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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

Five deputies with the Cumberland County, North Carolina, sheriff's office were disciplined for failing to take action when an attendee at a rally for Donald Trump allegedly punched a black protester last week, the sheriff's office announced on Wednesday.

Three of the deputies were demoted in rank and suspended without pay for five days, and two other deputies were suspended without pay for three days, according to Raleigh television station WRAL. All five deputies who witnessed the punch could face up to a year of probation.

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This post has been updated.

Senate Republicans signaled to President Obama that if he nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, they would consider confirming him during the lame duck session if a Democrat is elected to the White House in November, NPR's Nina Totenberg reported on Wednesday.

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When Merrick Garland was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 1997, both Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said in speeches on the Senate floor that Garland was a qualified nominee.

Hatch in particular had a lot of praise for Garland.

"I do not believe that there is anything in Mr. Garland’s record to indicate that if confirmed, he could amount to an activist judge or might only be an activist judge. Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee," Hatch said at the time, according to video from C-SPAN. "I know him personally. I know of his integrity. I know of his legal ability. I know of his honesty. I know of his acumen. And he belongs on the court. And I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but as good as Republicans can expect from this administration. In fact, I would place him at the top of the list."

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Following President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement reiterating that the Senate will not consider Obama's nominee and blasting the President's approach for selecting a new justice.

"Today the President has exercised his constitutional authority. A majority of the Senate has decided to fulfill its constitutional role of advice and consent by withholding support for the nomination during a presidential election year, with millions of votes having been cast in highly charged contests," Grassley said in a written statement. "As Vice President Biden previously said, it’s a political cauldron to avoid."

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Reuters on Wednesday issued a correction to its initial report that President Obama would nominate Judge Sri Srinivasan to the Supreme Court.

Numerous outlets reported on Wednesday that Obama had selected Judge Merrick Garland, citing congressional sources, following a conference call between the President and Senate Democratic leaders.

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Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said on Wednesday morning that if the Republican presidential primary leads to a contested convention, he would throw his support behind his successor, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).

"If we don’t have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I’m for none of the above," Boehner said at a conference in Boca Raton, Florida, according to Politico. "They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I’m for none of the above. I’m for Paul Ryan to be our nominee."

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This post has been updated.

Donald Trump on Wednesday morning told "Fox and Friends" that he will not participate in the Fox News Republican presidential debate on March 21 because he had already scheduled a speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

"Nobody even told me about it," Trump said when asked if he would attend the next debate. "I thought the last debate on CNN was the last debate. That was going to be it. And I’m doing a major speech in front of a very important group of people, I think it’s eight or 9,000 people, that night. And it was scheduled a while ago."

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Donald Trump on Wednesday morning predicted that there will be riots at the Republican national convention if he falls just short of the delegate count needed and another candidate then wins the nomination.

"I think we’ll win before getting to the convention," Trump said on CNN's "New Day." "But I can tell you, if we didn’t, and if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re 100 short, and we’re at 1100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400 — because we’re way ahead of everybody — I don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. I think you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots. I'm representing a tremendous — many, many millions of people."

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Katrina Pierson, a spokeswoman for Donald Trump, on Tuesday night defended instances when the campaign has blocked reporters from covering the candidate's events and said that some reporters write "constant hit pieces for no reason."

On Fox News, Megyn Kelly noted that Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger was blocked from covering Trump's Tuesday night press conference. He had just written a piece, based on anonymous sourcing, that painted Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, as aggressive and disliked by other staffers on the campaign.

Kelly asked Pierson if Americans can expect Trump to ban reporters who write unflattering pieces if he becomes president.

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