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

Police in Allen, Texas released audio to Dallas television station KXAS Wednesday of a call made by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) to ask for the release of a relative from jail. 

Ellen Beavers, who Dewhurst described at difference points in the recording as a "sister-in-law" and "step-niece-in-law," was jailed on Aug. 3 for allegedly shoplifting at a grocery store, according to KXAS.

Dewhurst called the main Allen police phone number and asked to be transferred to the "most senior police officer you have," according to KXAS. Later in the recording of the call, Dewhurst can be heard asking to be put in touch with the county judge and the county sheriff. 

"Sergeant, you don't know me, but I am every year the No. 1 pick of all the law enforcement agencies in Texas," Dewhurst said in the recording of the call. "And I want you to do whatever is the proper thing."

"This lady was not, I know in my heart, was not involved in the intentional walking out and stealing $57," he continued. "She's been my step niece-in-law for like 30 years, and so I would like to know what I need to do to get her out of jail this evening."

A Dewhurst spokesperson released a short statement defending the lieutenant governor's inquiry.

"David acted as a concerned family member in an attempt to acquire information on how to post bail for his niece while reiterating multiple times in the full conversation that law enforcement follow their normal protocols and procedures," Dewhurst spokesman Travis Consedine said in a written statement, as quoted by KXAS.

Listen to the audio recording of the call, courtesy of KXAS: 

Bradley Manning's attorney announced Thursday on NBC's "Today Show" that Manning would like to live as a woman. 

Manning, the Army private who was sentenced to 35 years in military prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, released a written statement that was read on the show:

Subject: The Next Stage of My Life


I want to thank everybody who has supported me over the last three years. Throughout this long ordeal, your letters of support and encouragement have helped keep me strong. I am forever indebted to those who wrote to me, made a donation to my defense fund, or came to watch a portion of the trial. I would especially like to thank Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network for their tireless efforts in raising awareness for my case and providing for my legal representation.


As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.


Thank you,


Chelsea E. Manning

Watch the "Today Show" segment below: 

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Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) announced Wednesday that he will not be running for governor of the state.

"I've decided, with my wife's blessing, that I will not be running for governor of Massachusetts in 2014," Brown first announced on WBZ Radio's "Nightside With Dan Rea." 

Brown won a special Senate election in 2010 to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), then lost to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in 2012. The former senator traveled to the Iowa State Fair on Sunday to gauge interest in his "brand of leadership and Republicanism," suggesting that although he won't be launching a gubernatorial bid, he may be open to running for offices.

"For the first time in 15 plus years, I have had a Summer to spend with my family," Brown wrote on his Facebook page. "In addition, I have been fortunate to have private sector opportunities that I find fulfilling and exhilarating. These new opportunities have allowed me to grow personally and professionally. I want to continue with that process."

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords' (D-AZ) gun control group launched a TV ad Wednesday in support of Colorado state Senate President John Morse (D), who is facing a Sept. 10 recall election spurred on by his support of state gun control laws.

Americans For Responsible Solutions' ad, titled "Fighting for Us," doesn't rely on Morse's support of background checks for gun purchases. Instead, the 30-second spot urges Colorado residents to vote "no" on the recall and remember Morse's record of community safety, including championing a law that uses DNA technology to track down child molesters.

"My children's safety and my family are his number one priority," Colorado Springs resident Kristen said in the ad. "We need more people like John looking out for us."

The six-figure ad buy will run on both network and cable channels in the Colorado Springs, Colo. market, according to a press release. 

A reporter was taken off the air Wednesday from Russian-based television network RT after interrupting a panel on Bradley Manning's sentencing to speak for several minutes against the country's recently passed anti-gay laws.

“Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I’m going to wear my gay pride suspenders and speak out against the horrific, anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law,” reporter James Kirchick said.

"RT has been Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden 24/7. I haven't seen anything on your network about the anti-gay laws that have been passed in Russia," he continued.

RT hosts frequently interjected to try to steer the discussion back to Bradley Manning, but were unsuccessful. One host pointed out to Kirchick that the network aired a panel discussion with members of the LGBT community the previous week to discuss the new laws.

"You have 24 hours a day to lie about the United States and to ignore what's happening in Russia," Kirchick said over the hosts. "I'm going to take my two minutes and tell people the truth."

Shortly afterward, Kirchick disappeared from the panelists' splitscreen, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Watch the video below:

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest released a statement Wednesday that called on the United Nations to investigate reports that hundreds of Syrians have been killed in what opposition groups said was a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government.

Full statement below: 

The United States is deeply concerned by reports that hundreds of Syrian civilians have been killed in an attack by Syrian government forces, including by the use of chemical weapons, near Damascus earlier today. We are working urgently to gather additional information.

The United States strongly condemns any and all use of chemical weapons. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable. Today, we are formally requesting that the United Nations urgently investigate this new allegation.  The UN investigative team, which is currently in Syria, is prepared to do so, and that is consistent with its purpose and mandate. For the UN’s efforts to be credible, they must have immediate access to witnesses and affected individuals, and have the ability to examine and collect physical evidence without any interference or manipulation from the Syrian government. If the Syrian government has nothing to hide and is truly committed to an impartial and credible investigation of chemical weapons use in Syria, it will facilitate the UN team’s immediate and unfettered access to this site.  We have also called for urgent consultations in the UN Security Council to discuss these allegations and to call for the Syrian government to provide immediate access to the UN investigative team.  The United States urges all Syrian parties including the government and opposition, to provide immediate access to any and all sites of importance to the investigation and to ensure security for the UN investigative team.

A 3-year-old was shot and killed Tuesday night in the midst of a family dispute, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Gwinnet County police Cpl. Jake Smith told the newspaper the boy was shot in the driveway of his Lilburn, Ga. home by a shooter believed to be a family member. Smith said investigators believe a family dispute resulted in shots being fired, and that the alleged shooter had intended to hit another relative, not the child.

Luis Efrain Torres, who lived at the Lilburn address where police said the shooting occurred, was booked Wednesday on charges of murder and aggravated assault, according to the Journal-Constitution.

[Image via Varlanov Anatoly / Shutterstock]

A San Diego businesswoman told CNN Wednesday that Mayor Bob Filner put his hands on her buttocks at a meeting.

Diane York, the 18th woman to allege that Filner improperly touched her, told CNN that Filner touched her backside during a photo opportunity after the meeting three months ago. York is scheduled to hold a press conference at 1 p.m. PST Wednesday, according to San Diego's KGTV.

A 17th accuser, real-estate agent Caryl Iseman, had said during a rally Sunday that Filner grabbed her breast at a fundraiser 25 years ago, according to San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

Filner's lawyers have been in mediation talks since Monday as the mayor faces both a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by his former communications director and a vocal recall effort. The Democratic National Committee will vote on a resolution that would call Filner's resignation, CNN reported Tuesday.

This post has been updated.

A bookkeeper at McNair Elementary School in Decatur, Ga. told television station WSB that she was able to talk down a gunman who entered the school Tuesday and fired shots before he was able to cause any injuries.

"I knew that if he got outside, he was unstable enough to start shooting at everybody," the bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff, told WSB.

Tuff told the news station that she related her personal story to the shooter in hopes of keeping him calm and preventing him from going outside where he could potentially shoot at schoolchildren who had been evacuated. She told the shooter she had raised a disabled child and a law school student after losing her husband of 33 years, then bounced back to start her own business.

"I started communicating to him and to the police and to Channel 2 News, and then just started trying to talk him down, to calm him down, to let him know I understand how he was feeling," she said.

Watch the full interview with Tuff below, courtesy of WSB-TV: 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) plans to meet with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday at the company's campus in Menlo Park, Calif., CNN reported.

A source with knowledge of the informal meeting told CNN that Rubio's and Zuckerberg's "shared commitment to fixing America's broken immigration system" is expected to be a topic of conversation.