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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

The White House on Tuesday announced that President Donald Trump will travel to Florida on Thursday as the state begins its recovery from Hurricane Irma.

“FEMA Administrator Long is traveling to the affected areas today and the President will be making a trip to Florida on Thursday,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during her briefing Tuesday, referring to Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long.

She said Trump and his “entire administration continue to monitor the situation in Puerto Rico, the United States, the Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas, and all areas affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.”

NBC News correspondent Katy Tur wrote in her book published Tuesday that Donald Trump, then a Republican candidate for president, gave her an unwelcome kiss on the cheek during his campaign.

Describing the incident in her book “Unbelievable,” published Tuesday, Tur said Trump kissed her before an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Before I know what’s happening, his hands are on my shoulders and his lips are on my cheek,” she wrote. “My eyes widen. My body freezes. My heart stops.”

Her next thought, according to Tur, was, “I hope the cameras didn’t see that. My bosses are never going to take me seriously.”

Tur was one of Trump’s favorite targets on the campaign trail; he derided her as “little Katy” and called her a “third rate reporter” during a rally, after which Tur said the Secret Service walked her to her car.

The President on Tuesday lashed out at “people writing books and major articles” about him with “zero access,” an attack that coincided with the release of Tur’s book.

The nature of Trump’s unwanted attentions was not specific to Tur, either. After the Washington Post published the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in October 2016, a recording where Trump bragged about kissing and grabbing women “by the pussy,” multiple women came forward to accuse him of similar unwelcome misconduct.

Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is set to take over the 10 p.m. hour on Fox News with her own prime time show, CNN reported late Monday.

CNN reported, citing unnamed sources, that Ingraham has “been telling friends that the deal is essentially done.”

According to CNN, star host Sean Hannity’s show, which currently occupies the 10 p.m. slot, would move an hour earlier, and “The Five,” which currently occupies that 9 p.m. slot, would move four hours earlier to its eponymous time slot.

Fox News on Friday announced that it terminated Eric Bolling, co-host of “The Specialists,” and canceled the show, which previously occupied the 5 p.m. time slot. The network suspended Bolling in August pending an investigation into allegations that he sent lewd photographs to his female colleagues.

A Fox News spokesperson pushed back on the CNN report, telling TPM by email that the network currently has “no deal in place” with Ingraham.

Amid speculation in June about Sean Spicer’s future as White House press secretary, a month before Spicer ultimately announced his resignation, Ingraham said she “would think about” taking his place but said she wasn’t sure the job was something she was “dying to do.”

“I’m not sure if that’s the role I would pick for myself,” she said.

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday warned that if President Donald Trump were “left to his own devices,” he would take steps to emulate authoritarian leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Asked on the liberal podcast “Pod Save America” whether she thinks Trump might take steps to emulate Putin and his regime, Clinton said, “Yes.”

“I think Trump, left to his own devices, unchecked, would become even more authoritarian than he has tried to be,” she said. “I’m not saying he’s going to start killing journalists, but I am saying that he likes the idea of unaccountable, unchecked power. And we’ve never had to face that in a serious way in our country.”

She cited the Republican practice of gerrymandering “to control state legislatures, elect Republican governors and to call a constitutional convention.”

“And if you really get deep into what they’re advocating — limits on the First Amendment, no limits on the Second Amendment, limits on criminal justice — I mean, there is a very insidious right-wing agenda,” Clinton said.

She called it “a very clear agenda that is hard for Americans to really kind of wrap our heads around because we’ve never had to deal with anything like this before.”

“We’ve got to pay attention to it,” Clinton said. “Because the one thing we can do to rein it in, besides fulminating online or, you know, speaking or writing books, is to do everything possible to take back the House in 2018 and hold the line in the Senate. There is no more important mission.”

White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert on Monday insisted that President Donald Trump’s administration takes climate change “seriously” with regard to effect, just not so much when it comes to cause.

“Are these storms giving this administration some pause when it comes to the issue of climate change and homeland security?” a reporter asked Bossert during the daily White House briefing, referring to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“Causality is something outside of my ability to analyze right now,” Bossert replied. “I will tell you that we continue to take seriously the climate change, not the cause of it, but the things that we observe.”

He said the White House would “have to do a larger trend analysis at a later date.”

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.”

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