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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

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said Monday that Hong Kong's refusal to extradite Edward Snowden, the former defense contractor accused of espionage, was a "political decision" with ties to Beijing, according to the Associated Press.

"This was strictly a political decision," King told CNN in an interview, as quoted by the AP, "and I cannot believe that Hong Kong would have made it without China encouraging it or acquiescing in it."

King added that Washington should take a hard line on countries like Hong Kong that don't cooperate with the U.S. government in such cases, warning that "business cannot go on as usual" when U.S. demands are not met.

The Texas House of Representatives voted early Monday to pass the state Senate's strict omnibus abortion bill, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The House voted 97-33 in favor of the bill, which includes a provision banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, following more than 13 hours of debate on the floor. The bill would also force clinics to meet the standards of surgical centers, effectively shutting down all but five clinics across the state, according to Planned Parenthood estimates.

Hundreds of Texas residents flooded the state House last week to testify against the bill in a so-called "people's filibuster." Republicans in the House responded by scheduling further hearings at the last minute and in a small room where the audience was limited to 30 people.

“If this issue was so important, then it deserves the right — when people come from across this state when they sign up — for every one of them to be heard, to have their say, to stay all night and listen to everyone of our constituents from across the state,” said state Rep. Sylvester Turner (D), as quoted by the Morning News. "All of a sudden to make somebody else’s agenda, we’re doing everything we can to rush through this process.” 

The bill now returns to the state Senate for final approval.

Real estate mogul and reality TV host Donald Trump will make his first ever trip to Iowa in August to meet with religious conservative activists, The Des Moines Register reported Saturday. 

Trump will attend the Family Leader's second annual leadership summit, where invited politicians will speak about threats facing American families. He's fueled speculation for two phantom presidential bids in the past, ultimately deciding not to run in both 2000 and 2011 -- but in neither race did Trump make a trip to the state that holds the nation's first major electoral event for the presidential race.

[h/t Political Wire]

A Colorado civil rights board on Sunday ruled in favor of a 6-year-old transgender girl who was told she couldn't use the girl's bathroom at her elementary school, the Denver Post reported.

Coy Mathis' family filed a civil rights complaint in February after the Fountain-Fort Carson School District told Mathis' parents that she couldn't continue to use the girls' restroom after the holiday break. 

"Schools should not discriminate against their students, and we are thrilled that Coy can return to school and put this behind her," mother Kathryn Mathis said in a statement, as quoted by the Denver Post. "All we ever wanted was for Coy's school to treat her the same as other little girls. We are extremely happy that she now will be treated equally."

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund will hold a news conference at the Colorado State Capitol Monday to explain the case's decision.

A Kremlin spokesperson said Monday that the Russian government had no advance knowledge that Edward Snowden, the source of the National Security Agency leaks, was traveling to Moscow, according to the Wall Street Journal.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told the Journal that Russia wouldn't intervene in the Snowden matter by holding him or returning him to the U.S. to face charges.

"It is not a question for us," Peskov told The Wall Street Journal. "We don't know what his plans are and we were unaware he was coming here."

Snowden arrived in Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport late Sunday, and is expected to leave Monday afternoon on a flight bound for Cuba.

A New Orleans woman was charged with second-degree murder Sunday after her daughter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

Laderika Smith, 28, had locked her 5-year-old in a bedroom alone while she ran errands. Police spokesperson Hilal Williams said the child found a .38 revolver inside the home and accidentally shot herself in the head.

Smith confessed to having a gun in the home, according to Williams. A police statement said the death of her daughter was a direct result of Smith's negligence.

Eight protesters were reportedly arrested outside the Wisconsin state Senate chambers on Thursday after attempting to deliver coat hangers to Republican politicians who supported a bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion, according to the Capital Times.

A representative from the group of about two dozen protesters, Kelley Albrecht, told the Capital Times that representatives from the offices of two state senators, the state assembly speaker and Gov. Scott Walker (R) refused the coat hangers. Afterward, she said, the group tried to gain access to the Senate chambers where lawmakers were debating the state budget but were locked out by staffers. Police arrested eight individuals outside the chambers and charged them with disorderly conduct, according to protester Peter Adamczak.

Protesters used the coat hanger, a symbol of illegal abortions, to draw attention to the bill, which would require women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound and be told what the ultrasound shows. The bill's critics argued that for a woman less than eight to 12 weeks pregnant, that procedure would likely require a transvaginal ultrasound even though the bill doesn't mandate one.

“This bill has nothing to do with abortion,” Albrecht, who once had to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound because of pregnancy complications, said. “It has to do with controlling women.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday that if the yet-to-be-filed Corker-Hoeven border security deal was to succeed, it "would constitute a breakthrough." 

When a reporter asked during Carney's daily press briefing why more agents at the borders would be necessary if, as the administration had previously boasted, border security and deportations were at their highest level ever, Carney replied that more work could be done.

"The president included as one of his essential priorities that had to be part of comprehensive immigration reform for him to sign it would be measures that further enhance our border security," he added. "More work needs to be done."

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said on the House floor Thursday that a conversation should be initiated about cutting food stamp programs because taxpayers are funding beneficiaries' purchases of gourmet foods -- like king crab legs.

The farm bill that was later voted down in the House of Representatives Thursday would have cut $2 billion in assistance to low-income Americans who benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Gohmert said his "brokenhearted" constituents frequently tell him stories lamenting their inability to pay for fancy groceries while they see food stamp beneficiaries purchase gourmet food at the supermarket.

“Because he does pay income tax, he doesn’t get more back than he pays in, he is actually helping pay for king crab legs when he can’t pay for them for himself,” Gohmert said.

"We don’t want anyone to go hungry," Gohmert added, "and from the amount of obesity in this country by people who we’re told do not have enough to eat, it does seem like we could have a debate about this issue without allegations about wanting to slap down or starve children.”

[h/t Raw Story]

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) office declined Friday to say whether the governor was aware he was allegedly targeted by a self-identified Klansman's "death ray machine" plot.

"We don't comment on matters related to the governor's security," Cuomo's press secretary, Matt Wing, told TPM.

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