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

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) reacted Thursday on Twitter to an op-ed written by Russian President Vladimir Putin and published in the New York Times, saying the column insulted Americans' intelligence.

Putin's op-ed referenced President Barack Obama's Tuesday address to the nation, in which the president said the United States' desire to prevent further use of chemical weapons in Syria is "what makes us exceptional."

"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation," Putin wrote.

The Republican-controlled Missouri legislature on Wednesday failed to override Gov. Jay Nixon's (D) veto of a bill that would have annulled federal gun laws in the state, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. 

The override passed 109-49 in the state House, but ultimately failed 22-12 in the Senate.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster (D) released a letter in the week prior to the veto session that called the bill "flawed public policy," according to the newspaper. The bill was also criticized by local law enforcement who would have been prohibited from working with federal agencies under the legislation.

About 100 gun rights activists rallied Wednesday outside the Capitol in favor of the bill, according to the Post-Dispatch. 

A spokesman for Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) told the Washington Post late Wednesday that police have located records about a murder victim who Booker says died in his arms and will turn them over to the National Review on Thursday.

The National Review announced earlier Wednesday that it would file a lawsuit against Booker, the city of Newark and the Newark Police Department for access to public records about the death of Wazn Miller, who Booker says was shot and died in his arms in 2004.

James Allen, Booker's mayoral spokesman, also provided the Post with a comment from former Newark police director Anthony Ambrose backing up Booker's story. Ambrose said he remembered Booker had "blood all over his hand and on his arm" when he arrived at the scene, and was told by observers that Booker had rendered aid to the victim.

"I recall him staying by the victim’s side until he was transported to the hospital," Ambrose said, as quoted by the Post. "Unfortunately, the individual did not survive.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) ribbed Newark, N.J Mayor Cory Booker (D) Wednesday in an interview with Politico over the New Jersey Democrat's colorful stump speeches about a drug lord named "T-Bone."

Paul is scheduled to campaign Friday for Booker's Republican opponent in the New Jersey Senate race, Steve Lonegan. He criticized the Newark mayor as a politician with "an imaginary friend with imaginary problems" in the Politico interview.

Booker has often told stories about "T-Bone," the Newark drug dealer he said he befriended, but a recent National Review article raised doubts about the existence of the man. That publication announced Wednesday it would sue Booker and the city of Newark for public records related to another of the mayor's oft-repeated stories about a murder victim who died in his arms.

“If Cory will introduce me to T-Bone when I get there, I’d love to meet T-Bone. If T-Bone’s not real, maybe we need to get Mr. Booker to talk about real problems,” Paul told Politico.

When Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) first got an e-mail Wednesday night about an op-ed Russian President Vladimir Putin published in the New York Times, it nearly made him sick to his stomach at dinner.

"I almost wanted to vomit," Menendez told CNN. "I worry when someone who came up through the KGB tells us what is in our national interests, and what is not. It really raises the question of how serious the Russian proposal is."

Putin's op-ed challenged the idea of "American exceptionalism," referencing President Barack Obama's Tuesday address to the nation regarding Syria, to urge opposition to military intervention there.

Menendez added that the United States should follow through on negotiations with Russia aimed at getting Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control, saying "it would be foolish to slam the door on diplomacy."

Police in Lake Mary, Fla. on Tuesday released a dashcam video of George Zimmerman surrendering himself in front of his home Monday following an altercation with his estranged wife and her father, which is still under investigation.

The dashcam video, taken outside the home, captured Zimmerman's interaction with police officers but did not show an alleged domestic dispute between he, his wife Shellie and her father. In the video, police ordered Zimmerman to slowly back away from his vehicle into the middle of the street, where they ordered him to kneel and placed him in handcuffs.  

Lake Mary police spokesperson Zach Hudson reiterated Tuesday that video of the incident recorded on an iPad will be critical to determining what happened. He said he had "tremendous confidence" that the video would be extracted from the device, which Zimmerman allegedly smashed into pieces.

Hudson clarified that all witnesses, including both George and Shellie Zimmerman, told police at the scene that no gun was involved in the altercation.

Asked about the apparent change in Shellie Zimmerman's recounting of the incident -- she can be heard on an audio recording of her 911 call saying her husband had "his hand on his gun" -- Hudson said "perception becomes everything with something like that," and assured the police department didn't want to penalize anyone for their immediate reactions.

Town officials in Newtown, Conn. have voted unanimously to approve a new firearms ordinance limiting recreational shooting, the News Times reported Tuesday. 

The proposal was voted on last week over a year after the first debate on the issue, which came before the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 26 children and educators were killed in addition to the gunman.

Jeff Capeci, chairman of the town's legislative council, told the newspaper on Monday that the ordinance was a "good compromise considering the varying interests" -- a balance between residents fighting to protect their Second Amendment rights and residents concerned about their safety.

The ordinance, scheduled to take effect next month, affects target and recreational shooting only, according to the News Times. It states no resident may shoot for more than four hours after notifying the police department, mandates target backstops be placed ten feet above the target and limits shooting to one individual at a time.

The ordinance also stipulates that no shooting is allowed within a half-mile of a school during school hours.

George Zimmerman's estranged wife declined to press charges against her husband after calling 911 Monday to report he threatened her and her father with a gun, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Lake Mary police Chief Steve Bracknell told the newspaper Zimmerman told officers who later responded to her 911 call that she did not see a weapon. Bracknell added that Zimmerman and her father, David Dean, declined to press charges.

Zimmerman can be heard on an audio recording of the 911 call saying her husband had "his hand on his gun and he keeps saying step closer."

George Zimmerman's defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, suggested in his remarks to reporters after the incident that Zimmerman did have a gun on his person at the time of the altercation.

"The gun was holstered under his shirt, and it stayed there the whole time," O'Mara said, as quoted by the Sentinel.

But a spokesman for O'Mara told ABC News Tuesday that the attorney would not represent George Zimmerman in future litigation, including any charges that may result from the Monday altercation.

Russia told France on Tuesday that a potential United Nations Security Council resolution holding the Syrian government accountable for the use of chemical weapons was unacceptable, Reuters reported.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his French counterpart Russia would propose another U.N. declaration supporting an initiative to place Syria's chemical weapons under international control, according to Reuters.

France's foreign minister said Tuesday that Russia isn't thrilled about a possible United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at controlling Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles, Reuters reported.

"As I understood, the Russians at this stage were not necessarily enthusiastic, and I'm using euphemism, to put all that into the framework of a U.N. binding resolution," Laurent Fabius told French lawmakers, as quoted by Reuters, following a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.