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

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has signed one of the two pieces of legislation state lawmakers have proposed that would dramatically curb the power of the incoming Democratic governor, the speaker of the state House told local reporters on Friday afternoon.

The other major bill that would weaken the governorship has been passed by the state House and state Senate and now goes back to the House for final approval after the Senate made changes.

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After Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) signaled this week that he may oppose ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson's nomination to be secretary of state, former Vice President Dick Cheney reached out to the Florida senator and spoke to him about supporting Tillerson, the Washington Post reported on Friday. The Post based the report on the account of "a person with knowledge of the conversation."

Other Tillerson supporters have contacted Rubio as well, according to the Washington Post.

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The co-hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, have come under fire for their coverage of Donald Trump, but the two morning show hosts argue that the criticism is unfounded and that they have in fact been tough on Trump.

“It’s not fair,” Brzezinski told Vanity Fair in an interview published Thursday night. “No one has been tougher on Donald Trump than Joe and I.”

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As Republican state lawmakers in North Carolina discussed a package of legislation that would significantly weaken the incoming Democratic governor, several protesters were arrested at the state capitol building on Thursday.

Protesters gathered in the state House chamber, chanting at state lawmakers, "You work for us," according to Raleigh television station WRAL. House Speaker Tim Moore (R) ordered the protesters removed from the House gallery but several refused, leading police to arrest at least 16 people, according to CBS News.

As those arrested left the state House, protesters shouted "Shame" and "This is what democracy looks like," per CBS. A reporter for N.C. Policy Watch was among those arrested in the House gallery when police demanded that everyone leave, the News and Observer reported.

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President Obama says that the United States will respond in some form to the Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election with cyber attacks.

"I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be," Obama told NPR in an interview set to air in full on Friday when asked if Russia should pay a price for its hacking attempts.

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The package of proposals North Carolina Republican lawmakers are pushing in the surprise special session would drastically weaken the power of the governor, compared not just to what previous governors enjoyed but also compared to governors in other states, according to political experts.

"This would be a dramatic reversal of what trends have been, and it would make the governor of North Carolina probably the weakest governor, at least on paper, in the United States," Thomas Eamon, a political science professor at East Carolina University, told TPM.

The GOP gambit in the short term would deny the governor certain powers right before Democrat Roy Cooper is sworn in, tilting the political playing field to the advantage of the GOP legislature. But the move also defied recent trends toward a stronger governor in North Carolina.

"The trend, over the last, I would say, several decades, has been for the office of governor to get stronger," Eamon told TPM, adding that if passed, the new proposals would mark a big reversal.

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As part of their attempt to curb the power of the incoming Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, Republican state lawmakers in North Carolina are pushing legislation that would allow many of GOP Gov. Pat McCrory's political appointees to become permanent staffers in the next administration.

One bill proposed in the state House during a last-minute special session called on Wednesday would reduce from 1,500 to 300 the number of "exempt positions," jobs that are typically political in nature. This came after the Republican legislature increased the number of exempt positions under McCrory by about 1,000 jobs in 2013.

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In a Thursday morning press conference, Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper slammed North Carolina state Republicans for pushing legislation to limit the governor's authority "in the dark of night with little debate."

Cooper said that measures introduced in a surprise last-minute special session to limit the governor's authority with appointees and change the way the state elections board functions were "unprecedented."

"This is about thwarting the governors ability to move us forward on education, and health care, and clean air and water," Cooper told reporters, referring to a measure in the lame duck legislature that would require the governor's cabinet appointees to be approved by the state Senate.

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In a surprise extra special session on Wednesday called with just hours notice, the Republican-led North Carolina state legislature introduced measures that would reduce the power of the incoming Democratic governor.

Legislators had convened to address disaster relief, but when the session called by lame duck Gov. Pat McCrory ended on Wednesday, the General Assembly quickly called a new special session to pass additional initially unspecified legislation.

Republican lawmakers' last-minute attempt to limit the state governor's powers comes after McCrory conceded in a tight re-election race to his Democratic challenger, state Attorney General Roy Cooper. McCrory dragged the race out for nearly a month beyond Election Day, using a flurry of ballot complaints to decry widespread voter fraud. But after complaints filed by Republicans were largely dismissed, McCrory finally conceded.

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The North Carolina state general assembly on Wednesday called an impromptu special session, but lawmakers did not specify what legislation they would convene to discuss.

State lawmakers finished up a different special session on Wednesday after passing disaster relief legislation, which was the initial reason lame duck Gov. Pat McCrory (R) called the session this week, according to the News and Observer. Then the legislature immediately went into the mystery special session.

Senate leader Phil Berger (R) announced the surprise session midday, which was convened by the legislature, not McCrory. However, he would not say what legislation lawmakers would consider, and the proclamation establishing the impromptu special session stated that the general assembly would consider "bills concerning any matters the General Assembly elects to consider."

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