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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus on Monday defended letters he sent to NBC and CNN demanding the networks drop planned film projects on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, arguing that the GOP needs to "control the referees" in 2016 primary debates to protect its brand.

"The fact that these folks, including many people that are at NBC, one of which is a major bundler for Barack Obama, would be surprised that we would actually exercise our own right to filter who deposes our candidates and who doesn't," Priebus told Fox News' Sean Hannity. "I think I'm being very reasonable here."

Priebus accused the last election cycle's moderators of promoting the Democratic Party and characterized the 23-debate schedule in the 2012 campaign as a "traveling circus."

"My point is this. We have to control the referees that we're bringing into our playground," he added. "Right now I can't trust two organizations that are willing to spend millions of their own dollars in promoting a candidate that they know is gearing up to run for president."

Watch the interview below, courtesy of Fox News:

 

President Barack Obama will travel on Tuesday afternoon to California, where he is scheduled to tape an appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" after delivering a speech in Arizona, according to the White House. The episode will air on NBC at 11:35 p.m. ET.

The State Department issued a travel warning Tuesday to U.S. citizens in Yemen, urging travelers to defer their plans to visit the country and warning citizens living in Yemen to depart immediately. The State Department also ordered the removal of of non-emergency government personnel from the country "due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks."

The travel warning comes in the wake of widespread temporary embassy closures in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Full text below:

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart immediately.

On August 6, 2013, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks.

U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should depart. As staff levels at the Embassy are restricted, our ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency and provide routine consular services remains limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on July 16, 2013.

The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high. In September 2012, a mob attacked the U.S. Embassy compound. Demonstrations continue to take place in various parts of the country and may quickly escalate and turn violent. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations, and to exercise extreme caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.

Terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to be active throughout Yemen. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Yemen), and U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests. A U.S. citizen was attacked and killed in Taiz on March 18, 2012 and the press reported that AQAP claimed responsibility. An ongoing risk of kidnapping exists throughout Yemen. In the last year, international and local media have reported several kidnappings of Westerners. Violent crime is also a growing problem; local media reported the murder of two U.S. citizens in Taiz and Aden in 2013. In addition, piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean is a security threat to maritime activities in the region. See our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet.

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs. The lack of a valid U.S. passport may hinder U.S. citizens' ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy's ability to provide assistance. U.S. citizens in Yemen should ensure that they have proper and current documentation at all times. For more information, see "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis" on the Department's Internet website. Evacuation options from Yemen are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and other security concerns. The U.S. government typically evacuates U.S. citizens to a safe haven, and travelers are responsible for making their own onward travel plans. Travelers should not expect to be evacuated to the United States.

U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen despite this Travel Warning should limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Yemen through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information. If you wish to depart Yemen, you should make plans and depart as soon as possible. The airport is open and commercial flights are operating. There are no current plans for U.S. government-sponsored evacuations. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Yemen are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.

The U.S. Embassy in Sana'a is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967)(1)755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. For after-hours emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please call(967)(1)755-2000 (press zero for extension) or (967) 733-213-509. From time to time the Embassy may temporarily close or suspend public services for security reasons. Emergency assistance to U.S. citizens during non-business hours (or when public access is restricted) is available through Embassy duty personnel.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, and Country Specific Information for Yemen can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers in other countries, by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review "A Safe Trip Abroad," which includes valuable security information for those living and traveling abroad. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. Download our free Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes or Google Play to have travel information at your fingertips.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the first woman to file a sexual harassment suit against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, said Monday that more women could come forward Tuesday with similar allegations against the mayor.

Speaking after her client, the mayor's former Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson, was questioned by investigators about her sexual harassment claims, Allred said justice would come swiftly.

"He can run, he can hide, if that's what he's doing, but the day of judgement and justice is near," she said, as quoted by KGTV.

Allred wouldn't say to reporters whether she would represent additional clients, but said "by tomorrow, the number of accusers will grow beyond 10," according to KGTV.

NBC News asserted Monday that it is not involved in a Hillary Clinton miniseries being developed by NBC entertainment after coming under fire from the Republican National Committee.

"NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project," Communications Director Erika Masonhall tweeted.

RNC Chair Reince Priebus penned a letter to NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt Monday threatening to exclude the network from partnering with the RNC for 2016 presidential primary debates if the network doesn't scuttle the programming.

"NBC cannot purport to be a neutral party in American politics, and the credibility of NBC News, already damaged by the partisanship of MSNBC, will be further undermined by the actions of NBC Universal executives who have taken it upon themselves to produce an extended commercial for Secretary Clinton's nascent campaign," Priebus wrote. 

State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf declined to comment Monday on why certain U.S. embassies in the Middle East and Northern Africa were closed while others were not in response to a terror threat she said originated in the Arabian Peninsula.

Embassy closures were evaluated on a post-by-post basis to determine whether each post would remain open for the week, she said, adding that the State Department prefers that diplomatic posts remain open where possible rather than closed. Many of the embassies in the Middle East were already scheduled to close for part of the week due to an Islamic holiday.

Harf said the threat emanated from the Arabian Peninsula, where al-Qaeda is active, but would not comment on whether the threat was specific or non-specific.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus accused CNN and NBC on Twitter of being 'campaign operatives' for Hillary Clinton after he penned letters to the network's executives threatening to shut them out of 2016 primary debates if they don't drop planned film projects on the former Secretary of State. 

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus on Monday called on both NBC and CNN to drop their planned film productions of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or face losing their partnerships with the RNC for 2016 presidential primary debates.

In letters to the chairman of NBC Entertainment, Robert Greenblatt, and CNN President Jeff Zucker, Priebus slammed the networks' "thinly-veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election" as unfair to other potential candidates from both parties.

NBC announced last month it was planning a miniseries starring Diane Lane that would follow Clinton's trajectory beginning in 1998, the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The series was to air before Clinton could launch a hypothetical White House run. Days later CNN also announced it would produce a documentary to be released in 2014, according to the New York Times

"If you have not agreed to pull this programming prior to the start of the RNC's Summer Meeting on August 14, I will seek a binding vote of the RNC stating that the committee will neither partner with you in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates which you sponsor," Preibus wrote to the networks.

NBC Hillary Clinton Letter

President Barack Obama will take questions Wednesday at an online roundtable on housing policy with users from the home-buying website Zillow.com. 

"With more than 56 million monthly Zillow users, and nearly 700,000 followers on its social media channels, Zillow will offer the President a unique opportunity to engage directly with homeowners and Americans seeking to own a home,” a White House official told Yahoo! News.

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff will moderate the discussion. Users can submit questions for the president on Zillow's Facebook page, via Twitter or by submitting a video on Youtube, Instagram or Vine and sharing with the hashtag #AskObamaHousing. The event will live stream at 1 p.m. ET on Zillow's website.

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