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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

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.

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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.

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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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A Pew poll released Monday shows that Republicans’ views of higher education institutions have taken a dramatic turn for the worse since 2015.

In September 2015, 54 percent of Republicans told Pew that they had a positive stance on college and universities, while 37 percent felt negatively toward them.

Today, their attitude seems to have taken a complete U-turn, with 58 percent of Republicans saying that colleges and universities had a “negative effect on the way things are going in the country.” Only 36 percent maintained that they’re good for the country.

Since 2015, Republicans’ views of the impact of colleges have turned much more negative

Meanwhile, 72 percent of Democrats and independents who lean Democrat have a positive attitude toward the institutions. According to Pew, this stance hasn’t changed much in recent years.

This striking switch among Republicans echoes a trend among conservatives of blasting “PC culture” and “censorship of free speech” on college campuses and taking legislative action against it.

On June 20, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) held a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on free speech on college campuses titled “Free Speech 101: The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses.”

According to the Washington Post, Grassley charged that free speech “appears to be sacrificed at the altar of political correctness.”

Also present was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who lamented, “It’s tragic what is happening at so many American universities where college administrators and faculties have become complicit in functioning essentially as speech police.”

Two days after the hearing, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a GOP-backed bill allowing college administrators to expel students for “disrupting” college speakers, according to NBC.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) applauded the move:

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Fresh off of a sexual assault case that ended in a mistrial, Bill Cosby now plans to give a speaking tour to educate young people about sexual assault and how to avoid accusations of it.

Cosby’s spokepeople appeared Thursday on Birmingham, Alabama TV station WBRC’s “Good Morning Alabama” to discuss the trial and the celebrity’s desire to “get back to work,” which they said would involve hosting a series of town halls on sexual assault complaints for young people, particularly athletes.

The “issue” of getting accused of sexual assault, said spokesman Andrew Wyatt, is “bigger than Bill Cosby.”

“They need to know what they’re facing when they’re hanging out and partying, when they’re doing certain things they shouldn’t be doing,” said Wyatt.

“It’s also an issue that affects married men,” he laughed.

Cosby’s spokeswoman Ebonee Benson added that a “brush against a shoulder” is now grounds for sexual assault complaints.

“Laws are changing. The statutes of limitations for victims of sexual assault are being extended,” she said. “You know, anything at this point can be sexual assault and it’s a good thing to be educated about the laws.”

Cosby was tried in Pennsylvania on three counts of sexual assault stemming from Andrea Constand’s accusations that he drugged and then assaulted her in 2004. A jury deadlocked on those charges and a mistrial was declared on Saturday, although prosecutors announced their intention to retry the case.

Constand was one of dozens of women who have come forward over the years with similar allegations against the star of “The Cosby Show.”

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A federal housing program that subsidizes private landlords like Donald Trump would be spared deep cuts under the President’s budget proposal, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. The Post noted that the President’s budget proposes deep cuts to most programs that provide relief to homeless and low-income people.

The federal housing program, known as “project-based rental assistance,” pays millions to participating housing complexes, including a massive apartment bloc in Brooklyn that the President has an ownership stake in.

The Post reported that the complex, Starrett City, earned Trump at least $5 million between January 2016 and April 15 this year.

Trump’s budget would gut almost 29 percent ($1.8 billion) from public housing, according to the Post. Meanwhile, the rental assistance program Trump profits from would lose $65 million, a cutback of about 0.5 percent.

The Post noted that the President himself wasn’t involved in the decision about the program. Both the White House and the Trump Organization did not respond to the Post’s questions.

Read the Post’s full report here.

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Monday that the primary contributing factors to climate change are the “ocean waters and this environment that we live in” — not rising CO2 levels.

“Do you believe CO2 is the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate?” asked CNBC’s Joe Kernen.

“No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in,” replied the secretary. He then began to complain about the backlash against “being a skeptic.”

“This idea that science is just absolutely settled and if you don’t believe it’s settled then somehow you’re another Neanderthal, that is so inappropriate from my perspective,” Perry said.

There is broad consensus in the scientific community that the Earth’s temperatures are rising as a result of greenhouse gases, caused by human activity.

Being a “skeptic,” according to Perry, is “quite alright.”

At the ended of the interview, Kernan gave Perry a verbal pat on the back. “Alright, Mr. Secretary, that’s a pretty good answer. You did well there.”

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Newt Gingrich said Tuesday that comedian Kathy Griffin’s controversial photo shoot and Shakespeare in the Park’s production of “Julius Caesar” had “set the tone” for what he considers a biased special counsel team currently investigating potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Gingrich, a staunch Trump ally, appeared on “Good Morning America” with George Stephanopoulos and cited the photo shoot and play as he criticized the special counsel team and defended his reversed position on Robert Mueller’s appointment.

“I’m operating in a world where somebody can hold up the bleeding head of the President and someone can assassinate the President in a play and people go ‘Oh, well that’s just politics,’” Gingrich told Stephanopoulos.

“But neither one of those is Robert Mueller,” the anchor pointed out.

“No, but they set the tone,” Gingrich responded.

The former House speaker had previously praised Mueller as a “superb choice” in May when news broke of his appointment but backtracked on Tuesday, tweeting “Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair.”

Watch Gingrich’s exchange with Stephanopoulos below:

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Comedian Kathy Griffin issued an apology Tuesday evening for her controversial photoshoot in which she holds the likeness of Donald Trump’s bloodied, severed head.

“I sincerely apologize. I’m just now seeing the reaction of these images. I’m a comic, I crossed the line, I moved the line, then I crossed it. I went way too far,” Griffin said in a video she posted on Twitter. She also promised to ask the photographer, Tyler Shields, to take down the photo.

Griffin faced significant backlash from both ends of the political spectrum. Chelsea Clinton tweeted that the photo was “vile and wrong.” Mitt Romney wrote, “Our politics have become too base, too low, & too vulgar, but Kathy Griffin’s post descends into an even more repugnant & vile territory.”

Trump himself blasted the comedian, saying she should be “ashamed” of herself.

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Freshly crowned Miss USA, Kara McCullough of Washington, D.C., sparked controversy on Sunday with her response to a question on whether affordable health care was a privilege or a right. “I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” she said.

However, she seemed to reverse her position on Tuesday during an interview on “Good Morning America.”

“I am privileged to have health care and I do believe that it should be a right. I hope and pray moving forward that health care is a right for all worldwide,” said McCullough.

The Miss USA winner, who works at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, had said, “As a government employee, I’m granted health care. And I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs, so therefore we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunity to have health care as well as jobs to all the American citizens worldwide.”

The buzz over McCullough’s comments comes at a time when the state of American health care is being hotly debated. A controversial GOP Obamacare repeal bill narrowly passed the House on May 4th.

Several people on Twitter slammed McCullough for her comments:

Others applauded her:

This story has been updated.

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