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

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who has come under fire recently for a string of gifts he allegedly received from a donor, issued a press release Tuesday declaring that all loans made to his family have been repaid in full.

A 2011 loan to McDonnell's wife Maureen for $52,278 and two separate loans totaling $71,837 made in 2012 to a real estate business owned by the governor and his sister were repaid in full, according to the press release. The loans were originated by Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

"Being Governor of Virginia is the highest honor of my 37 years in public service," McDonnell said in the press release. "I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens. I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your trust and confidence."

According to Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) math, legalizing undocumented immigrants is untenable because for every valedictorian DREAMer -- immigrants brought to the U.S. as children -- there are 100 more who are carrying drugs across the border.

"Some of them are valedictorians, and their parents brought them in," King told Newsmax in an interview last week. "It wasn't their fault. It's true in some cases, but they aren't all valedictorians. They weren't all brought in by their parents."

"For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” he continued. “Those people would be legalized with the same act."

King introduced an amendment last month that would reverse the Obama administration's delayed deportations of DREAMers, leading DREAMers to stage a protest in his Washington office.

Watch King's full interview with Newsmax below. His comments on amnesty come at the six-minute mark.


[h/t NBC News Latino]

A lawyer for Sgt. Sean Murphy, the Massachusetts State Police photographer who released images of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber's arrest to Boston Magazine last week, said his client was placed on restricted duty Tuesday, according to the Boston Herald.

A hearing had been scheduled Tuesday at Massachusetts State Police headquarters to determine Murphy's employment status moving forward. While Murphy keeps his job pending the outcome of an investigation, his lawyer Leonard Kesten told the Herald that state police management will make the next move.

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) released a joint statement Tuesday condemning an amendment to Rep. Justin Amash's (R-MI) House appropriations bill that would gut National Security Agency surveillance programs.

“Since the public disclosure of the business records program, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has explored how the program can be modified to add extra privacy protections without sacrificing its effectiveness," the statement read. “We believe this debate in the Congressional Intelligence and Judiciary committees should continue and that any amendments to defund the program on appropriations bills would be unwise." 

Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) spoke out against those programs in a speech Tuesday at the Center for American Progress in Washington, stressing the importance of reforming surveillance law to protect Americans' privacy.

Former New York Gov. David Paterson (D) is mulling a run for congress should Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) retire, the Associated Press reported Monday.

"I'm definitely looking at it," Paterson told the AP.

"I'm looking to see if someone will come forward to really speak for a changing and diverse community that is the congressional district," he added, leaving open the possibility that a younger candidate may better serve the Harlem district Rangel represents. "But I just find that the types of people I emulated when I was going around and served just aren't around anymore. Everyone is a deal maker. And that is what doesn't close off my interest."

In May, Paterson told an Albany radio show that he had been "approached" about possibly replacing Rangel when he retires.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Tuesday took a preemptive hit at President Barack Obama's speech on the economy slated for Wednesday.

"Welcome back to the conversation, Mr. President," Boehner said of Obama's expected remarks on job creation in the House GOP's weekly press briefing. "We never left it."

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defended his department's controversial stop-and-frisk practice in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Monday, arguing accusations that the practice constitutes "racial profiling" are "disingenuous" and "incendiary."

In the op-ed, titled "The NYPD: Guilty of Saving 7,383 Lives," Kelly wrote that the outbreak of criticism of stop-and-frisk in the wake of Trayvon Martin's death serves to "obscure the rock-solid legal and constitutional foundation underpinning the police department's tactics and the painstaking analysis that determines how we employ them."

Kelly also wrote that stop-and-frisk tactics have significantly lowered the murder rate during Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, from 13,212 in the 11 years before Bloomberg's tenure to 5,849 during the mayor's time in office. Those 7,383 lives saved were "largely the lives of young men of color," he wrote.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday, Kelly stood by his column and reiterated that stop-and-frisk practices are "proactive policing."

Al Jazeera America plans to launch on Aug. 20, the Al Jazeera Media Network announced Tuesday.

The new network, born from Al Jazeera's acquisition earlier this year of the old Current TV, has hired ABC News' Kate O'Brian, who will lead the editorial staff as president of Al Jazeera America. O'Brian "will have full responsibility for defining and implementing the editorial strategy and operations across the network, including news, documentary and all other programming," according to a statement released Monday. 

Interim CEO Ehab al-Shihabi said at the end of June that Al Jazeera had hired 650 employees, according to the announcement. Former MSNBC and Fox News host David Shuster is reportedly one of those joining the network as an anchor.

The Pentagon has determined that U.S. military involvement in Syria could cost billions of dollars, the New York Times reported Monday.

A letter from Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) described the logistics and costs of several military options available to the United States in aiding the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In his letter, Dempsey estimated the cost of training rebel troops in Syria at almost $500 million a year, while employing long-range strikes on military targets could wind up costing billions, according to the Times. Factor in a no-fly zone, and the costs would be even higher.

Dempsey wrote that in hypothetical efforts to thwart the use of chemical weapons, “thousands of Special Operations forces and other ground forces would be needed to assault and secure critical sites” at costs of over $1 billion per month, as quoted by the Times.