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

After Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on Monday evening became the third Republican senator to oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare, effectively killing the legislation, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he was still not done fighting for his bill.

He called for a vote on the bill even if it’s doomed to fail during a CNN debate between Graham and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and two backers of a single payer health care bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

“We’re going to press on. It’s OK to vote. It’s OK to fall short, if you do, for an idea that you believe in,” Graham said on CNN.

Collins joined Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in publicly opposing the bill, ensuring that Republicans do not have the 50 votes needed to pass the bill in the Senate. It’s not yet clear whether Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will bring the legislation up for a vote given the lack of support.

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In the first White House press briefing since President Donald Trump bashed NFL players who protest during the national anthem, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump and suggested protesting players find a new target.

“I think if the debate is really for them about police brutality, they should protest the officers on the field that are protecting them instead of the American flag,” Sanders told reporters at the White House.

That comment came after a reporter asked about a claim Sanders made earlier in the briefing that the “focus” of NFL players had “changed” from their original stated intent to protest police brutality.

Asked later if she was encouraging football players to protest the police, Sanders said she was not.

“That’s not what I’m saying,” Sanders insisted. “I was kind of pointing out the hypocrisy of the fact that if the goal is and the message is that of police brutality, which they’ve stated, then that doesn’t seem very appropriate to protest the American flag. I’m not sure how those two things would be combined.”

The White House press secretary defended Trump’s decision to wade into the issue, arguing that far from being a distraction, it’s “always appropriate” for the President to defend the flag, the national anthem and those who protect the U.S.

“He’s emphasizing something that should be unifying,” Sanders said.

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During an interview Monday morning on the Alabama-based “Rick and Bubba” radio show, President Donald Trump blasted Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) over his last-minute vote against Obamacare repeal in August.

“What McCain has done is a tremendous slap in the face of the Republican Party, tremendous,” Trump said. “That’s the only reason we don’t have it, because of John McCain.”

Trump claimed he was key in persuading some holdouts to back the bill last go-around.

“I was given 10 people, and I turned every one of them around, the ones I spoke to, I turned them around. We had all the votes,” Trump said while discussing McCain’s 11th-hour opposition to the repeal legislation last month.

McCain has also come out against the Senate’s latest bill to repeal Obamacare, likely dooming that legislation as well. Trump noted this Tuesday morning, mentioning Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) as another likely “no” vote.

“We’re going to lose two or three votes and that’s the end of that,” Trump said, appearing to predict defeat on the Graham-Cassidy bill.

Trump’s pessimistic comments about the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill came as the bill’s authors released changes aimed at winning over key holdouts. However, one of the bill’s firm opponents, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), said that the revisions had not changed his mind.

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Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and James Lankford (R-OK) are expected to introduce a bill Monday that would provide a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recently nixed by the Trump administration, McClatchy reported Monday morning.

The bill would require “extreme vetting,” a vague term often used by President Donald Trump, for those young undocumented immigrants seeking a path to citizenship. Former DACA recipients would have to go through several rounds of background and security checks, as well as pass a medical exam, according to talking points on the bill obtained by McClatchy.

The bill’s authors are expected to pitch the bill as a compromise between “amnesty” and “mass deportation,” arguing that a “merit-based” system would allow certain young undocumented immigrants to stay in the country while still keeping out anyone with a criminal history.

The forthcoming legislation would not let undocumented immigrants who hold a green card apply to bring family members over to the U.S. as permanent residents, as green card holders are able to do under current law, Politico reported later Monday. Under the bill proposed by Tillis and Lankford, DACA recipients would have to wait until they are citizens to petition for family members to join them in the U.S

Only those who have been in the U.S. since June 15, 2012, when the DACA program started, would be allowed to apply for legal status under the bill, per Politico. Applicants would also need a high school diploma to apply, and then would need to either attend college, serve in the military or hold a steady job in order to maintain legal status.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced earlier this month that the administration would end DACA in six months and urge Congress to offer a legislative fix in the meantime. Trump himself has said that he wants Congress to pass legislation restoring DACA’s protections, but has insisted he does not support “amnesty.”

This post has been updated.

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As President Donald Trump spent much of his time this weekend blasting professional football players who kneel in protest during the national anthem, members of his Cabinet defended Trump’s rage.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday stood by Trump’s comments and told professional athletes to exercise their First Amendment rights on their own time.

“I think what the President is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “This isn’t about Democrats, it’s not about Republicans, it’s not about race, it’s not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time.”

Asked specifically about Trump’s comments urging NFL coaches to fire any “son of a bitch” who protests during the national anthem, Mnuchin said Trump “can use whatever language he wants to use.”

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In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that he never received a personal apology from President Donald Trump, who said during the 2016 campaign that McCain was not a war hero.

McCain said he would welcome a personal apology from the President, however.

“I’d be glad to converse with him. But I also understand that we’re very different people,” McCain said when CBS’ Lesley Stahl if he would be willing to talk with Trump if he wanted to apologize.

The Arizona senator also discussed his recent diagnosis with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

“They said that it’s very serious,” he said of his discussion with his doctors. “You know, it’s a very poor prognosis.”

Despite sitting for chemotherapy and radiation treatments regularly, McCain told Stahl that the diagnosis has made him want to work harder.

“I am more energetic and more engaged as a result of this because I know that I’ve got to do everything I can to serve this country while I can,” he said.


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After President Donald Trump won the presidential election in November, then-President Barack Obama asked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to address the uptick in fake news on the social media website, the Washington Post reported Sunday night, citing unnamed people brief on the conversation.

As federal investigators and reporters dig deeper into Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, Facebook has come under scrutiny for the amount of fake news that flourished on the social platform. Reports this month revealed that a Russian troll farm spent $100,000 on Facebook ads during the 2016 election and that a Russian-linked Facebook group promoted pro-Trump rallies.

After the 2016 election, amid concerns that Russia tried to interfere in the election, Zuckerberg said it was “crazy” to think that fake content on Facebook influenced the outcome of the 2016 race.

After those comments, on Nov. 19, Obama spoke to Zuckerberg about fake news and Facebook on the sidelines of a meeting with world leaders in Peru, according to the Washington Post. Obama told Zuckerberg that he needed to do more to address fake news and its influence on elections, per the Post.

However, Zuckerberg was resistant and told Obama that fake news was not widespread on Facebook and that it would be hard to address, according to the Washington Post.

Read the Washington Post’s full report here.

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As Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) indicated on Sunday that they could vote against Senate Republicans’ latest Obamacare repeal bill, the legislation’s authors prepared to release changes to the bill in an apparent attempt to win over key senators.

Collins, who has been publicly wary of the bill, has yet to come out firmly against the Graham-Cassidy bill. However, she made clear on Sunday that there’s a very small chance she could support the legislation.

“It’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that she will wait for the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the bill before making a final decision.

During an appearance at the Texas Tribune Festival, Cruz said that Republican senators had yet to win his support for the bill, and that Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was also apprehensive about the legislation.

“Right now they don’t have my vote, and I don’t think they have Mike Lee’s either,” Cruz said Sunday.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have already come out firmly against the bill, so Republican leaders cannot afford to lose another member of their caucus.

With the bill on its last legs, its authors are preparing to release a new draft of the bill on Monday in a final attempt to win over the remaining holdouts. The bill would target Maine and Alaska, the home states of Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), another senator likely to oppose the bill, according to reports from Politico and the Washington Post.

The revised legislation provides more funding to both Maine and Alaska compared to previous versions of the bill, according to a summary obtained by the Washington Post. The bill would also send more funds to Arizona and Kentucky, the home states of McCain and Paul, according to a draft of the bill obtained by Politico.

Before revisions to the bill were leaked to the press Sunday night, President Donald Trump took a break from tweeting about the NFL to push GOP senators to back the legislation.


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With the Senate’s latest Obamacare repeal bill on its last legs Friday afternoon thanks to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) coming out against the bill, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate argued that there’s still hope for the GOP to pass the bill.

During an interview on Fox News shortly after McCain’s announcement, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said it was “certainly not a good development for passage of the bill.” But he argued that there’s still a chance it could pass.

“There are a couple of uncommitted members and there is an opportunity between now and September 30th, the end of next week, to get a vote on this, an affirmative vote. We know this issue is not going away,” Thune said.

McCain became the second Republican to definitively oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill, joining Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Just one more Republican senator opposing the bill would kill any hopes of its passage, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has sent strong signals that she will not support it.

Asked what comes next, Thune noted that the leaders on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (R-WA), had been working on a bipartisan measure to issue fixes to Obamacare before Senate Republicans made their long-shot, last-ditch attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Thune suggested that Democrats’ beliefs about the health care system made those negotiations difficult.

“The problem with this issue is we are going in fundamentally different directions,” Thune said. “The Democrats want to double down on Obamacare and ultimately, if you take a look at last week the bill introduced by Senator Sanders and 15 other Senate Democrats moves us to single-payer.”

Murray issued a statement after McCain’s announcement on Friday afternoon telling Republicans that she is “still at the table ready to keep working” on a bipartisan bill.

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Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has an unprecedented round-the-clock security detail that now includes 18 people, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed people briefed on the situation.

Pruitt’s request for such a large security detail has required the EPA to pull special agents who typically investigate environmental crimes onto his detail, according to the Washington Post and CNN.

The EPA administrator reportedly requested a 24/7 security detail of 10 agents when he first assumed his post earlier this year. These latest stories confirm that Pruitt has had a round-the-clock security detail, a first for an EPA administrator.

The agency’s inspector general told the Washington Post and CNN that the EPA has seen an uptick in threats this year, many of them directed at Pruitt himself.

“We have at least four times — four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. [Gina] McCarthy,” Patrick Sullivan, the EPA’s assistant inspector general for investigations, told CNN.

“They run the variety of direct death threats — ‘I’m going to put a bullet in your brain’ — to implied threats — ‘if you don’t classify this particular chemical in this particular way, I’m going to hurt you,'” Sullivan added. “Then there’s implied threats — like they say in New York, with the mafia: ‘If you come after me and my family, I’ll come after you and your family.'”

According to documents obtained by E&E News through a Freedom of Information Act request in July, the EPA spent nearly double the amount previous administrations spent on security in its first three months under Pruitt.

Pruitt’s request for a large security detail comes as he pushes for a 31 percent funding cut across the agency.


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