Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She is a graduate of New York University, where 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

Outspoken liberal actor Alec Baldwin is on the verge of getting his own weekly program on MSNBC's primetime lineup, Mediaite reported Thursday.

An anonymous source, which the website described as "a senior source in the cable news industry with knowledge of MSNBC’s programming," told Mediaite that the "30 Rock" star's as-yet-untitled show is a done deal and would air Friday nights in the 10 p.m. ET slot. Since the show would air on Friday's primetime lineup, Baldwin's entrance to the network wouldn't unseat any of its weeknight anchors.

An MSNBC source told Mediaite "We're fans of Alec but we've got nothing to say regarding this unconfirmed report."

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday that President Barack Obama was "absolutely right" to cancel a planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin as tensions rose over several issues, including Russia's harboring of former security contractor Edward Snowden.

Rice told Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning" that the U.S. and Russia have "very few overlapping interests any longer" and characterized their relationship as "terrible."

"The President is absolutely right not to go to Moscow for a bilateral conversation with Putin," Rice said. "There’s nothing to talk to about. The slap in the face to the United States of America of giving asylum to Edward Snowden, the President absolutely cannot go to a bilateral conversation with Putin.”

"We reset and Russia didn't," she continued.

Watch the segment below, courtesy of CBS News: 

The secure email service Lavabit, reportedly used by former security contractor Edward Snowden, announced on its website Thursday that it was shutting down operations as it prepares paperwork for an court battle, according to the Washington Post.

The website's homepage featured a statement from founder and owner Ladar Levison that offered few concrete details on what legal problems the company faces:

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on--the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.


What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

An invitation to a July meeting of human rights organizations in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, which Human Rights Watch's Tanya Lokshina had posted to her Facebook page, appeared to be sent from a Lavabit email address belonging to Snowden. 

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell said Thursday that most of the NBC News staff would consider the network's planned miniseries on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be "a really bad idea given the timing," hours after her colleague Chuck Todd called the series a "nightmare" for the network.

Mitchell asked former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to weigh in on Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus' demand that NBC and CNN drop their Clinton-centered film projects or lose the chance to partner with the RNC for 2016 primary debates.

She said Priebus was "understandably miffed" about the films, when Gibbs interjected that the film was a "bad idea." Mitchell agreed. 

"A lot of news people would say, including the MSNBC news people and Chuck Todd and all the rest of us, a really bad idea given the timing," she said.

Todd had said the entire network would inevitably be conflated with the entertainment film in a negative way.

"This is why this miniseries is a total nightmare for NBC News because, you know, we know there's this giant firewall, we know we have nothing to do with it, we know that we'd love probably to be as critical or whatever it is going to be, if it comes out," Todd said." But there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders sent a letter to his successor Bob Filner Wednesday informing him that he'd no longer be welcome to join the city's Chamber of Commerce trip to Washington, according to KPBS.

"I am sure you will understand that, in light of the current controversy surrounding your office ... I must rescind your invitation to join our delegation trip to Washington, D.C.," Sanders, who is the current President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, wrote in the letter obtained by KPBS.

"We simply cannot risk any major distraction that would further impede the region's business," the letter continued.

Two female military veterans who said they had been victims of sexual assault while in the service told CNN Wednesday that Filner had made unwanted advances at a veterans' event, bringing the total of women who have gone public with accusations of sexual harassment against Filner to 13.

Ken Buck, the district attorney of Colorado's Weld County and a former Republican candidate for U.S. senate, took the first steps Wednesday toward launching a 2014 bid against incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D).

A campaign official told the Denver Post that Buck filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and will formally launch his campaign in September with an announcement tour. 

Buck ran unsuccessfully as a tea party candidate for Senate in 2010 against Michael Bennett (D), in a race best remembered for his gaffes on the campaign trail. His comments included comparing being gay to alcoholism, calling supporters of the Birther movement "dumbasses" and saying residents should vote for him over his female primary opponent because he doesn't "wear high heels."

New Republic Senior Editor Julia Ioffe wrote a stinging rebuke Thursday to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, who she characterized as "an angry grandpa" that "interrupted and harangued and mansplained" to her when she challenged his view of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ioffe, who previously worked as a correspondent based in Moscow, was invited on "The Last Word" Wednesday to weigh in on President Barack Obama and Putin's cancelled summit but was interrupted once she challenged the host's perception of Putin's involvement in the Edward Snowden case.

"Julia, Julia, Julia," O'Donnell interrupted at one point, "You aren't seriously suggesting that Vladimir Putin and the Russian government did not have complete, total, absolute control over the outcome of Edward Snowden entering that airport in Moscow?"

"I think you do overestimate the Russians," Ioffe responded. "I think in general people who haven't been to Russia tend to overestimate their abilities."

O'Donnell continued to stall on Ioffe's points, prompting her to ask: "Have you reported out of Russia?"

"The problem is that this was not in the ranting comments section, but was coming from the host of a prime time, national television show. And if you don't have the good sense and education or, hell, the reporting experience to know better, then just let the guests you invited on speak," Ioffe wrote in her response. "Otherwise, don't waste my fucking evening."

Watch the segment, courtesy of MSNBC: 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) announced on KRMG Wednesday that he'll be running for re-election in 2014.

Inhofe told the radio station that he decided to launch a bid to keep his seat immediately after the 2012 presidential election, when he realized there would be more work for him to do in the Senate during a second Obama term.

"I went home and I talked to my wife and I said you know we’ve got a serious problem here, we’re going to have this guy around for four more years," he said. "I just can’t bail out now."

The Oklahoma senator told KRMG that he'd focus on vital funding for the military, cutting back on Environmental Protection Agency restrictions, and making federal land available for energy exploration.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough gave credence on Thursday to Republican concerns about his parent company's planned miniseries about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, joking it was natural to be suspicious of NBC's "pot-smoking Marxists" in California.

Scarborough's "Morning Joe" show was hosting Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who stopped by to talk about his threats to snub NBC on 2016 GOP presidential debates if the network moves ahead with the miniseries.

"You know us, and you know we're fair, I'm making your point here. But you don't know NBC Entertainment," Scarborough said to Priebus, when discussing why the chairman was willing to appear on the MSNBC morning show despite the threats.

"I see three Republicans here for sure, who are just naturally suspicious of pot-smoking Marxists hanging out in Santa Monica, writing scripts and trying to be political," he added.

It wasn't the first time Scarborough had tackled the conflict this week. In an earlier discussion about it on Wednesday, the former Republican congressman declared his employer, MSNBC, is "exactly the same" as Fox News during primetime.

The National Security Agency goes beyond intercepting direct communications between Americans and foreign persons of interest, as government officials have previously acknowledged, by also collecting e-mail and text communications from Americans who may mention a foreign surveillance target, the New York Times reported Thursday.

A senior intelligence official told the Times the NSA is casting a net for Americans' communications that may cite information connected to foreign targets, like an e-mail address. 

A rule for carrying out Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act law, listed among documents leaked by former security contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian on June 20, mentioned that the NSA "seeks to acquire communications about the target that are not to or from the target." That rule hinted at the wider scope of NSA surveillance but has been largely overlooked, according to the Times.