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Esme Cribb

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Esme

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats on Monday asked top congressional Republicans and Democrats to reauthorize a law that lets the U.S. government target foreign nationals outside the United States.

“We are writing to urge that the Congress promptly reauthorize, in clean and permanent form, Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” Sessions and Coats wrote in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Sessions and Coats cited information gathered under Section 702 of the legislation, which they claimed “produces significant foreign intelligence that is vital to protect the nation against international terrorism and other threats.”

“We look forward to working with you to ensure the speedy enactment of legislation reauthorizing Title VII, without amendment beyond removing the sunset provision,” they wrote.

The provision is set to sunset at the end of the year unless Congress passes legislation to renew it.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday pushed back on ousted White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s claim that President Donald Trump’s decision to fire James Comey as director of the FBI was the biggest mistake in “modern political history.”

“I think that we’ve been pretty clear what our position is, and certainly I think that that has been shown in the days that followed, that the President was right in firing Director Comey,” Sanders said during her daily briefing.

She claimed that since Trump terminated Comey, the White House has “learned new information about his conduct that only provided further justification for that firing.”

Sanders claimed those justifications included “giving false testimony” and “leaking privileged information to journalists.”

When pressed, she declined to provide further details: “I’m not an attorney.”

Amid a barrage of further questions about Bannon’s interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Sanders said, “I think we might be answering more questions on Steve Bannon now that he’s not here than when he was.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, who leads the White House’s National Economic Council, are scheduled to meet with Senate Republicans on Tuesday to discuss passing a budget, Politico reported on Monday.

Politico reported, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the planned meeting, that Mnuchin and Cohn will meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and members of the Senate Budget Committee to try and figure out how to pass a budget.

The Senate must first pass a budget in order to clear its path to pass tax reform via reconciliation, according to Politico, a policy Trump said on Sunday he wanted to pass quickly.

“I think now with what’s happened with the hurricane, I’m going to ask for a speed-up,” Trump said. “I wanted a speed-up anyway, but now we need it even more so.”

The President may not be on the best terms with one of the aides he’s counting on to get that done, however. The New York Times reported on Friday that, since Cohn criticized the Trump administration’s response to violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Trump has been refusing to make eye contact with his top economic adviser.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions proposed putting National Security Council staffers through a lie detector test to identify those leaking information to the media, several outlets reported late Sunday.

Axios reported that as recently as last month, Sessions proposed “a one-time, one-issue, polygraph test” of every NSC staff member regarding leaked transcripts of President Donald Trump’s phone calls with foreign heads of state.

CNN reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with Sessions’ thinking, that the attorney general wanted to focus on finding out who leaked full transcripts of Trump’s phone calls with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, which the Washington Post published in full in August.

Sessions was interested in those leaks, according to CNN, because of the limited number of people who had access to the transcripts.

A day after the Washington Post published transcripts of Trump’s calls with Peña Nieto and Turnbull, Sessions announced a crackdown on intelligence leaks and said he would review “policies affecting media subpoenas,” suggesting that the Department of Justice might pursue journalists in court in order to reveal their sources.

President Donald Trump on Sunday cited Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in Florida in the morning, as his rationale to ask Congress “for a speed-up” on his tax policy.

“We will discussing our plan for dramatic tax cuts and tax reform. And I think now with what’s happened with the hurricane, I’m going to ask for a speed-up,” Trump said at the opening of a cabinet meeting at Camp David. “I wanted a speed-up anyway but now we need it even more so.”

He called Irma a “storm of enormous destructive power” and urged those in its path “to heed all instructions.”

“Get out of its way,” Trump said. “Don’t worry about it, just get out of its way.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Sunday said he can’t guess why some fellow Republicans deny the scientific consensus that climate change exists and is affected by human activity.

“I don’t know because I can’t divine their motives,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“There is things happening with the climate in the world that is unprecedented,” he added. “We have to understand that the climate may be changing and we can take commonsense measures which will not harm the American people.”

McCain also said an agreement President Donald Trump came to with Democrats for a short-term increase in the debt limit “was not an exercise in bipartisanship.”

“The Republicans leaders, Ryan and McConnell, were surprised to hear that he had cut this deal with Chuck and Nancy,” McCain said, referring to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and their Democratic counterparts House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

“The proposal that the President accepted, the speaker of the House had just categorically rejected,” McCain said. “So that’s not the way we need to do business.”

Hillary Clinton on Sunday said her career “as an active politician” is over and reflected on her campaign and President Donald Trump’s election.

On CBS’ “This Morning,” Clinton said she is doing well but not “complacent or resolved about what happened.”

“It still is very painful. It hurts a lot,” she said.

Asked whether her career is over, Clinton said, “As an active politician, it’s over.”

Clinton said the “most important of the mistakes” she made “was using personal email,” and that she “missed a few chances” during her campaign.

“I am done with being a candidate,” she said. “But I am not done with politics, because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake.”

Clinton said President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech “was a cry from the white nationalist gut,” and said he successfully referenced “a nostalgia that would give hope, comfort, settle grievances, for millions of people who were upset about gains that were made by others.”

“What you’re saying is millions of white people,” CBS’ Jane Pauley said.

“Millions of white people,” Clinton said, nodding. “Yeah.”

She called the election “a reality show” that led to the election of Trump, who Clinton said “turned out to be a very effective reality TV star.”

“He ends up in the Oval Office. He says, ‘Boy, it’s so much harder than I thought it would be, this is really tough, I had no idea.’ Well, yeah, because it’s not a show,” she said. “It’s real. It’s reality for sure.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, on Sunday blamed Republican leadership for President Donald Trump’s debt ceiling deal with Democrats.

“Frankly, what options did the President have?” Jordan said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Jordan said he didn’t think the deal was “a good deal for the American taxpayer,” but said Republican lawmakers “should have stayed” in Washington “and put together a plan” rather than going home for August recess.

“When you fail to prepare, you get a bad outcome,” he said. “That’s what happened here.”

Asked about reports that there is friction between the House Freedom Caucus and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Jordan said, “No one’s talking about changing the leadership.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, expressed similar opinions on the heels of Trump’s unexpected deal.

“You’ve got to give options for the President to consider. If there’s no conservative option there, ultimately the President making a decision based on what’s best for the country has to weigh all those factors,” Meadows said. “I don’t know of a conservative debt limit strategy that was being offered—do any of you?”

And on Friday, Meadows said he had “no plan” to get rid of Ryan.

“There is nothing there,” he said. “And I can tell you that if I was working on a plan to depose the speaker, you wouldn’t be reading about it in the press.”

Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on Sunday said Hurricane Irma is a “worst case scenario” for the parts of Florida in the storm’s path.

“This is a worst case scenario for Monroe County, Florida Keys and the west coast of Florida,” Long said on “Fox News Sunday.”

He said areas in the “northeast quadrant” are “where the maximum radius winds are, that define the intensity of the storm, that’s where storm surge is most prevalent.”

“Storm surge has the highest potential to kill the highest amount of people and cause the most amount of damage,” Long said. “If the water starts to rise around you and you become isolated, try to get into a facility that you think can withstand the winds and get elevated. Get out of the storm surge.”

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro on Sunday praised President Donald Trump for making a short-term debt ceiling deal with Democrats over elected Republicans’ unanimous opposition.

“I can’t blame him, and I said, good for him,” Pirro said on local New York radio station WNYM.

She claimed the “establishment is out to get Donald Trump” and singled out House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for specific criticism.

“The truth is, as soon as the President does something they don’t like, they’re the first to criticize him,” Pirro said. “If for nine months the Republican establishment that continuously criticizes him and backbites cannot get anything done, then it is time for the President to move across the aisle.”

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