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

Donald Trump on Tuesday morning announced that he will nominate Robert Lighthizer to be the United States trade representative.

“Ambassador Lighthizer is going to do an outstanding job representing the United States as we fight for good trade deals that put the American worker first,” Trump said in a statement. “He has extensive experience striking agreements that protect some of the most important sectors of our economy, and has repeatedly fought in the private sector to prevent bad deals from hurting Americans. He will do an amazing job helping turn around the failed trade policies which have robbed so many Americans of prosperity.”

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Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday offered a defense of the United States' decision to abstain from a United Nations Security Council vote to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank, arguing that expanding settlements stands in the way of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In his final speech as secretary of state, Kerry spoke for more than an hour about the importance of a two-state solution and said that current Israeli policies regarding settlements put that solution in jeopardy. He argued that by taking a stand against the expansion of settlements, the United States was in fact standing up for Israel.

Kerry previously spent nine months trying to broker peace the in region, but the effort ultimately failed in April 2014. As he leaves his role as the United States' chief diplomat, Kerry called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take actions that put the region on the path toward a two-state solution, and he laid out the guiding principles that the U.S. would like to see in a final status agreement between Israel and Palestine.

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The Obama administration is close to announcing sanctions and other measures to penalize Russia for its attempts to interfere in U.S. elections this year, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night, citing anonymous U.S. officials.

The measures would include economic sanctions and a diplomatic censure, according to the report. The White House would also use covert actions "that will probably involve cyber-operations," the Post reported.

CNN also reported that the administration is working on a response to Russia and that the announcement could come as soon as Thursday. As part of the response, officials are expected to name individuals associated with the Russian attempt to influence the U.S. election, according to CNN.

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In an interview with CNN that aired Tuesday evening, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that senators are largely in agreement that Russia was behind the hacks into the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic groups in the 2016 election.

"There are 100 United States senators," Graham said when asked how he would react if Trump continues to dismiss the intelligence community's belief that Russia was behind the hacks. "I would say that 99 of us believe the Russians did this and we're going to do something about it."

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After announcing this weekend that he would dissolve his foundation to avoid any potential conflicts of interest, Donald Trump on Monday published tweets defending his charity.

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