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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

The political donor whose gifts to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) are the subject of a federal probe also gave $70,000 last year to a corporation belonging to McDonnell and his sister, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. 

People with knowledge of the payments told the Post that McDonnell did not disclose the money from Star Scientific, Inc.'s chief executive, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., as either a gift or loan. The sources also said that Williams gave a $50,000 check to the governor's wife Maureen in 2011 and a $10,000 check to daughter Jeanine in December to go towards the cost of her wedding, according to the Post.

Those gifts bring the total that Williams gave to the McDonnell family in 2011 and 2012 to $145,000, according to the Post.

Officials said a 15-year-old Missouri teenager was in critical condition Tuesday after he was accidentally shot, according to KTVO.

The victim was with another boy Tuesday afternoon in an Edina, Mo. home when he was accidentally shot in the back of the head, officials told KTVO. The station received conflicting reports as to what type of firearm was involved in the incident.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday at a press briefing that a decision to leave Afghanistan without a U.S. troop presence after 2014 was not "imminent." 

Carney stated that a so-called "zero option" remains a possibility, but said "this is not a decision that's imminent."

"Going forward after 2014 there will be very clear objectives. Those may be met by a residual force or they may be met by other means," he added, emphasizing that the U.S. remains committed to the country.

The New York Times had reported Monday that President Barack Obama was seriously considering the "zero option" to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan after 2014.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday at a press briefing that the Obama administration is "cautiously encouraged" by Egyptian military leaders' plans to hold interim elections in six months.

"We are cautiously encouraged by a plan that includes a return to democratic government," including parliamentary elections, he said.

Carney added that the White House would "not prescribe a timeline" for Egyptian elections.

The Newtown, Conn.-based National Shooting Sports Foundation filed a lawsuit against the state's Gov. Daniel P. Malloy (D) and other state leaders on Monday in an effort to reverse that state's strict gun law passed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Reuters reported

The suit, filed in federal court in Connecticut, argues that the state's gun control law violates the foundation members' Second Amendment rights and alleges Malloy and other lawmakers abused their power to pass the legislation.

"This is an action to vindicate the rights of the citizens of Connecticut whose federal and state constitutional rights have been adversely affected and significantly restricted by the passage of [the bill] through an abuse of the 'emergency certification' procedure, circumvention of the normal legislative process, and violation of Connecticut statutory law," the suit read, as quoted by Reuters.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation's headquarters are located three miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire and killed 26 students and educators in December.

FBI Director nominee James Comey said Tuesday in a Senate hearing that the secret Foreign Service Intelligence Act (FISA) court has effective congressional oversight and is "anything but a rubber stamp."

When pressed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to answer how the FISA court isn't just a rubber stamp if it had approved every government request, Comey noted that applications for wiretap warrants are also almost always approved because lawyers "work like crazy" to ensure such requests are in order.

"If we lose that credibility with the court, we worry that we've lost something that we'll never get back," Comey said.

Comey did not commit to declassifying FISA court opinions when asked about surveillance transparency, but did say it would be a "worthy exercise."

FBI director nominee James Comey said Tuesday in a Senate hearing that he believes waterboarding is "torture and is illegal," and that if he were FBI director, he would have "nothing to do with it."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked Comey to square his personal beliefs on the torture practice with his approval of 2005 memos authorizing the practice during his tenure as U.S. deputy attorney general.

"Do you agree that waterboarding is torture and is illegal?" Leahy asked bluntly.

"Yes," Comey replied.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) poked fun Monday at Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who had earlier announced that he would not be running for reelection in 2014. 

Fox News' Sean Hannity asked Paul if he'd be welcoming the governor "to the fold" in a hypothetical 2016 presidential primary race. Paul then joked about the governor's famous flub in a 2011 debate, in which he forgot which government agencies he would eliminate if elected president.

"Well I don't know what I've decided yet, but if Gov. Perry decides to run for president, I think there are three good reasons why he could be president," Paul responded. "Texas is a big successful state, he's a long term governor, and -- I can't remember the third one."

Watch video of Paul's comments below:  

Hillary Clinton attended the dedication of a new children's library named after her on Monday in Little Rock, Ark. Clinton said she hopes the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library and Learning Center will serve as a reminder of the importance of early childhood education and reading to children, according to the Associated Press.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) revealed that she was physically abused by a child-care provider when she was young while speaking Monday to raise awareness about efforts to combat child abuse, according to The State

"It doesn’t matter your background, it doesn’t matter your education, it doesn’t matter the wealth of your family,” Haley said in a press conference in Greenville, S.C., as quoted by The State. “Every child is subject to child abuse.”

Haley said that since her mother had a full-time job while she was growing up she was left in the care of a couple living in a trailer nearby each morning, according to The State. When her mother saw Haley come home with bruises and sensed something was wrong, her mother confronted the couple, who quickly vacated the trailer.

Haley stressed the need for all parts of the community to get involved in the child-protection system so that families can access the help they need.

"When it happened to me, my parents didn’t know what to do,” Haley said, as quoted by The State. “They didn’t know who to go to. No one knew how to handle it.”

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