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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

Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, on Tuesday night said that President Donald Trump was willing to sign a temporary funding measure that did not include money to build a border wall.

During an interview on CNN, host Jake Tapper noted to Mulvaney that Republicans have proposed a funding measure without money for the wall and asked if Trump would be willing to sign that. Mulvaney replied that he was.

He added that the White House has agreed with Democrats on including funding for other aspects of border security.

“The offer that we received from the Democrats the last couple days included a good bit of money for border security,” Mulvaney said, adding that those funds will allow Trump to “follow through on his promise to make that border more secure.”

Mulvaney said that the Trump administration is “not backing down” from its plans to build a border wall, however.

“We just thought that it would be a good first step to get these things that everybody agrees on and take that idea of a government shutdown off the table,” he said.

Mulvaney’s comments came after the Trump administration waffled on its demand that the funding measure include money for the border wall on Monday and Tuesday. Trump reportedly told conservative journalists Monday night that he would be willing to wait on funds for the border wall, but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted Tuesday afternoon that Trump’s priorities had not changed regarding the wall.

As the April 28 deadline to keep the federal government open fast approaches, members of the Trump administration on Monday night and Tuesday morning made conflicting statements regarding the President’s demand that a temporary funding measure include money to start building a border wall.

Trump himself apparently told conservative reporters gathered at the White House on Monday night that he was open to waiting until September for funding for the border wall, according to One America News Network’s Trey Yingst. Trump’s reported comments mark a pivot from his administration’s talking points over the weekend. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on Sunday that he expected Trump to be “insistent” about funding for the wall in the temporary funding measure this month.

Unnamed White House officials confirmed to Politico and the Washington Post that Trump told representatives from conservative media outlets on Monday that he was open to waiting until September to fund the border wall.

During an interview on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway also suggested that Trump was open to delaying the border wall funding. Fox host Ainsley Earhardt mentioned that the White House may not get the funding this week, given Trump’s reported comments Monday night.

“Not this week, but the President made clear just yesterday, Ainsley, building a wall remains a very important priority to him,” Conway said in response. “Building that wall and having it funded remains an important priority to him. But we also know that that can happen later this year and into next year.”

However, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told ABC’s Jonathan Karl Tuesday morning that Trump has not backed down from his demand that a temporary measure to fund the federal government include money for the border wall.

To confuse matters further, Trump published a cryptic tweet Tuesday morning blasting the fake media and saying that he hasn’t changed his position on the wall. However, his tweet did not address the timing of funding.

 

Ousted Fox News host Bill O’Reilly broke his silence on Monday evening in a podcast posted to his personal website, where he said that the “truth will come out” about his departure from Fox News.

“I am sad that I’m not on television anymore. I was very surprised how it all turned out. I can’t say a lot, because there’s much stuff going on right now,” he said on his “No Spin News” podcast. “But I can tell you that I’m very confident the truth will come out, and when it does, I don’t know if you’re going to be surprised — but I think you’re going to be shaken, as I am. There’s a lot of stuff involved here.”

“Now, I can’t say any more because I just don’t want to influence the flow of the information. I don’t want the media to take what I say and misconstrue it,” he continued. “And you, as a loyal O’Reilly listener, have a right to know, I think, down the lane what exactly happened. And we are working in that direction, okay?”

O’Reilly left Fox News last week following allegations of sexual harassment. His departure was prompted in part by a report in the New York Times that at least five women had received settlements for sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly.

In a statement last week, O’Reilly insisted that he was ousted over “unsubstantiated claims.” His legal team had been working to prove that O’Reilly is just the victim of a smear campaign from liberal groups.

During his 19-minute Monday evening podcast, O’Reilly said that he would turn his podcast into a news platform. He said that over time he would like to start bringing guests on the podcast and transform the podcast into a “genuine news program.”

The State Department on Monday removed a blog post promoting President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida following criticism from ethics advocates and Democrats, and questions from reporters.

The post boasting Mar-A-Lago as the “Winter White House” was posted to the State Department’s ShareAmerica website and had also been posted by the U.S. embassies in the United Kingdom and Albania, according to Politico. The post has been removed from all three of those locations. The link on the ShareAmerica website now shows a message apologizing for the post.

“The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders. We regret any misperception and have removed the post,” the message reads.

The post was published on April 4 and included pictures of the estate and descriptions of the club’s design and architecture, per the Huffington Post.

Norm Eisen, the chairman of the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and Democratic lawmakers criticized the blog post on Twitter on Monday.

When asked about the blog post by reporters on Monday, Mark Toner, the acting spokesperson for the State Department said he was unaware of the post, according to CNN.

Trump has hosted several foreign leaders at his Mar-A-Lago club, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and has also spent several weekends there.

Rep. Hank Johnson’s (D-GA) office removed from the congressman’s website articles about Democrat Jon Ossoff and the special election in Georgia’s Sixth District over the weekend after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution inquired about them.

The inquiry came after a conservative group, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, told the newspaper that it planned to file a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics on Monday over articles on Johnson’s website about Ossoff, who used to work for the congressman as an aide. FACT accused Johnson of violating a House rule that bars members of Congress from using their offices to promote campaign activities.

“Representative Johnson has simply disregarded the rule and is blatantly using his official website for partisan purposes and campaign related activity,” Matthew Whitaker, the executive director of FACT, wrote in the letter, per the Journal-Constitution. “Not only is it troubling that Johnson has breached a basic rule that ensures the public’s confidence that our House Members are working for the citizens and not for their own personal political gain, but he has misused taxpayer funded resources.”

Johnson’s office declined to comment to TPM on the ethics complaint or the articles.

In a video message delivered on Sunday, President Donald Trump acknowledged the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, after failing to mention the Jewish people in a January statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“The mind cannot fathom the pain, the horror and the loss. Six million Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, murdered by the Nazi genocide. They were murdered by an evil that words cannot describe and that the human heart cannot bear,” Trump said in a video for the World Jewish Congress on Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance day.

Trump said that the U.S. stands with Israel and called for an end to anti-Semitism.

“We must stamp out prejudice and anti-Semitism everywhere it is found,” he said. “We must defeat terrorism and we must not ignore the threats of a regime that talks openly of Israel’s destruction. We cannot let that ever even be thought of.”

Trump also managed to mention his victory in the November election, when thanking Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, for predicting that he would win the presidential race.

Trump will also speak at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday for the Days of Remembrance ceremony remembering the victims of the Holocaust.

 

Vice President Mike Pence will head back to Washington, D.C. one day earlier than planned after a trip to Asia and Hawaii due to a busy week tackling health care, government funding legislation, and a tax code overhaul, an aide to Pence said, according to the vice president pool report.

The Vice President was initially scheduled to visit the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbour on Tuesday, but will instead leave Hawaii on Monday to arrive in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Congressional lawmakers will return to D.C. this week after a two-week recess in their home districts, and are faced with a busy legislative agenda.

Members this week must pass legislation to keep the government open past April 28. The White House has demanded that the funding legislation this week include funding to begin construction on the wall along the southern border. But Democrats will likely not vote for a spending bill that includes funding for the border wall.

The White House is also pressuring Republican lawmakers in Congress to push through a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare before Trump hits his 100-day mark, though House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Saturday that funding will be the priority for the House this week.

President Donald Trump has postponed a dinner planned for Thursday with justices on the Supreme Court.

The Hill first reported Sunday night that Trump would no longer have dinner with the justices on Thursday due to scheduling conflicts. ABC News’ Jonathan Karl confirmed Monday morning that the dinner is not on the President’s schedule anymore.

The White House said earlier on Sunday that Trump would dine with justices on the Supreme Court this week. The Trump administration did not confirm which members planned to attend, but the newest member of the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was expected to attend, according to the Huffington Post.

It’s unusual for a president to dine with members of the Supreme Court, but it’s not entirely unprecedented. But the Trump administration faced criticism Sunday for the planned dinner.

President Donald Trump has said that he will not fire White House Press Secretary because the spokesman “gets great ratings” for his daily press briefings, the Washington Post reported on Sunday evening.

“I’m not firing Sean Spicer,” Trump said last month when asked if Spicer’s job was in jeopardy, a person “familiar with the encounter” told the Post. “That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.”

Spicer is often under intense scrutiny as he attempts to answer for Trump’s policy proposals and tweets. The White House in March had to apologize to Great Britain after Spicer cited an unsubstantiated claim from a Fox News analyst that British intelligence spied on Trump for President Barack Obama.

In April, Spicer had to apologize after falsely claiming that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday afternoon announced that the Treasury Department would not grant ExxonMobil a waiver from U.S. sanctions to resume its drilling ventures in Russia.

“In consultation with President Donald J. Trump, the Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to U.S. companies, including Exxon, authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions,” Mnuchin said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Exxon had applied for a waiver to pick back up its joint venture with Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil giant. Exxon initially applied for the waiver in July 2015, and the company restarted its push for approval in March of this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company revived its effort to win approval for the waiver about a month after Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon, began his tenure as secretary of state.

 

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