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Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

The hard-right congressman Steve King (R-IA) vented Thursday at the prospect of President Donald Trump striking a deal with Democratic congressional leaders that included what King described as “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.

President Trump ended DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, on Sept. 5. The program shields undocumented young people who meet certain criteria from deportation. Trump has said he wants Congress to “legalize” the program, though he could also simply be passing the buck for the wave of deportations to come.

After a Wednesday night meeting with Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the President said Thursday that “We are working on a plan for DACA” to include increased border security funding. He said funding for his politically toxic border wall would “come later.”

King, known for his fiercely nativist views, was incensed Thursday morning in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota

I think something is going to have to be reversed here with this President’s policy or it will just blow up his base,” he said. “I mean, this was a straight up promise all the way through his campaign.”

“I do think that maybe Nancy Pelosi hijacked the message a little bit and the President has to walk it back,” he added.

Trump did promise to end DACA on the campaign trail, and pledged against granting “amnesty” to undocumented immigrants. But the President is not known for keeping his promises.

“The base will leave him,” King warned of Trump pursuing a plan that would protect former DACA recipients. “They won’t be able to defend him anymore.”

Later, King said he would still support Trump even if the President embraced a DACA deal. Even if, King said, “this thing collapses and they rollover the top of me with amnesty and the rule of law is destroyed and my life’s work is tossed over the side.”

“I support almost every piece of the rest of his agenda except this amnesty piece that’s being dangled out in front of America right now, and that’s so destructive to a first world country,” he said separately.

The congressman took special issue with a protest on Capitol Hill by young undocumented people who he said were “demanding” amnesty.

“If anything, they ought to be at least pleading for it and not demanding it,” he said.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that “we want to see if we can do something” for the nearly 800,000 young undocumented people who had been protected by DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, until he ended the program on Sept. 5.

DACA protects undocumented young people from deportation if they meet certain criteria. The program immediately ceased accepting new applicants when Trump ended it, but there is a six-month delay before the the first work permits will expire and DACA recipients will be eligible for deportation. Those with permits expiring on or before March 5 can apply for a renewal before Oct. 5. 

“We’ll probably also be talking about DACA,” Trump told a spray of reporters before a meeting with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. “Because we don’t want to forget DACA, and it’s already been a week and a half and people don’t talk about it as much.”

Trump has said he wants to “legalize DACA” but congressional Republicans and members of his own administration have framed it as only one in a much larger list of immigration issues that need to be addressed, potentially including a politically toxic border wall. Trump’s elimination of the program could simply be a ploy to fulfill a campaign promise while shifting responsibility for a wave of deportations of young people to Congress.

“We want to see if we can do something with regard to immigration, with regard to the 800,000 people that are now young people, they’re not children anymore,” he added Wednesday. “They were children, now they are young people, but we want to see if we can do something in a bipartisan fashion so that we can solve the DACA problem, and other immigration problems.”

The President noted that he would be meeting with Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi for dinner Wednesday night, and that “we’ll continue some discussion.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders assured reporters that “the President is a Republican” on Wednesday after confirming that he would meet with top congressional Democrats Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) later in the evening.

The meeting follows a similar one last week — though that also included Senate and House Majority Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) — in which Democrats scored a major victory by convincing Trump to agree to a short-term debt ceiling increase, giving them more legislative leverage in the future.

“Does he view Schumer and Pelosi as equal allies on the Hill for getting things done, on par with Mcconnell and Ryan?” a reporter asked Sanders near the top of the briefing. 

“Look, the President is a Republican, and certainly I think ideologically that’s a much cleaner match-up,” she said. “But again, if these people and these individuals, whether they’re Democrats or Republics, want to come together to push the President’s agenda and the agenda that clearly the American people want to see or they wouldn’t have elected Donald Trump, then we’re certainly happy to have that conversation and move that ball forward.”

Asked why McConnell and Ryan weren’t invited, Sanders said “you’ve got the leader of the Republican Party sitting at the table.”

“This is the President’s opportunity to have a very open and honest conversation with members of the Senate, and I think anybody that tries to distort it into something other than that is just misunderstanding what the purpose is,” she added.

She said separately that the President would welcome a conversation “on both tax cuts and tax reform, responsible immigration reform.” Later, asked if immigration would be addressed in the meeting, Sanders said “I wouldn’t be surprised if it came up tonight, but I’m not going to get ahead of the conversations that are going to take place later this evening.”

On Sept. 5, Trump ended the DACA program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which shields young undocumented people from deportation. The first permits from the program will begin expiring after a six-month delay, in which time the President has said he hopes Congress will “legalize DACA.”

Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will meet with President Trump Wednesday night to discuss the White House’s fall legislative priorities, a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed to TPM.

The White House confirmed in an email to reporters at 1:15 p.m. that “the President will host a dinner with the House and Senate Minority Leaders at 7PM.”

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman first reported the meeting, saying that two people briefed on it had told her it would focus on the DREAM Act and shoring up health insurance markets, among other things.

The White House official who spoke to TPM confirmed that the meeting would focus on the Trump administration’s legislative priorities, but did not confirm the specifics, nor any others who would be in attendance.

According to multiple reports on the upcoming meeting, the Democratic leaders will make protections for DACA recipients — those covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a shield from deportation that President Trump ended on Sept. 5, with the first permits expiring in six months — a priority.

CNBC’s Eamon Javers said he was told the meeting would include Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Chief of Staff John Kelly, in addition to Trump, Schumer and Pelosi.

BuzzFeed’s Kate Nocera said one person “familiar with the invite” told her it would be a follow-up on the meeting between Trump, Schumer, Pelosi and Republican leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) last week.

The two Democratic leaders shocked the Beltway with that meeting by convincing Trump to agree to a government funding bill, hurricane relief and a short-term debt ceiling raise, all as McConnell and Ryan sat beside them in the Oval Office. The debt ceiling raise was especially sour news for Republicans, as it gave Democrats unexpected legislative leverage.

This post has been updated.

Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she was “stunned” and “dumbfounded” by then-FBI Director James Comey’s letter regarding her emails late in the 2016 election.

Comey, who had led the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, told Congress 11 days before the election that “the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”

The news was quickly leaked, and Comey only announced that no new relevant information had been turned up on Nov. 6, two days before the election. Clinton said “the unprecedented action of the FBI director” was the most significant single factor in her loss to Donald Trump two days later.

“If we put all those factors you just laid out in a pie chart,” “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie asked, after Clinton listed a series of factors she thought played into the electoral outcome, “what’s the biggest cause? What part is Comey? What part is Russia? What part is you? “

“I think the determining factor was the intervention by Comey on Oct. 28,” Clinton said. “It stopped my momentum. It drove voters from me.”

“I was stunned, to be honest,” she added. “I didn’t know what to think about it, because I knew there was nothing there. We had trouble finding out what was really going on. I was just dumbfounded. I thought, ‘What is he doing?’ The investigation was closed. I know there’s no new information. I’d certainly given anything of any relevance to them.”

She added: “And then it became clear, this was not necessary. He could’ve called me up. He could’ve called others involved up and said, ‘Hey, can we look at this new stuff just to make sure it’s stuff we’ve seen before?’ Absolutely, have at it. But no, he had to write letters to Congress, which immediately were leaked. I feel very strongly that he went way beyond his role in doing what he did.”

Clinton is far from the only voice critical of Comey for his unprecedented action so soon before an election. Everyone from longtime Department of Justice employees to President Donald Trump has said the same.

The latter party should be taken with a large grain of salt, though: Trump used Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation as an excuse to fire him. Very quickly, however, the President made clear that he had really fired Comey over his handling of the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Clinton had appeared on “Today” to promote her new book on the 2016 election, “What Happened.” In it, she said of Comey’s intervention: “It wasn’t healthy or productive to dwell on the ways I felt I’d been shivved.”

Watch below via NBC:

Former President Barack Obama praised the gay rights activist Edith Windsor shortly after the 88-year-old died Tuesday in New York, saying “few made as big a difference to America.”

Windsor, whose lawsuit against the government led the Supreme Court in 2013 to strike down a key part of the the Defense of Marriage Act, lived to see the court assert that same-sex couples nationwide had the right to marry in 2015.

I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love,” Obama said in a statement.

In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” he added. “And because people like Edie stood up, my administration stopped defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in the courts.”

Read Obama’s full statement below:

America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence, and fueled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right. 

Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor – and few made as big a difference to America.

I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love.  She was engaged to her partner, Thea, for forty years.  After a wedding in Canada, they were married for less than two.  But federal law didn’t recognize a marriage like theirs as valid – which meant that they were denied certain federal rights and benefits that other married couples enjoyed.  And when Thea passed away, Edie spoke up – not for special treatment, but for equal treatment – so that other legally married same-sex couples could enjoy the same federal rights and benefits as anyone else.

In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.  And because people like Edie stood up, my administration stopped defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in the courts.  The day that the Supreme Court issued its 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor was a great day for Edie, and a great day for America – a victory for human decency, equality, freedom, and justice.  And I called Edie that day to congratulate her.

Two years later, to the day, we took another step forward on our journey as the Supreme Court recognized a Constitutional guarantee of marriage equality.  It was a victory for families, and for the principle that all of us should be treated equally, regardless of who we are or who we love.

I thought about Edie that day.  I thought about all the millions of quiet heroes across the decades whose countless small acts of courage slowly made an entire country realize that love is love – and who, in the process, made us all more free.  They deserve our gratitude.  And so does Edie. 

Michelle and I offer our condolences to her wife, Judith, and to all who loved and looked up to Edie Windsor.

New Hampshire’s governor on Monday ordered the state’s attorney general to help police with an investigation into what appears to have been an attempted hanging of a biracial 8-year-old boy in late August.

“Yesterday on my instruction, the Attorney General’s office sent a team to Claremont to provide assistance,” Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said in a statement shared with TPM Tuesday. “It is my expectation that local and state authorities will investigate appropriately and I’ve asked for regular updates on how things are proceeding. Hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated in New Hampshire.”

New Hampshire Public Radio first reported the governor’s statement.

There were reportedly no adults present during the incident. But the boy’s grandmother recounted to Valley News what she heard from children who were there, including the boy’s sister: that he was playing in a park with a group of teenagers “when the teens started calling the boy racial epithets and throwing sticks and rocks at his legs.”

The situation escalated, she said, when some or all of the teens stepped on a table with a rope that once held a tire swing, allegedly wrapping it around the boy’s neck and pushing him off the table. The boy’s mother later posted pictures showing rope burn on the boy’s neck on Facebook.

“So my son is being flown to Dartmouth after a 14 year old kid decided to hang him from a tree,” she wrote on Facebook. “I don’t care if this was a so called accident or not. My son almost died because of some little shit teenage kids.”

The boy’s mother added in a subsequent post that she had gone public with her son’s story to “show this country that racism does in fact still exist.”

Claremont’s police chief, Mark Chase, has been next to silent on the case, saying that the alleged perpetrators being minors prohibits him from confirming any details. He only confirmed that the youngest person involved in the case was 8-years-old and the oldest were teenagers, according to NH1.

“These people need to be protected,” he told NH1, adding: “We don’t want things to follow kids throughout their life.”

“Mistakes they make as a young child should not have to follow them for the rest of their life,” he told Valley News separately.

City Manager Ryan McNutt described the incident as “an unfortunate incident between some juveniles,” according to the same outlet.

The city’s response garnered outrage. Claremont was 96 percent white, 0.6 percent African American and 1.8 biracial, according to the 2010 census, the Valley News and the Root noted.

New Hampshire Public Radio noted that a local group affiliated with Showing Up For Racial Justice, an activist group, had planned a prayer vigil on Tuesday afternoon “to show up against racism, and in a show of loving support for all members of the community!” in response to what it called the “CLAREMONT RACIST ATTACK.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that the Department of Justice “should certainly look at” investigating fired FBI Director James Comey.

The remark came during a press conference after Sanders was asked by the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman about Steve Bannon’s comment in a recent interview. Bannon said Trump firing Comey was the biggest mistake in modern political history.

“I think there is no secret,” Sanders said, reading from a prepared statement. “Comey by his own self-admission leaked privileged government information. Weeks before President Trump fired him, Comey testified that an FBI agent engaged in the same practice, they’d face serious repercussions. I think he set his own stage for himself on that front. His actions were improper and likely could have been illegal.”

“Comey leaked memos to the New York Times, your own outlet,” Sanders added to Haberman.

Trump has accused Comey of breaking the law before, after Comey admitted to indirectly leaking the content of his personal notes of encounters with the President to the media.

Sanders called the information “privileged” rather than “classified” on Tuesday, but said later that the Department of Justice should consider investigating Comey.

“You said that the actions of James Comey could have been illegal,” NBC’s Hallie Jackson said. “You, the other day, referred to potential false testimony. The DOJ is not commenting. But I would put it to you: Would the president encourage the DOJ to prosecute Comey?”

“That’s not the President’s role,” Sanders responded. “That’s the job of the Department of Justice and something they should certainly look at.”

“Is that something you would like to see?” Jackson pressed.

“I’m not sure about that specifically, but I think if there is ever a moment where we feel someone has broken the law, particularly if they are the head of the FBI, I think that’s something that certainly should be looked at,” Sanders said.

Later, Sanders denied she had said she wanted Comey investigated for leaking, saying “I’m not here to ever direct DOJ in the actions that they should take.”

On Monday, Sanders made the remarkable charge that “[s]ince the director’s firing, we’ve learned new information about his conduct that only provided further justification for that firing, including giving false testimony, leaking privileged information to journalists, he went outside of the chain of command, and politicized an investigation into a presidential candidate.”

She did not provide any evidence for the first charge, nor did she elaborate on it. It came up again Tuesday, though Sanders still provided no proof. 

“Yesterday when you were talking about James Comey, you mentioned that he gave false testimony. I didn’t hear you say that again today,” a reporter asked Sanders. “Do you still stand by that?”

“I did say that, actually, today, yeah,” Sanders replied. “And he did.” 

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