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

It appears President Donald Trump has been keeping tabs on Hillary Clinton’s book promotion tour.

In tweets published late Wednesday night, Trump attacked Clinton’s portrayal of her stunning election loss in November, arguing that Clinton should only blame herself for the election outcome.

Trump’s angry tweets about Clinton came as the former secretary of state promotes her new book “What Happened,” which details her experience running for president against Trump. In her book and during interviews, Clinton has lamented the impact of former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to re-open the email investigation during the campaign and suggested that the Trump campaign helped Russia meddle in the election.

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After Democratic leaders Wednesday night announced that they had reached a tentative agreement with President Donald Trump to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program’s protections through legislation, Trump pushed back on that claim in a series of tweets early Thursday morning.

Trump dined with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the White House on Wednesday night, where the leaders discussed several issues, including DACA. After the dinner, Schumer and Pelosi released a joint statement claiming they agreed with Trump to move forward with a bill to restore DACA’s protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors.

“We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the President. The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly disputed the Democrats’ claim that Trump agreed that funding for the border wall would not need to be included in a DACA bill.

Matt House, Schumer’s spokesman, then pushed back on Sanders’ tweet, claiming that Trump told Democratic leaders Wednesday night he would not push for border wall funding to be included in a DACA bill.

The White House has been signaling that it will not necessarily demand Congress fund the border wall in the same bill restoring DACA protections. During a Tuesday breakfast with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, indicated that border wall funding was not a hard demand for a bill enacting DACA protections.

In his tweets Thursday morning, Trump did not definitively say that funding for the wall would have to be included in a DACA bill. He only mentioned the need for border security measures. He also said that his administration has already begun work on a wall, referring to restoration work on existing barriers and defended his support for helping undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.

Trump also reportedly told lawmakers earlier on Wednesday that he would not need border wall funding to be included in a bill restoring DACA.

“He said, the wall doesn’t have to be necessary,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) told reporters Wednesday following a meeting between Trump and House members from both parties, according to the Washington Post. “He said we’re going to add [wall funding] somewhere else.”

“He said, ‘DACA, we’re going to do it early. We’re going to do some kind of border security.’ He brought up the wall. He said that doesn’t have to be on this DACA bill,” Cuellar added, per the Washington Post.

Following Democrats’ statement on the dinner, Trump faced some pushback from Republicans for discussing the issue with Democrats.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted at Trump Thursday morning indicating he was frustrated that Trump “undercut” his committee to reach a deal with Democrats.

Immigration hardliner Rep. Steve King (R-IA) also let Trump know on Twitter that he was unhappy with reports on the agreement between Democrats and the President.

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President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the deputy administrator at FEMA told NBC News on Wednesday that he would withdraw from consideration for the position, after the outlet asked him about a government report that found he falsified records while previously working for the agency.

“Given the distraction this will cause the Agency in a time when they cannot afford to lose focus, I have withdrawn from my nomination,” Daniel Craig told NBC News in an email.

President Donald Trump nominated Craig to the No. 2 spot at the agency in mid-July, but the Senate had yet to confirm Craig to the post.

An investigation conducted by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General found that Craig falsified travel and timekeeping records while he worked awarding FEMA contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to NBC News.

The report on that probe is not public, but NBC News obtained a copy.

According to the report, while he was working for the agency Craig looked for work at a firm, The Shaw Group, that had received a FEMA contract. The report found that while Craig claimed on a voucher that an August 2005 trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was for FEMA business, the trip was actually for an interview with The Shaw Group.

Craig told NBC News that the report was the result of “poor” investigating and that some information contained in it was wrong.

Investigators launched the probe to determine whether Craig broke conflict of interest laws by seeking employment at firms bidding for contracts with FEMA, per NBC News. However, the probe did not find there was enough evidence to show Craig broke conflict-of-interest laws, and he was never charged with a crime.

Craig did make an attempt to recuse himself from matters involving Shaw, according to a letter obtained by the Project on Government Oversight. However, that letter came only after he started interviewing for a job at the firm, and after the firm was awarded a contract, per NBC News.

Read the full report here.

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Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, is expected to meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia probe behind closed doors on Tuesday, Buzzfeed News reported.

Cohen has been under scrutiny by the various congressional committees investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election since early this year. He has business ties in the former Soviet bloc, and was reportedly involved in a Ukraine “peace plan” that would have involved the Trump team in lifting economic sanctions on Russia.

It also came to light last month that Cohen was involved in efforts to build a Trump tower in Moscow while serving as a surrogate for the Trump campaign.

The longtime Trump ally initially refused requests to speak with congressional investigators in May, arguing that “the request was poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered.”

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The Trump administration is considering lowering the number of refugees the United States accepts each year to below 50,000 people, the New York Times reported Tuesday, citing unnamed current and former officials.

It would be the lowest number of refugees accepted by the U.S. since 1980, the New York Times noted.

President Donald Trump already set the maximum number of refugees accepted in the country to 50,000 with his executive order earlier this year, down from more than 100,000 under President Barack Obama. But some White House officials are pushing for him to lower that cap even further, according to the New York Times.

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, known for his hard-right views on immigration, has led this push, at one point proposing lowering the number of refugees accepted to 15,000, per the Times. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security are also pushing to lower the cap, proposing it be set at 40,000 refugees, the New York Times reported. Officials at the National Security Council, State Department, and Defense Department have opposed a significant drop in the number of refugees accepted, per the Times.



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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) will meet with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other congressional leaders Wednesday evening to discuss how Congress may approach restoring the protections from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program now that President Donald Trump has announced an end to the program next year, according to several reports out Tuesday night.

Politico was first to report that the meeting will take place, and the Washington Post later confirmed Ryan would meet with Pelosi about DACA, which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors from deportation.

Leaders in both parties have said that they would like to restore DACA protections, but it’s not yet clear that Republicans and Democrats will be able to agree on legislation. Pelosi and Democrats are pushing for Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would grant DACA recipients legal protections. Republicans have been less clear on what protections they would be willing to grant in legislation.

Democrats have also made it clear that they will not support tying funding for the border wall to legislation restoring DACA protections. The White House has indicated that it would like to see any legislation include provisions on border security, but a top White House aide suggested yesterday that the administration will not demand border wall funding be tied to a DACA bill.

“The President has made a commitment to the American people that he wants—he believes that a physical barrier is important to that equation of border security,” White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said Tuesday. “Whether or not that is part of a DACA equation, or whether or not that’s another legislative vehicle, I don’t want us to bind ourselves into a construct that makes reaching a conclusion on DACA impossible.”

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Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has again declined a request to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee, CNN reported early Wednesday, citing an unnamed source in Congress.

Investigators are reportedly interested in Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials during the transition and his failure to disclose payments he received from Russian firms.

The former Trump official previously refused a Senate Intelligence Committee request to appear in May, citing Fifth Amendment rights. At the time, Flynn’s lawyers argued that an “escalating public frenzy against him” created a a legally dangerous environment for Flynn, preventing him from testifying.

The Senate committee also issued subpoenas for documents from Flynn in May, and the former national security adviser reportedly agreed to turn over documents to the committee.

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The United Kingdom’s culture minister on Tuesday said that she will likely refer 21st Century Fox’s bid to buy British outlet Sky News to the country’s competition watchdog to examine whether Fox has an appropriate commitment to broadcasting standards.

British authorities have increased scrutiny of the impending deal following several complaints raising concerns that the Fox News parent company is not fit to own Sky News. That scrutiny followed several resignations at Fox News over allegations of sexual harassment, as well as a lawsuit alleging that the network worked with the Trump administration to push a conspiracy theory about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer.

In a statement to members of British Parliament on Tuesday, Culture Minister Karen Bradley said that the country’s communications regulator, Ofcom, found there are “non-fanciful concerns” about the company’s commitment to British broadcasting standards. Bradley said that Fox News had not had proper compliance procedures in place to broadcast in the U.K., and only made changes after Ofcom related concerns.

“The fact that Fox belatedly established such procedures does not ease my concerns, nor does Fox’s compliance history,” Bradley said.

Fox News has been cited by Ofcom before: The regulator ruled in 2015 that Fox News broke British law with bogus claims about Muslim “no-go zones.”

She also raised concerns about “corporate governance issues.”

“I agree with the view that, in this context, my proper concern is whether Fox will have a genuine commitment to attaining broadcasting standards objectives,” she said. “However, I am not confident that weaknesses in Fox’s corporate governance arrangements are incapable of affecting compliance in the broadcasting standards context.”

Bradley also said she’d heard concerns over “the ‘Foxification’ of Fox-owned news outlets internationally,” which she encouraged the competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), to look into if it does go ahead with a review.

The culture minister must first hear from the parties in the proposed merger before finalizing her decision to refer the deal to the CMA.

In an August 25 letter to the culture minister published on Tuesday, Ofcom wrote that certain “alleged behaviors” at 21st Century Fox were “concerning,” but that those failures should not prompt additional review. It appears Bradley disagreed that this finding does not warrant an investigation by the CMA.

“There were alleged behaviours amounting to significant corporate failures which were very concerning,” Ofcom chief executive Sharon White wrote. “However taking account of the nature of the failings, which did not occur in a broadcasting standards context, and the evidence before us of senior management efforts to rectify the situation, which included dismissal of those directly responsible, our judgment was that when taken together with the positive evidence of broadcast standards compliance, there were not concerns which may justify a reference on grounds of the broadcast standards public interest consideration.”

The letter did not say that the “alleged behaviors” were allegations of sexual harassment, but it’s possible that is what White was referencing.

Ofcom also reviewed complaints about comments made on Fox News, but the regulator determined that the instances did not warrant further investigation. In dismissing complaints about certain claims made on Fox News shows, Ofcom determined that “Hannity,” “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” and “Fox and Friends” are not news programs and therefore do not have a “due accuracy requirement.”

The regulator also considered the lawsuit alleging that Fox News worked with the Trump administration to push a conspiracy theory about Seth Rich using inaccurate statements. However, Ofcom said that it could not make a determination on the matter since the issue has not yet worked its way through the courts.

“If evidence of wider wrongdoing were to emerge at some future date it may be significant,” White wrote.

This post has been updated.

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Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs, on Tuesday acknowledged that the Trump administration did not do the best job of winning over conservative allies’ support for a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare early on in the process.

One of the things that we could learn from the last battle was that in many cases, we did not get all of our allies on board with the path forward,” Short said at a breakfast with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “And so therefore the Republican base was splintered, and some of the reform packages were tagged early on as ‘Obamacare lite.'” 

Short added that the White House did not have its full team in place before talks on Obamacare repeal began, which he argued prevented the White House from bringing allies on board.

I will say that that process began that first couple days in January. We were inaugurated at the end of the month and didn’t have our team really on the field,” he said. “So we do believe that was a process that we had a lot of our conservative allies already out attacking the House package before we were even in office.”

Short also indicated the White House would like to see Republicans take another stab at repealing Obamacare before the end of September. He brought up a bill drafted by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), which would keep some of the taxes imposed by Obamacare and send those funds to the states in the form of block grants.

The aide did not say that the White House backs the bill, however.

That is a vehicle that will hopefully get more attention in the coming days,” Short said when asked if Trump backs the Graham-Cassidy plan.

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A top White House official on Tuesday morning refrained from demanding that any legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program be tied to funding for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

During a breakfast with reporters held by the Christian Science Monitor, Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs, was asked if President Donald Trump will demand that Congress tie legislative restoration of DACA’s policies to funding for a border wall.

“We are most interested in getting border security. And the President has made a commitment to the American people that he wants—he believes that a physical barrier is important to that equation of border security,” Short replied. “Whether or not that is part of a DACA equation, or whether or not that’s another legislative vehicle, I don’t want us to bind ourselves into a construct that makes reaching a conclusion on DACA impossible.”

Later, asked again if Trump would demand that legislation restoring DACA’s protections be paired with funding for a wall, Short said that Trump is not backing off his demand that the country build a physical barrier at the southern border.

“Whether or not that is specifically part of a DACA package, or in a different legislative package, I’m not going to prejudge here today,” Short added.

Short would not say whether Trump is willing to sign legislation that provides a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors.

“I’m not going to state on that,” Short said when asked if Trump would be open to a path to citizenship. He said that the White House would wait to see Congress’ proposals.

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