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Cristina Cabrera

Cristina Cabrera is the social media editor at TPM based in New York. Previously, she worked for Vocativ and interned at USA Today and New York 1 News. She received her B.A at NYU. Follow her on Twitter @crismcabrera

Articles by Cristina

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday called for all Confederate statues to be removed from the Capitol, saying the statues are “reprehensible.”

“There is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country,” she said in a statement.

Pelosi pressured House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans to follow suit.

“If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy,” she said, “I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.”

Pelosi’s move follows a violent white supremacist rally over the weekend that aimed to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. A self-proclaimed white supremacist allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman and injuries more than a dozen people.

The rally and President Donald Trump’s “both sides” defense of the Nazi flag-waving protesters sparked heated debates about Confederate symbols and white supremacy. Several cities have since promised to take down Confederate statues, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper pledged on Tuesday to take them down state-wide.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Trump expressed his opposition to removing the statues. “I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?” he asked.

Trump doubled down on Thursday morning, lamenting that the removal of the “beautiful” monuments would ruin the “history and culture” of the U.S.

Read Pelosi’s full statement below:

“The halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy. The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation.

“The Confederate statues in the halls of Congress have always been reprehensible. If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.

“Under the leadership of Democrats in Congress, we have recognized more women and people of color in Congress’s collection of statues, including Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth and Helen Keller. As Speaker, we relocated Robert E. Lee out of a place of honor in National Statuary Hall – a place now occupied by the statue of Rosa Parks.

“There is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) signaled on Wednesday that he’s tired of questions about President Donald Trump’s controversial comments on the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“You tell me what he needs to say so we can move beyond this,” he told reporters, according to the Cap Times. “He said it once. Again, I’m not going to speak for the President, I speak for myself.”

Johnson continued to express frustration over foreign policy and budgetary issues he said were being ignored in the meantime.

“We can continue to harp on President Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville, but from my standpoint, I’m concentrating on finding areas of agreement and doing everything I can under my committee’s jurisdiction and what I can do to improve the situation,” he said.

Johnson also said he doesn’t see any reason for impeachment.

“Is it too early to think about Article 25 and impeachment?” asked one reporter.

“On what grounds?” Johnson responded.

Following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia featuring Nazi salutes and shouts of “Jews will not replace us,” Trump on Tuesday blamed “both sides” for the violence leading to counter-protester Heather Heyer’s death. He also said “both sides” had “fine people.”

While Johnson admitted he wasn’t “entirely” comfortable with Trump’s comments, he avoided criticizing the President outright and pivoted to healing divides.

“Let’s try to unify this nation. Let’s try and heal it. Let’s try and focus on what is causing the division and reduce it,” said Johnson.

The Wisconsin senator lamented the situation during an appearance on WTMJ’s “Jeff Wagner Show” on the same day.

“I just find this whole thing depressing,” he said.

Watch Johnson addressing questions about Trump below:

The Department of Justice filed a brief on Wednesday evening weighing in on a workplace discrimination case, arguing that gay and bisexual employees are not protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The brief, filed in the case of a man who claims he was fired for being gay, states, “The sole question here is whether, as a matter of law, Title VII reaches sexual orientation discrimination. It does not, as has been settled for decades.”

It adds: “Any efforts to amend Title VII’s scope should be directed to Congress rather than the courts.”

The move seems to be at odds with the Trump administration’s official statement declaring that it would continue to enforce President Obama’s 2014 executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees.

“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election,” according to the statement issued in January.

Now, his Justice Department is pushing back against past arguments by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual employees falls under sex discrimination.

The brief argues that because lesbian, gay and bisexual men and women get discriminated against equally, and homophobia isn’t rooted in the belief that one sex is superior to another, they can’t claim to be discriminated against on the basis of sex.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) slammed the move during an appearance on MSNBC, saying it was “antithetical to our core American values.”

“This is one of the reasons why I opposed Jeff Sessions in the first place,” she said. “It’s wrong, morally wrong.”

Another Democrat, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, released a statement: “Donald Trump promised the LGBT community he would fight for them. Now, on the same day he pledged to ban transgender Americans outright from serving in our armed forces, he dispatched his Justice Department to publicly argue in favor of workplace discrimination against gay Americans. I’m no longer surprised by the President’s hypocrisy. But I am offended by the cruelty of this assault on LGBT civil rights.”

As Whitehouse notes, the department filed the brief the same day President Trump announced on Twitter that transgender people would be banned from serving in the army “in any capacity.” The announcement sparked widespread criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.

This post has been updated.

Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, on Wednesday pushed back on President Donald Trump’s announced plan to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

“So, biggest baddest most $$ military on earth cries about a few trans people but funds the F-35?” Manning asked in a characteristically emoji-filled tweet. “Sounds like cowardice.”

The F-35 Lightning II Program, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter Program, develops high-tech fighter jets. Plagued with engineering problems and about seven years behind schedule, the program has been blasted as a trillion-dollar mistake, according to Bloomberg.

Manning responded to a tweet from conservative commentator Tomi Lahren that said “The military is not about the wants of the individual, it’s about the mission” by asking, “What mission is that? Wasting money on dysfunctional equipment and greedy contractors?”

In 2010, Manning came out as a trans woman the day after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sending thousands of classified records to Wikileaks. She reportedly faced humiliating abuse from the prison workers over her gender identity and attempted to commit suicide several times.

The Army granted Manning gender-affirming surgery in 2016 after her five-day hunger strike.

After a commutation from President Barack Obama, Manning was released from prison in June after serving seven years of her sentence.

Newly-appointed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci spent Saturday scrubbing his Twitter account of old tweets criticizing Donald Trump, praising Hillary Clinton, and others.

Scaramucci admitted to deleting the tweets as an indication of “transparency” and that his past views had “evolved”:

He later tweeted, “The politics of “gotcha” are over.”

The old tweets, which can be read here, slammed Trump’s campaign as a “spectacle” and even expressed hope that Clinton would run for office because “she’s incredibly competent.”

Another deleted tweet called for greater gun control, which caught the attention of NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch.

Notably, Scaramucci had also attacked Trump’s border wall, a cornerstone of Trump’s domestic policy, tweeting “Walls don’t work. Never have, never will.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, in no uncertain terms, never wants to step foot in the United States.

That’s what he told reporters on Friday after being asked about Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) slamming Duterte over human rights abuses in the Philippines and saying he would “lead the protest” if the president accepted Donald Trump’s invitation to the White House.

“There will never be a time that I will go to America during my term, or even thereafter,” Duterte said. “So what makes that guy think I’ll go to America? I’ve seen America, and it’s lousy.”

Trump had invited Duterte to the White House in April during what the administration called a “very friendly” phone call between them.

News of the invitation sparked widespread condemnation from human rights advocates, who pointed to Duterte’s well-documented practice of extrajudicial killings of drug dealers and addicts. The number of deaths reaches well into the thousands.

As chairman of the congressional human rights commission, McGovern led a hearing on Thursday as a part of an investigation into the killings. “No arrest. No warrant. No judge. No jury. Simply, murder,” he said in his opening statement.

Watch Duterte speak below:

H/t to the Washington Post and GMA News.

The beleaguered Sean Spicer suffered his fair share of woes during his six-month tenure as Trump’s press secretary.

One of those woes was being deprived of a mini-fridge when he first started out and being forced to take matters into his own hands, the Wall Street Journal reports.

With nothing to keep his food and drinks cold, Spicer sent an aide over to where several junior research employees worked nearby. The aide asked them to hand over their mini-fridge. They said no.

However, Spicer didn’t join the Navy to get shut down by junior staffers.

The former press secretary waited until nighttime to strike. According to the Journal, a White House official saw Spicer dragging the mini-fridge down the driveway after 8 P.M.

Victory was his.

Top White House advisors and married couple Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have reported earnings as much as $212 million since early last year, according to the New York Times.

Late Friday night, Trump publicly released her first ethics disclosure form that showed she received at least $12.6 million dollars from her businesses since early 2016, along with an arrangement guaranteeing her at least $1.5 million a year.

The Times also reported that Kushner, who remains heavily invested in his family’s multibillion dollar real estate businesses, filed an updated form along with his wife. His investments make up the majority of the $212 million figure.

Together, the couple’s business networks show an empire worth $761 million. And there could be more.

“There still may be financial ties that we don’t know about,” said Lawrence M. Noble, a former general counsel and chief ethics officer of the Federal Election Commission, told the Times. “These really weren’t meant to deal with a situation where somebody’s going to keep a major business interest.”

The disclosures further highlight ethics experts’ concerns of conflicts of interest between the couple’s presence in the White House and their business ties.

“We won’t know if they are taking necessary steps to recuse themselves because, unfortunately, the ethics process requires a lot of self-policing,” Scott H. Amey from Project on Government Oversight told the Times.

President Donald Trump fired up his Twitter on Saturday morning to claim his “complete power to pardon” following reports that he had been asking about being able to pardon his friends, family, and himself in connection to the Russia probe.

“While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us,” Trump tweeted, followed by “FAKE NEWS.”

Talks of pardons arose with additional reports of Trump’s legal team trying to find ways to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Trump’s lack of control over the probe has reportedly prompted him and his legal team to dig up reasons to discredit or possibly even fire Mueller.

During a Monday radio interview with White House aide Sebastian Gorka, Fox News’ Sean Hannity went after his fellow Fox colleague Shep Smith.

“Shep is a friend, I like him, but he’s so anti-Trump. I mean, he went off on a rant last week,” Hannity told Gorka as they were criticizing cable news coverage of the White House.

The “rant” Hannity was likely referring to came during a Fox segment last week, in which Smith slammed the Trump administration’s constant flip-flopping between narratives on Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer over promises of incrimination information on Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign.

“They tell us there’s nothing to this, that nothing came of it, there’s a nothingburger, it wasn’t even memorable, didn’t write it down, didn’t tell you about it ’cause it wasn’t anything so I didn’t even remember it. Why all these lies? Why is it lie after lie after lie?” Smith asked.

Hannity — a frequent booster of President Trump — welcomed Trump Jr. on his show last week after the President’s eldest son released emails showing the lead-up to his meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Trump Jr. was quick to criticize the media’s coverage of the meeting and allegations of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“I think the mainstream media has done themselves a pretty big disservice by going so far, by going so extreme, by being so sensational. And I think it’s pushing regular people away,” he told Hannity.

Listen to the Hannity segment below (the criticism of Smith begins at the 2:43 timestamp):

H/t CNN.

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