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

MSNBC host Joy Reid issued a statement on Friday apologizing for comments she made in the past on a now-defunct blog — the latest twist in an ongoing saga over a series of offensive posts, some of which the TV personality claims were fabricated by hackers.

“While I published my blog, starting in 2005, I wrote thousands of posts in real time on the issues of the day. There are things I deeply regret and am embarrassed by, things I would have said differently and issues where my position has changed. Today I’m sincerely apologizing again,” Reid said in the statement. “I’m sorry for the collateral damage and pain this is causing individuals and communities caught in the crossfire.”

Reid specifically addressed blog posts surfaced this week in which she encouraged people to look into a 9/11 conspiracy theory and photoshopped Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) onto the body of the Virginia Tech shooter.

“To be clear, I have the highest respect for Sen. McCain as a public servant and patriot and wish him and his family the best. I have reached out to Meghan McCain and will continue to do so. She is a former on-air colleague and I feel deeply for her and her family,” Reid said in the Friday statement, adding later that she believes there’s “no question in my mind that Al Qaeda perpetrated the 9/11 attacks or about Israel’s right to its sovereignty.”

Reid said that her beliefs have evolved and that she is “a better person today than I was over a decade ago.”

“I believe the totality of my work attests to my ideals and I continue to grow every day,” she concluded in the statement.

MSNBC also issued a statement Friday emphasizing that Reid’s past views reflected on her blog do not represent the network’s values.

“Some of the things written by Joy on her old blog are obviously hateful and hurtful. They are not reflective of the colleague and friend we have known at MSNBC for the past seven years. Joy has apologized publicly and privately and said she has grown and evolved in the many years since, and we know this to be true,” MSNBC said in a statement.

In her Friday statement, Reid did not address posts that appear to be from her defunct blog that surfaced back in April, which featured homophobic comments. Her Friday statement also made no mention of hacking, on which she blamed for the homophobic comments that appeared in archived versions of her blog.

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It seems House Oversight Committee Chair Trey Gowdy’s (R-SC) statement Tuesday that the FBI acted appropriately by having an informant meet with officials on the Trump campaign will not dissuade President Donald Trump from pushing his “Spygate” conspiracy theory.

During the White House press briefing Wednesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders indicated that Trump would not retract his accusation that the FBI spied on his campaign.

“Clearly there’s still cause for concern that needs to be looked at. The deputy director of the FBI was actually fired for misconduct. The President’s concerned about the matter, and we’re going to continue to follow the issue,” Sanders told reporters when asked if Trump would retract his claims.

When asked specifically if Gowdy’s assessment had any impact on Trump’s views, Sanders repeated that Trump is concerned.

“There are a number of things that have been reported on, that show, I think, not just for the President, but a number of Americans, a large cause for concern. And we’d like to see this fully looked into,” she said.

Asked later in the briefing if Trump is still concerned that the FBI embedded a spy in his presidential campaign, Sanders said, “The President still has concerns about whether or not the FBI acted inappropriately having people in his campaign. ”

Sanders declined to “get into those details” when asked who specifically Sanders was referring to with the phrase “in the campaign.”

Trump in recent weeks has latched onto the revelation that an FBI informant met with several officials on his campaign, spinning the news into a conspiracy theory that the FBI spied on his campaign.

Following a briefing with Justice Department officials about the informant, Gowdy said that he believes the FBI did not do anything inappropriate by deploying the informant.

“I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got and that it has nothing to do with Trump,” Gowdy said on Fox News Tuesday.

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The Environmental Protection Agency spent about $3.5 million on Administrator Scott Pruitt’s unprecedented 24/7 security detail, according to EPA data viewed by Politico.

The EPA spent twice as much on security for Pruitt in his first year than the agency did in the final year of the Obama administration, Politico calculated.

Pruitt has insisted that he needs a round-the-clock security detail due to the number of threats that he has received. He also flew first class on domestic flights, ostensibly due to security concerns, but pledged to fly coach after an uproar over his spending habits. EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox emphasized to Politico on Friday that Pruitt has faced “an unprecedented amount of death threats.”

The EPA administrator has also come under scrutiny for installing a pricey soundproof booth in his office, renting a room in a prominent lobbyist’s home and giving large raises to two staffers.

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Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Friday morning that Michael Cohen remains a deputy finance chair at the RNC despite the fact that he’s under criminal investigation.

“It is still the case,” McEnay told livestreaming news network Cheddar when asked if Cohen remained as an RNC official. “You know, there’s ongoing litigation, and we’ll take it step by step.”

She would not say whether Cohen would be removed in the future if he faces charges.

Cheddar’s J.D. Durkin asked McEnay if the RNC had concerns that Cohen is under investigation for possible campaign finance violations given his role in the Republican Party. In response, McEnay echoed President Trump’s claim that federal investigators violated attorney-client privilege when they raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel room.

“I have concerns about the violation of attorney-client privilege, and when the Southern District of New York invaded his office, swept up material, violating the President’s privacy, his clients’ privacy, Michael Cohen’s privacy. So that’s where my concerns lie,” she said.

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A federal judge in Washington, D.C. grappled Wednesday with whether key evidence obtained by the FBI against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort should be admitted at his trial.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson spent the bulk of the hearing discussing the FBI search of Manafort’s storage unit. The main issue is whether an employee of Manafort’s had the authority to allow an FBI agent to enter the unit before a search warrant was obtained. Manafort’s lawyers argue that the employee did not have the authority to grant a third party access to the unit. Jackson also asked both legal teams about the search of Manafort’s residence, for which Manafort’s lawyers argue the warrant was overly broad.

Manafort wants evidence from both seizures to be suppressed, which would deal a serious blow to special counsel Robert Mueller’s case.

As previous filings revealed, an employee for Manafort allowed an FBI agent entry to a storage unit where the agent saw filing cabinets and boxes, as well as some of the labels on the boxes. The employee’s name was on the lease for the unit, and the employee told the agent that he placed items inside the unit for Manafort.

The FBI agent then sought and obtained a search warrant and seized the records in storage unit. Though Jackson had ordered the FBI agent who conducted the search to be present at the hearing, Manafort’s lawyers decided it would not be necessary to question the agent.

The lawyer arguing for Manafort for this portion of the hearing, Thomas Zehnle, argued that the employee did not have the authority to grant the agent access to the unit because he only brought filings to the unit at Manafort’s “direction.” Zehnle said that the agent did not ask the employee enough questions to determine whether he had the authority to allow a third party entry to the unit. At one point, Zehnle compared the situation to his recent decision to hire a pet sitter. He said that just because the pet sitter had a key to his home temporarily did not mean that the individual had any authority to do whatever he or she pleased in the home.

Jackson spent a lot of the hearing quizzing Zehnle on the case law that backed up his argument that the employee did not have the authority to give the agent access to the unit, at one point telling Zehnle she was “shocked” by how few cases had been cited to back up his arguments on mutual use.

The special counsel’s office argued that because the employee had a key, was listed on the lease and conducted business for Manafort in the unit, he had the authority to grant the FBI agent access.

As for the residence search, the lawyer arguing for Manafort in that portion of the hearing, Richard Westling, said that the warrant obtained by the government was overly broad given that it lacked specifics on which files agents were seeking from Manafort’s home. Westling complained that the government could search “every piece of paper in the place” and argued that the government should have returned any documents copied from Manafort’s devices to Manafort.

“You couldn’t construct a warrant any broader than this,” Westling said.

Meisler, the lawyer arguing for the government, argued that the warrant was not overly broad, citing specific possible offenses that the government listed in the search warrant. He also noted that some devices were returned to Manafort and that copies taken from devices need to be kept in their entirety to maintain authenticity.

In the Washington, D.C. case, Manafort faces charges of money laundering, tax evasion, and failure to disclose foreign lobbying, stemming from his lobbying work in Ukraine. He faces additional charges in Virginia stemming from that same lobbying work. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller issued a subpoena to John Kakanis, an assistant to Roger Stone, Reuters reported Friday, citing two people with knowledge of the matter.

The report on the subpoena to Kakanis, who has worked as a driver, accountant and operative to Stone, comes just two days after Reuters reported that Mueller subpoenaed a social media consultant to Stone.

The subpoenas issued to two Stone aides show that Mueller’s team may be narrowing in on Stone as part of the Russia probe. Stone communicated with Wikileaks and Giccifer 2.0, the Twitter personality linked to the Democratic email hacks, but Stone has denied having advance knowledge of the email leaks during the 2016 election.

Stone told Reuters in a statement that he expects Mueller to clear him of any wrongdoing.

“I sincerely hope when this occurs that the grotesque, defamatory media campaign which I have endured for years now will finally come to its long-overdue end,” Stone wrote in the statement.

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Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law has reached a plea deal with the Justice Department regarding his own case that requires him to cooperate with other investigations, Reuters reported Thursday evening, citing two people with knowledge of the matter.

Jeffrey Yohai’s cooperation with other ongoing probes could impact special counsel Robert Mueller’s case against Manafort, who faces two indictments stemming from his political work in Ukraine.

CNN reported last year that Yohai gave federal investigators information and documents. It’s unclear what information he handed over, but investigators were looking for cooperation on their probe into Manafort’s Ukraine work, per CNN.

Yohai had been facing a separate investigation into his real estate dealings along with Manafort in New York and California.

In the plea agreement he reached earlier this year, Yohai pleaded guilty to misusing construction loan funds and to a charge related to overdrawing a bank account, according to Reuters.

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Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner appeared agitated and disinterested after it became clear that the Russians in the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting could provide little of value, according to testimony from those who attended the meeting released on Wednesday.

As the emails previously released by Trump Jr. revealed, members of the Trump campaign attended a meeting with Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and several Russian businesspeople with the promise of damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

However, Veselnitskaya apparently spent most of the meeting alleging that she had discovered the flow of illicit funds to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), as well as inveighing against the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. sanctions law that prompted Russia to ban U.S. adoptions of Russian children. This frustrated some of the Trump campaign officials in the room, according to testimony from three people there — Russian lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, Russian businessman Irakly Kaveladze and Rob Goldstone, the publicist who helped set up the meeting.

“You could tell that they were not interested, and they were like looking at their phones or like, you know, just looking the other way, their watch,” Akhmetshin told the committee.

Kushner and Trump Jr. seemed particularly irked by Veselnitskaya’s presentation, meeting attendees said.

As Veselnitskaya was giving her presentation, Trump Jr. specifically asked her if she had any information on Hillary Clinton, suggesting he was frustrated by the lack of dirt about his father’s opponent, according to both Akhmetshin and Kaveladze. Veselnitskaya replied that she did not have information on Clinton and suggested that the Trump campaign research it, Akhmetshin and Kaveladze said.

After that, Trump Jr. “instantly lost interest,” Akhmetshin told the committee. As Veselnitskaya moved on to discuss Russian adoption it was “palpable” that Trump Jr. was no longer interested in the meeting, Akhmetshin added.

“You could kind of see it,” Akhmetshin said.

Goldstone said that Trump Jr. told Veselnitskaya to raise her concerns about the Magnitsky Act “to the Obama administration because they actually are in power” before ending the meeting.

And as the meeting attendees left, Goldstone appeared to apologize to Trump Jr., Kaveladze said.

Kushner left before the end of the meeting, and Kaveladze told the committee that Kushner appeared “very frustrated that he was in the meeting,” asking at one point why Veselnitskaya was discussing the Magnitsky Act.

Goldstone said that Kushner appeared confused and asked Veselnitskaya to give a more focused presentation. Veselnitskaya started over with very similar comments, irking Kushner even more, Goldstone said.

“After a few minutes of this labored presentation, Jared Kushner, who is sitting next to me, appeared somewhat agitated by this and said, I really have no idea what you’re talking about. Could you please focus a bit more and maybe just start again?” Goldstone said in his testimony. “And I recall that she began the presentation exactly where she had begun it last time, almost word for word, which seemed, by his body language, to infuriate him even more.”

While Trump Jr. and Kushner appeared visibly agitated, Paul Manafort seemed disinterested and spent the entire meeting looking at his Blackberry, according to Akhmetshin.

“[H]e was sitting in the chair which kind of goes back. He was almost like lying there, like, you know, on his phone, and it’s through the whole meeting,” Akhmetshin said.

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