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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

Democrats are itching for a comeback after President Donald Trump's stunning upset victory in November, and they're eyeing to make it happen in a ruby-red district in Georgia.

Tom Price's confirmation as secretary of health and human services left open a seat in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, a fairly wealthy, well-educated suburb north of Atlanta. It's a solidly Republican district where Price consistently won re-election without breaking a sweat. But Trump won the district by just one point in November, giving Democrats a glimmer of hope that they can turn the district blue in an April special election to replace Price.

Despite their optimism, nonpartisan observers and, of course, Republicans, are skeptical that Democrats have a real shot at flipping the district. While the race may turn out closer than is typical for the district, experts on Georgia state politics suggest Trump's slim margin was an anomaly and that the seat will remain solidly Republican.

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After he announced that he would recuse himself from any probe related to the Trump campaign, Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared on Fox News Thursday evening, where he lamented the amount of attention paid to his two encounters with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign.

Fox News' Tucker Carlson asked Sessions if he felt the coverage of his meetings amounted to a "witch hunt," as President Donald Trump has suggested.

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Vice President Mike Pence used a personal email account to conduct official business while he served as the governor of Indiana, the Indianapolis Star reported Thursday evening.

The Indianapolis Star reviewed emails obtained through a public information request, which show that Pence used a personal AOL account to communicate with staff about a range of topics, including about homeland security issues. Pence's top homeland security adviser sent Pence an update from the FBI to his personal email about men arrested on federal terror-related charges, according to the Indianapolis Star. Pence's email was hacked into last summer, per the Indianapolis Star.

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After Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday said he would recuse himself from any probe into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, President Donald Trump issued a statement dismissing the attention paid to Sessions' meetings with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign.

"Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional," Trump said in a statement.

"This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win. The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election and now, they have lost their grip on reality," he added. "The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total witch hunt!"

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This post has been updated.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions encountered the Russian ambassador twice during the 2016 campaign, and by Sessions' second interaction with Sergey Kislyak, talk of Russia's role in hacking the Democratic National Committee already was playing an outsized role in the election.

The then-senator did not reveal that he had met with the Russian official during his confirmation hearing. Sessions has dismissed concern about his failure to disclose the matter, and his spokeswoman emphasized that that at the hearing Sessions was asked specifically about discussions with Russian officials about the election.

There's no evidence Sessions and Kislyak discussed the campaign in either of their two meetings. Concerns about Russian cyberattacks on the DNC and other organizations, as well as ties between certain Trump associates and Russia, were all over the news by the time of their second meeting, however.

In the days immediately preceding that Capitol Hill sitdown, Hillary Clinton hinted there might be a link between the DNC hack and Trump’s candidacy, while Trump heaped praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump even appeared on the Kremlin-aligned RT television network on the same day Sessions sat down with Kislyak, telling Larry King that it's "unlikely" Russia was trying to influence the U.S. election.

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Two top Republicans in the House on Thursday morning indicated that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should consider recusing himself from investigations related to Russia given the revelation that he failed to disclose two meetings with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that it would be "easier" for Sessions to recuse himself, and later told "Fox and Friends" that he never called on Sessions to recuse himself from Russia probes.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said in a tweet that Sessions should clarify his comments about contacts with Russia during his confirmation hearing and said that the attorney should recuse himself, appearing to refer to probes into any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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This post has been updated.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Russia's ambassador to the United States twice before the election while he was a senator and also a surrogate for President Donald Trump's campaign.

The Washington Post first broke the news and a spokeswoman for Sessions, Sarah Isgur Flores, acknowledged that Sessions did meet with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The attorney general did not disclose his contact with Kislyak during his confirmation hearing in January.

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