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

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's chief of staff was told to stop questioning the mayor's employees about the accusations of sexual harassment against him in a memo from the City Attorney's office, U-T San Diego reported Thursday.

Assistant City Attorney Paul Cooper issued the memo, dated Thursday and obtained by U-T San Diego, to Lee Burdick, Filner's chief of staff, warning her that questioning Filner's employees about the allegations was "inappropriate" and interfered with a sexual harassment lawsuit against Filner filed by his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson.

The memo also demanded that Burdick turn over to the city certain documents she had withheld citing attorney-client privilege or face litigation, according to the newspaper, as the City Attorney's office wrote Burdick is "a witness in this litigation, not an attorney.”

Filner's attorney Harvey Berger had written a letter Tuesday requesting that the city pay Filner's legal fees in the sexual harassment suit, claiming that the city failed to provide sexual harassment training to the mayor.

The former editor of the Chattanooga Free Press editorial page, Drew Johnson, defended the "Shove it, Mr. President" editorial headline that got him fired Thursday on Twitter.

According to Johnson, the Times Free Press changed headlines frequently "at the last minute" and "without incident or issue."

The Chattanooga Times Free Press announced Thursday that the head of its Free Press editorial page had been terminated for violating the newspaper's standards in altering an editorial's headline to "Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough."

The editorial, which criticized the viability of Obama's economic plan on a local level, coincided with the president's visit Tuesday to Chattanooga. The Times Free Press determined that editorial page editor Drew Johnson's altered headline was "inappropriate."

"It was not the original headline approved for publication, and Johnson violated the normal editing process when he changed the headline," the announcement read. "The newspaper’s decision to terminate Johnson had nothing to do with the content of the editorial, which criticized the president’s job creation ideas and Chattanooga’s Smart Grid. The Free Press page has often printed editorials critical of the president and his policies."

The Free Press is the conservative editorial page of the newspaper, while its counterpart Times page publishes editorials with a liberal slant.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's office canceled new employee and management training sessions that would have included sexual harassment training, a former high-level city official and two other City Hall sources told Voice of San Diego in a report published Wednesday.

The city's former chief operating officer, Jay Goldstone, told Voice of San Diego that at the beginning of Filner's term, the mayor's office said it didn't have time for training sessions covering administration basics like payroll and benefits, and canceled them. Two City Hall sources confirmed to the news website that going over a state law mandating sexual harassment training within six months of taking office would have been part of those canceled sessions. 

Filner's attorney Harvey Berger had written a letter Tuesday to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith arguing the city was responsible for Filner's legal fees in a sexual harassment suit filed against him because it "failed to provide" sexual harassment training to Filner. Berger alleged that city trainers had "unilaterally" canceled the sessions.

Goldstone disputed that claim.

"Absolutely not. I am 100 percent certain that they did not cancel it,” Goldstone told the news organization.

Heritage Action for America announced Wednesday that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will join the organization at a town hall in Dallas during Congress's August recess to drum up support for defunding Obamacare. 

The nine-city "Defund Obamacare Tour" in August will feature Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint and Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz. 

"We want to hear directly from people in local communities who often suffer from Washington’s out-of-touch policies," DeMint said in a press release. "Fortunately, Washington doesn’t have to win. We have an opportunity to change the direction of our nation by defunding Obamacare and advancing conservative policy solutions that will help place us back on the path toward fiscal responsibility."

Cruz said earlier this week that the real push for defunding the national health care law will come from grassroots efforts, since Republicans in Congress are too "scared" to make the move.

Florida law enforcement has declined to investigate the FBI's fatal shooting of a Chechen man connected to the Boston Marathon bombing during an interrogation in Orlando, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald M. Bailey wrote a letter to the American Civil Liberties Union that said the FBI and Justice Department would be in charge of an investigation, according to the Globe, and it "would be inappropriate" for his department to intervene.

Florida and Massachusetts chapters of the ACLU had asked officials in both states to investigate the shooting because local law enforcement officials were present at the interrogation. The executive director of Florida's ACLU chapter, Howard Simon, told the Globe it was "extremely disappointing" that Florida officials would allow the FBI to continue "investigating itself." Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley had already declined to investigate.

Multiple reports following the shooting of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of alleged bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, said that Todashev was unarmed when an FBI agent fatally shot him in May.

A Pennsylvania police chief who recorded profanity-ridden YouTube videos in which he fired automatic weapons and railed against Democrats on gun issues was handed a 30-day suspension Wednesday night.

The Allentown Morning Call reported that Borough Council members in Gilberton voted to suspend Chief Mark Kessler for a month without pay for using the town's guns in the viral videos.

Kessler emerged from the private meeting with council members telling a mixed crowd of gun rights advocates that the council was "bowing to political pressure" and that there are "no policies in place in Gilberton to govern" his actions in the videos, according to the newspaper. 

Kessler is the only police officer in the borough of fewer than 800 residents, according to the Morning Call, and will be replaced by state police during his suspension. 

The police chief's videos sparked controversy for his flagrant attacks against Democrats, whom he called "libtards," and Democratic politicians like Secretary of State John Kerry and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the latter of whom he visualized as a shooting target in one training video.

"Kessler's video was produced to threaten and intimidate," Michael Morrill, the executive director of advocacy group Keystone Progress and who is calling for Kessler's termination, told the Morning Call. "People who are registered Democrats cannot expect to be treated fairly because Kessler doesn't even want to call them people because that's being too kind. He calls liberals 'libtards' and says the Founding Fathers would be shooting them if they were alive today."

John Oliver was adamant on Wednesday's "The Daily Show" that New Yorkers care about more than mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner -- they care about "other city's elected perverts too."

So Oliver switched the focus to another embattled Democrat, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, measuring his "nauseating" advances toward women on an "Eww-O-Meter."

One woman described Filner "slobbering" on her chin, prompting Oliver to say that even Weiner's sexts "don't leave a physical residue on your face." A clip of Filner's former communications director Irene McCormack saying Filner asked her to "work without her panties on" caused the "Eww-O-Meter" to break, forcing Oliver to pump Purell into his mouth.

Oliver added that not every reprehensible thing Filner has done is sexual. He was stunned that Filner had asked the City of San Diego to cover his legal fees in the sexual harassment suit McCormack filed against him.

"There's no way the people of San Diego are gonna grant him that request," Oliver said. "In fact, I think he's better off trying to raise the money on Prickstarter."

Watch the segment below: 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Wednesday that he's ready to bury the hatchet with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in their national security and spending feud, but Christie said he wasn't jumping at the chance to patch things up with the senator from Kentucky. 

"If we can sit down, I’m inviting him for a beer," Paul said in an appearance on Fox News. "Anytime he would like to come down and sit down at the pub right around the corner from the Senate. We'll have a beer."

"I think with Gov. Christie it’s gotten a little too personal, so we’re ready to kiss and make up,” he added.

Christie didn't warm to the offer on his monthly radio show.

"I’m running for re-election in New Jersey. I don’t really have time for that at the moment," Christie said, as quoted by the Newark Star-Ledger. "If I find myself in Washington, I’ll certainly look him up, but I don’t suspect I’ll be there anytime soon."

A 7-year-old girl was hit by a stray bullet Tuesday in Tekonsha, Mich. while swimming in her backyard pool, TV station WWMT reported.

Michigan State Police told the news station that the girl's neighbor, who had a concealed weapons permit, was using a 9 mm handgun for target practice in a nearby field. They said a stray bullet traveled at least 200 yards across the field before hitting the 7-year-old in the arm as she stood beside the pool.

State Police were requesting a charge of "reckless discharge of a firearm causing injury," according to WWMT.