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

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, told Politico on Monday evening that he would prefer the White House nominate someone other than President Donald Trump’s personal pilot to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to make the confirmation process easier.

“I’d prefer that they send somebody up that we can confirm easily. I’ve conveyed that to them,” Thune told Politico. “I’m sure that the Democrats would probably want to make it challenging.”

Both Axios and the Washington Post reported Sunday that John Duncan, who flew Trump’s personal plane during the 2016 campaign, is under consideration to lead the FAA.

Thune did not raise any issues with Duncan’s qualifications but suggested that there are other qualified candidates that would be easier to confirm in the Senate, a process Thune would oversee as Commerce chair.

“They say he’s got good qualifications and all that,” Thune told Politico. “But there are other people that I’m aware of that they’ve been vetting that would be very good in that position.”

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Melania Trump ended her professional relationship with unpaid adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff after a report revealed that the Presidential Inaugural Committee paid Wolkoff $1.62 million, the New York Times reported Monday night.

Stephanie Grishman, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman confirmed to the New York Times that the first lady had “severed the gratuitous services contract with Ms. Wolkoff.”

Two people with knowledge of the situation told the Times that Wolkoff’s contract ended last week. Wolkoff was an unpaid adviser to Melania Trump.

A New York Times report revealed two weeks ago that President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee paid Wolkoff’s firm $26 million and $1.6 million personally to Wolkoff.

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During a lengthy speech Monday about possible policy changes in the wake of the latest deadly school shooting, President Donald Trump suggested placing people who show signs of violent behavior into mental institutions.

“You know, in the old days we had mental institutions. We had a lot of them. And you could nab somebody like this,” Trump said at a meeting with governors. “But you used to be able to bring them into a mental institution and hopefully he gets help or whatever. But he’s off the streets. You can’t arrest him, I guess, because he hasn’t done anything, but you know he’s like a boiler ready to explode, right?”

Trump did not explicitly call for the government to fund mental institutions for those who appear poised to commit mass atrocities, but he suggested that lawmakers begin discussing mental institutions.

“We’re going to have to start talking about mental institutions, because a lot of folks in this room closed their mental institutions also. So we have no halfway. We have nothing between a prison and leaving him at his house, which we can’t do anymore. So I think you folks have to start thinking about that,” he told governors.

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Mona Charen, the conservative columnist who called out Republicans who back accused sexual harassers like President Donald Trump and Roy Moore at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, said that the experience was an encouraging one.

Charen faced audible boos and jeers from the crowd at CPAC on Saturday when she criticized Trump and Moore, but she says she’s also seen an outpouring of support since speaking up about the way GOP leaders have treated sexual misconduct among prominent candidates.

“There are fewer and fewer people who are speaking up. Even I was getting depressed and demoralized,” she said Monday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But since I said what I did, there’s been such an outpouring of support that I feel more than ever that people who are — who adhere to basic principles of dignity and integrity and belief that we should stand up for honesty, there are a lot of them out there, and they just need a little encouragement, I think.”

After she left the CPAC stage, she was approached by security guard and escorted out of the venue, Charen told “Morning Joe.” However, she said that on her way out, she did see some CPAC attendees give her “the thumbs up.”

Charen lamented the general embrace of Trump in the Republican party.

“There’s a tone of sort of sophomoric clownishness that’s creeped into conservatism now,” she said. “There’s this mood of trolling the opposition, that if you can create liberal tears, then anything goes.”

She noted that CPAC invited the granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right political party.

“What was the point of inviting her? It was again to create a response, to jab a needle in the eye of liberals. They think it’s a game; it’s not. It’s not a game,” Charen said.

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In an interview with NBC News that aired Monday morning, Ivanka Trump, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, criticized reporter Peter Alexander for asking her if she believes the women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

“I think it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he’s affirmatively stated that there’s no truth to it,” she told Alexander when he asked if she believed her father’s accusers.

“I don’t think that’s a question that you would ask many other daughters,” she continued. “I believe my father. I know my father. So I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father.”

Watch the clip via NBC News:

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President Donald Trump is a big fan of Singapore’s use of the death penalty for drug trafficking offenses and often tells confidants that drug dealers should be punished with the death penalty, Axios reported Sunday evening, citing sources who have spoken with the President.

Trump has said that he would like a law allowing for the execution of drug dealers but has acknowledged that such a law would likely never pass, per Axios.

Kellyanne Conway told Axios that Trump is not advocating for harsher punishment for low-level drug offenses but wants to crack down on those responsible for trafficking large amounts of deadly drugs.

Read Axios full report here.


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President Donald Trump’s personal pilot, John Dunkin, is being considered to lead the Federal Aviation Administration, according to reports from Axios and the Washington Post.

Axios first reported Sunday evening that Trump has told officials in his administration that he wants Dunkin (pictured above on the left) to run the FAA and that Dunkin has interviewed for the job, citing a senior administration official.

Later on Sunday, the Washington Post confirmed that Dunkin is “in the mix” for the post leading the FAA and that Dunkin has talked to the administration about the position, citing a White House official. The official told the Washington Post that Trump is not “putting his thumb on the scale in the selection process.”

Dunkin flew Trump’s plane during the campaign, but the senior administration official told Axios that Dunkin is under consideration because of his experience managing “airline and corporate flight departments” and certifying airplanes under FAA regulations.

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President Donald Trump on Friday offered only vague pledges about how he plans to make American schools safer, a week after 17 people died in a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

During a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, One America News Network’s Trey Yingst asked Trump what specific legislation he will propose to Congress in the wake of last week’s shooting.

Though Yingst asked Trump for details, Trump only offered broad strokes in response.

“We are going to be very strong on background checks,” he replied. “We want to be very powerful on background checks.’

Trump went on to describe the changes he will seek to the background check process as “strong” and “powerful,” but did not elaborate on what those changes would be or entail.

“We’re going to get rid of the bump stocks, and we’re going to do certain other things,” he added later, and again declined to offer much in the way of details.

Trump also called for some teachers to be armed, and claimed that “offensive capability” in schools could help prevent future tragedies.

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MD — More than a year after President Donald Trump won the 2016 election, attendees at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) were still celebrating Hillary Clinton’s loss and hoping for her arrest.

During the final speech on Thursday, the first day of the conference, the crowd broke out into a chant of “Lock her up!” when conservative writer Ben Shapiro said that Clinton would never be president.

“She’s already in a jail of her own making,” Shapiro quipped after the chants waned.

When Trump spoke to the conference last year, the same chant broke out during his speech.

Watch a clip of the moment via C-SPAN:

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team filed new charges in the case against former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, though the filing is under seal, leaving the details unclear, Politico reported on Wednesday.

The sealed charges did not appear in the online docket for the case, but the paper docket at the courthouse in Washington, D.C. showed that filing was a new charging document, according to Politico. It’s not clear when Mueller’s team filed the new charging document or what the document contains.

The filing came after Mueller’s team told the court that they had new evidence about bank fraud committed by Manafort.

The new charging document also comes as Gates has been working to change his legal team, sparking speculation that he is working on a plea deal with Mueller’s team. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that Gates plans to plead guilty soon and to cooperate with prosecutors as they pursue Manafort.

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