,” appearing to accuse Comey of lying under oath.

Trump also labeled Comey a “leaker,” referencing Comey’s decision to get a friend to share the contents of memos about his conversations with Trump to the press, a revelation the former FBI director shared on Thursday during with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Read More →

Throughout his testimony Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey repeatedly stressed the serious implications of Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election. He argued that the issue of Russian meddling it not about politics, but about the credibility of the American government.

Toward the beginning of the hearing, Comey said that he has no doubt that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 election and that Russian government officials were aware of the meddling.

He later stressed that Russian interference is very real, countering President Donald Trump’s constant dismissals of the Russia probe.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) asked Comey about the way Trump has discussed Russia’s election meddling, noting that the President has described Russian interference “as a hoax and as fake news.” In response, Comey stressed that there’s no doubt that the Russian government tried to interfere in the 2016 election and that the conclusion on Russia’s actions is “about as unfake as you can possibly get.”

“There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. They did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. And it was an active measures campaign driven from the top of the government. There is no fuzz on that,” Comey said.

“It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community — and the members of this committee have seen the intelligence — it’s not a close call,” he continued. “That happened. That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get and is very, very serious, which is why it’s so refreshing to see a bipartisan focus on that. Because this is about America, not about any particular party.”

Asked if it was a “hostile act by the Russian government,” Comey replied, “Yes.”

Later in his testimony, Comey emphasized that Russia’s attempt to meddle in the election is a threat to the United States and should rise above politics. He delivered a passionate monologue about just how grave a threat Russia’s meddling is to America.

“The reason this is such a big deal is we have this big, messy, wonderful country where we fight with each other all the time but nobody tells us what to think, what to fight about, what to vote for, except other Americans. And that’s wonderful and often painful,” Comey said. “But we’re talking about a foreign government that — using technical intrusion, lots of other methods — tried to shape the way we think, we vote, we act.”

“That is a big deal. And people need to recognize it. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. They’re coming after America, which I hope we all love equally,” he continued. “They want to undermine our credibility in the face of the world. They think that this great experiment of ours is a threat to them. And so they’re going to try to run it down and dirty it up as much as possible. That’s what this is about. And they will be back, because we remain — as difficult as we can be with each other — we remain that shining city on the hill and they don’t like it.”

The former FBI director also noted that Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2016 election was part of an ongoing effort targeted at the U.S.

“It’s a long-term practice of theirs. It stepped up a notch in a significant way in ’16. They’ll be back,” he told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He stressed that the probe into Russian election meddling is also about prevention of future attacks, saying that Russia is not a threat to any one political party, but to the country as a whole.

Comey also addressed some of the details of the the FBI’s investigation into Russian hacking attempts. He said there was a “massive” effort to target government agencies and non-governmental groups, estimating that hundreds, possibly around 1,000, entities were targeted. He also said that the FBI never examined the hardware that was hacked at the Democratic National Committee’s, but that the FBI got the information they needed from a third party.

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