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

President Barack Obama may cancel a planned trip to Moscow in September to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin as tensions rise between the two countries over fugitive security contractor Edward Snowden, the New York Times reported Thursday.

The White House has not publicly denied that the president would be keeping the Moscow meeting, which is a stop on his trip to St. Petersburg for the G-20 summit, on his agenda. When a reporter asked Wednesday if Obama would still be traveling to Moscow before the G-20 gathering, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded "I can say that the president intends to travel to Russia for the G-20 summit," according to the Times.

From the Times report:

Angela E. Stent, a former national intelligence officer on Russia now at Georgetown University, said Obama administration officials are questioning the Moscow meeting because they “are not clear what will actually be signed” even if Mr. Snowden’s case is resolved by then. “There seem to be significant gaps between Russia and U.S. sides on these important issues such as Syria, missile defense and arms control,” she said.

The White House was also mum Wednesday on a potential Olympic boycott should Russia offer Snowden asylum.

President Barack Obama praised the Senate's confirmation of Tom Perez to lead the Department of Labor and thanked lawmakers for advancing his previously stalled nominees in a statement released by the White House Thursday.

"I welcome today’s confirmation of Tom Perez to serve as Secretary of Labor," the statement read. "Tom has lived the American dream himself, and has dedicated his career to keeping it within reach for hardworking families across the country. At the Department of Labor, Tom will help us continue to grow our economy, help businesses create jobs, make sure workers have the skills those jobs require, and ensure safe workplaces and economic opportunity for all.

"I want to thank the Senate once again for agreeing to move forward on Tom and the other nominees who have waited far too long for the yes-or-no votes they deserve," Obama added.

A Colorado town is considering granting its residents hunting licenses to shoot down drones for bounty money, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Trustees in Deer Trail, a town of just 600, will bring up an ordinance next month that would allow residents to pay $25 for a license to shoot down "unmanned aerial vehicles" flying under 1,000 feet with a 12-gauge shotgun, according to Reuters. Anyone who could produce "either the nose or the tail" of a drone would be paid $100 under the proposal.

The resident who crafted the measure, Army veteran Phillip Steel, told Reuters that his proposal is symbolic, although he finds the government's use of drones for surveillance purposes disturbing. 

"If you don't want your drone to go down, don't fly it in town," Steel said.

President Barack Obama on Thursday took advantage of his platform touting the economic benefits of the Affordable Care Act to chastise Republicans for their continued attempts to derail his signature health care law.

"Despite all the evidence that the law is working as it should, for middle class Americans, yesterday Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for nearly the 40th time to dismantle it," he said.

"Some of them seem to think this law is about me," he quipped, referring to politicans rallying against Obamacare. "It's not. I already have really good health care."

The House voted Wednesday to delay the law's individual mandate by a year after voting to authorize the White House's one-year employer mandate delay.

A bomb squad was standing by Wednesday as San Diego police searched the apartment of a man who allegedly made death threats at a local mosque during Ramadan, the U-T San Diego reported

Police Capt. Brian Ahearn told the newspaper that no weapons or explosives were found in Larry Michael Rodgers' apartment.

Rogers allegedly walked into the Islamic Center of San Diego Monday before daily prayers and said "I'm going to kill all of you" as he left the mosque, according to the U-T. Imam Taha Hassane told the newspaper that Rogers called the congregants "terrorist rats."

Rogers was to be arraigned on suspicion of making terrorist threats Wednesday afternoon, according to the U-T.

A Mississippi boy died Wednesday after another child accidentally shot him in the head, TV station WDAM reported.

Copiah County Undersheriff Derrick Cubit told WDAM that the boy, 9, was in a home with two of his cousins when one child found a gun in the bedroom and fired it, hitting the boy above his right eyebrow. Adults were reportedly in another room of the house eating when the gun went off, according to WDAM.

The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, who published several articles about National Security Agency surveillance programs based on information leaked by fugitive former security contractor Edward Snowden, has struck a deal with publisher Metropolitan Books to pen a book on NSA surveillance, the Atlantic Wire reported Thursday.

An announcement from Metropolitan Books said that the book will contain "new revelations exposing the extraordinary cooperation of private industry," according to the Atlantic Wire.

Greenwald's NSA tell-all is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

A woman has come forward to a San Diego news outlet for the first time to say that she was sexually harassed by Mayor Bob Filner -- when Filner was still a congressman.

"He is abusing his power and when he came out and did a DVD saying he is sorry and he had an apology and he would take a harassment class," the woman told San Diego TV station KGTV in an interview posted Wednesday. "It goes much, much further than that and that's what made me decide to talk to you about this."

The woman, who was only shown in silhouette, told KGTV that she lobbied Filner on behalf of California's Association of Realtors while he was a congressman. KGTV protected her identity because she feared repercussions.

She said that she felt violated when Filner would touch her inappropriately while photos were taken in his office.

"The first time I stood next to him in a photo he kind of rubbed the shoulders and up and down the back," she said. "It would go to where he would caress on the bottom and up the shoulders."

Watch the full interview below, courtesy of KGTV: 

This post has been updated.

The South African government said that hospitalized former President Nelson Mandela's health is "steadily improving" as he celebrates his 95th birthday Thursday, Reuters reported.

"His doctors have confirmed that his health is steadily improving," South African President Jacob Zuma's office said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.

"On behalf of government and all the people of South Africa, we wish Madiba a joyous 95th birthday," the statement continued.

Mandela has been hospitalized for more than a month due to a recurring lung infection.