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Esme Cribb

Esme Cribb is social media editor for TPM in New York City. She graduated from City College, where she was editor-in-chief of The Campus, and has previously interned and written for MSF and Contently. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Esme

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) faced boos at a town hall on Monday after he defended President Donald Trump’s ongoing refusal to release his tax returns.

“Have him release those returns so we can see what kind of connections he has with different countries around the world and what tax proposals would personally benefit him and his family,” an audience member asked Cotton.



“As far as I’m aware, the President says he’s still under audit,” Cotton replied. The audience interrupted him with jeering.

One attendee called Cotton and Rep. French Hill (R-AR) “two kindergarten kids.”

“Lock him up! Lock him up!” the crowd chanted at one point, interrupting Cotton.

Another attendee shouted: “Do your job!”

And one audience member pushed Cotton and Hill to reverse their support for a congressional resolution allowing internet service providers to sell information about their customers’ browsing habits without permission.

“If you don’t, I think it’s time to repeal and replace you in 2020,” he said, to cheers.

Audience members at a town hall on Monday accused Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) of being a “rubber stamp” for President Donald Trump’s policies and giving “fuzzy answers.”

“We live here, we work here, save our health care!” audience members chanted before Heller took the stage for a joint event with Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV).

After Heller took the stage, the audience began a chant of “Answer the question!”

While answering questions, Heller put some distance between himself and Trump’s administration.

“When I think Trump is right I’ll support him,” Heller said. “When I don’t, I won’t and I will certainly try to change his mind.”

Nevertheless, one attendee called Heller a “rubber stamp” for Trump’s policy positions.

Another audience member told Heller, to applause: “Grow up, open your mouth and talk.”

One audience member accused Heller of giving “fuzzy answers,” according to a report by the Hill.

“You don’t really represent me anymore,” another attendee said, according to the Hill. “You need to start listening to the concerns of your constituents and I think you lost that.”

At a closed-door meeting in March, constituents jeered at Heller and called him a liar, according to a report by Politico. He subsequently announced plans to vote against House Republican’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Heller is one of the more vulnerable Republican senators running for re-election in 2018.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said President Donald Trump’s reversal in announcing that China is not a currency manipulator was “not a quid pro quo” in exchange for the country’s cooperation in responding to North Korea.

“Number one, they haven’t been manipulating their currency since he’s been in office. That’s a fact,” Spicer said during his daily briefing. “Number two is, I think the President’s tweet said clearly, to do so at this time would not be prudent.”

“It’s not a quid pro quo,” Spicer said. “It’s just saying that in the middle of them taking very positive signs to help us address the situation in North Korea, that to label them a currency manipulator I don’t think would be very productive.”

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week, Trump reversed position from one of his more consistent campaign promises and said the Treasury Department would not label China a currency manipulator.

He defended the flip-flop to the Journal by saying that China has not devalued its currency for months, though experts say that China has been doing the opposite and shoring up the renminbi’s value in recent years.

Sinclair Broadcast Group announced on Monday that former White House aide Boris Epshteyn has joined the conservative media company as its “chief political analyst.”

“Mr. Epshteyn brings a unique perspective to the political conversation,” Sinclair vice president of news Scott Livingston said in a statement.

In the same statement, Epshteyn said that he was “honored and grateful” to join Sinclair.

Epshteyn worked as special assistant to President Donald Trump and assistant communications director for surrogate operations during the first months of Trump’s administration, but reportedly left those positions in March. Politico reported at the time that Epshteyn was expected to take another role in the administration.

Before his departure, Epshteyn was responsible for booking White House officials and surrogates on news networks. According to a report by the New York Times, he became increasingly combative with the latter, including Trump-friendly Fox News.

As for Sinclair Broadcast Group, Politico reported in December 2016 that Trump’s campaign made a deal with the media company for uncritical coverage in exchange for access. According to that report, Trump son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner said that Sinclair agreed to broadcast interviews with Trump without adding its own commentary in exchange for more access to Trump and his campaign.

Livingston said at the time that Sinclair offered both candidates airtime for extended interviews with local anchors.

“Our promise was to give all candidates an opportunity to voice their position share their position with our viewers,” he said, per Politico. “Certainly we presented an opportunity so that Mr. Trump could clearly state his position on the key issues.”

Sinclair-owned Washington, D.C. affiliate station WJLA was one of the few outlets that Trump took a question from in February during a series of press conferences where he called exclusively on conservative news outlets.

Late update: A McConnell aide told Politico that Warren and the majority leader have spoken “several times,” though he characterized those as exchanges of pleasantries rather than conversations.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said Friday that since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted in February to use a rarely applied Senate rule to rebuke her, the Republican senator has himself fallen silent.



In an interview with the Boston Globe, Warren said that McConnell has not spoken to her since invoking Rule 19 to effectively silence her reading of a 1986 Coretta Scott King letter criticizing Jeff Sessions, then Trump’s nominee for attorney general.

“I say hello to Mitch every chance I get, and he turns his head,” Warren told the Globe. “I’ve spoken to him, but he has not spoken to me.”

McConnell’s office did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.

McConnell objected in February to Warren’s reading of the letter, and led a vote to use a seldom-invoked rule to keep Warren from speaking again during Senate debate on Sessions’ nomination.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation,” McConnell said, defending his decision after the vote. “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

In an interview aired Sunday by CBS News, Warren declined to say whether sexism played a role in the vote.

“All I can say is the next day four men stood up and read exactly the same letter, and they all got to finish,” she said.

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway on Monday suggested that Hillary Clinton and Democratic Party leaders should condemn violence at protests against President Donald Trump.

“It’s very disturbing,” Conway said on “Fox and Friends.” “I would love to hear Democratic leaders of the party, instead of still talking about the election, move forward and help us negotiate.”

She then cited Trump’s victory in the electoral college, an upset win the President has touted several times since his inauguration amid his administration’s failure to enact any other big-ticket policy.

“You have people still trying to make it go away, and this is the President. This is the people’s house. This is their government,” Conway said.

She said she would “love” to hear Democratic Party leaders address protesters.

“I would love to hear the new DNC chairman Tom Perez, Bernie Sanders, the Democratic senator from Vermont, who are going out on the road starting today,” Conway said (Sanders is an independent). “And I would love to hear Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump handily.”

Conway said they should “tell people to stop.”

“They have a right to express their First Amendment beliefs, but at the same time violence isn’t going to get us anywhere,” she said.

At least 20 people were arrested after violence broke out on Saturday at protests for and against Trump in Berkeley, California.

During Trump’s campaign for president, the candidate told supporters to “knock the crap” out of anybody who threw a tomato at him.

“I will pay for the legal fees. I promise,” he said at a rally in February 2016. “They won’t be so much because the courts agree with us too.”

In April, a federal judge in Kentucky allowed a lawsuit against Trump by three protesters assaulted at one of his campaign rallies in March 2016 to move forward. The plaintiffs claimed that Trump’s demand for supporters to “get ’em out of here” incited rally-goers to physically attack them.

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