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

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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Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday called on ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to answer questions about whether his company hid what it knew about climate change now that he has been announced as Donald Trump's choice to lead the State Department.

“Now that he’s been nominated by the President-elect, he should absolutely answer the questions that we’ve been asking for months now,” Healey told the Boston Globe. “And this is the opportunity to come clean and produce information from the documents.”

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Donald Trump's transition team on Wednesday distanced itself from the questionnaire it sent to the Energy Department asking for a list of staffers and contractors who had been engaged in climate policy discussions.

"The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled," an unnamed Trump transition official told CNN.

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Donald Trump has said that he will step away from his businesses by the time he takes office and hand over the reins to his two oldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, but the President-elect's children are still very much involved in efforts to fill out Trump's cabinet.

Trump's three oldest children, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, all sit on the transition team's executive committee. His children have taken part in the process to select cabinet nominees and have sat in on meetings with foreign leaders.

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During an interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Tuesday night, Jason Miller, a spokesman for Donald Trump's transition team, repeatedly dodged questions about whether Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency believes in climate change.

Kelly told Miller that "the left" is concerned that Trump's EPA nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt does not believe in climate change. Pruitt has expressed skepticism of climate change, writing earlier this year that "scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind."

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During a victory tour rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday night, Donald Trump told the crowd that early on election night, he was convinced that he had lost the presidential race.

Trump said "it began with phony exit polls" showing him losing, at which point he resigned himself to the loss, according to Politico.

"So I sort of thought I lost, and I was OK with that,” Trump said Tuesday. “I wouldn’t say great."

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Donald Trump on Wednesday morning announced that he would nominate Rick Perry to be energy secretary, confirming reports that he would choose the former Texas governor to lead the department.

"As the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry created created a business climate that produced millions of new jobs and lower energy prices in his state, and he will bring that same approach to our entire country as Secretary of Energy,” Trump said in a statement. “My administration is going to make sure we take advantage of our huge natural resource deposits to make America energy independent and create vast new wealth for our nation, and Rick Perry is going to do an amazing job as the leader of that process."

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Donald Trump's pick to be secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, leads a company currently under investigation by state attorneys general for potentially misleading investors about what the company knew about climate change.

As secretary of state, Tillerson would be the United States' representative abroad negotiating agreements on climate change. On the campaign trail, Trump said that he would favor pulling out of the Paris Agreement, but has since claimed to have an "open mind" and be "studying" the issue.

For his part, Tillerson has said that climate change is a "serious" threat, and Exxon now publicly supports the science behind climate change as well as the Paris accord. Yet Exxon has come under scrutiny in the last year from environmental groups and state attorneys general for allegedly downplaying the risks posed by climate change.

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