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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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Kris Kobach may have thought he had a slam dunk case when he showed up in New Hampshire Tuesday to claim mass voter fraud. Instead, he found himself getting dunked on — by both the members of the voter fraud commission he’s leading, and the witnesses who testified at its meeting — who bashed him for screwing up basic facts of New Hampshire’s elections law and accused him of jumping to conclusions.

Kobach, a leading proponent of restrictive voting laws who is the Republican secretary of state in Kansas and the vice chair of President Trump’s voter fraud commission, recently claimed New Hampshire was the site of enough voter fraud to have potentially swung the state’s 2016 election results. That didn’t play well in New Hampshire, where the commission’s second meeting happened to be held.

Before the start of the day’s second panel, Kobach attempted to tamp down some of his initial allegations, which came in the form of a Breitbart op-ed where he wrote that “Now there’s proof” of significant voter fraud in New Hampshire. But even before that, Kobach’s claims had been undercut by the testimony of a witness during the first panel who explained New Hampshire’s requirements to vote.

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John Lott, a pro-gun rights writer who 10 years ago also wrote an article about voter fraud, appeared in front of the President Trump’s voter fraud commission Tuesday to promote an idea that appeared to be a troll of Democrats concerned that the commission would lead to restrictive elections laws that would suppress voting.

To quell Democrats’ concerns about anti-fraud measures leading to voter suppression, Lott suggested that the background check system that is used to clear gun purchasers should be used on those seeking to vote, as was hinted in a copy of his presentation posted online by the White House last week:

Democrats have long been concerned about voter suppression but they’ve also long lauded the background check system on guns, saying it’s simple, accurate, in complete harmony with the right of people to go and defend themselves,” Lott said, while referencing a quote from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) praising the use firearm background checks.

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President Trump’s voter fraud commission holds its second meeting Tuesday, with members meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire to discuss “Historical Election Turnout,” “Election Integrity Issues” and “Public Confidence,” according to an agenda for the meeting posted last week.

It is being vice-chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), an immigration hardliner known for pushing restrictive voting laws. The commission’s chair, Vice President Mike Pence, is not expected to attend.

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The Justice Department is siding with Joe Arpaio in asking a federal judge to toss the criminal contempt case that spurred President Trump’s pardon of the former Arizona sheriff, who had been found in contempt of court for violating a court order.

“The President’s decision to grant Defendant a ‘[f]ull and [u]nconditional [p]ardon [f]or [h]is [c]onviction’—and Defendant’s decision to accept it—ends this prosecution,” the DOJ said in a court filing Monday. “The presidential pardon removes any punitive consequences that would otherwise flow from Defendant’s non-final conviction and therefore renders the case moot.”

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White House counsel Don McGahn and former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus have hired a prominent white collar attorney in Washington to advise them on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, which reportedly is turning its focus to decisions made in the White House related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

An unnamed source told Law360 that William Burck, a partner at the firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, has been brought on by both McGahn and Priebus.

Burck is a former assistant U.S. attorney and was a deputy counsel to President George W. Bush, according to the Law360 report. He also defended former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) in a high-profile corruption case that went to the Supreme Court, where McDonnell’s convictions were overturned.

According to reports in the Washington Post and the New York Times, the Mueller probe has sought interviews with McGahn, Priebus and other current and former aides to President Trump. The probe is said to be examining Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, as well as the White House’s initial response to the revelation that Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met with Kremlin-linked figures during the presidential election.

Hope Hicks, a top Trump aide and the interim White House communications director, has also hired a private attorney to represent her in the probe, Politico reported over the weekend. 

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) generated a bevy of criticism for the voter fraud commission that he’s vice-chairing last week by jumping on a wildly speculative claim that New Hampshire’s 2016 presidential and Senate elections may have been swung by nonresidents pouring into the Granite State to take advantage of its same-day voter registration.

When President Trump’s so-called “elections integrity” commission gathers in New Hampshire on Tuesday for its second meeting, it appears ready to double down on those widely-mocked allegations, judging by presentations planned for the meeting and posted by the White House on Friday evening.

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President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. released a statement Thursday via Twitter after his five-hour closed-door interview with Senate Judiciary Committee that said he answered “all” the questions the committee and staff posed, “until both sides had exhausted their lines of questioning.”

“I trust this interview fully satisfied their inquiry,” Trump Jr. said.

Democrats on the committee have indicated they’d like the President’s son to also testify in a public setting.

A statement Trump Jr. offered during the committee interview that leaked earlier Thursday detailed his account of the Trump Tower meeting he attended in June of 2016 with Kremlin-linked figures.

“I did not collude with any foreign government and do not know of anyone who did,” Trump Jr. said in the statement to the committee.

The so-called “elections integrity” commission President Trump created after falsely claiming millions voted illegally in 2016’s election posted its agenda for its second meeting, which will be held in New Hampshire next Tuesday. The list of witnesses is a hodgepodge of computer scientists and turnout experts reflecting the pet interests of commission member and meeting host, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner (D), as well as fringe figures known to trumpet overblown fears about voter fraud, including one of the commission’s own members.

Gardner told TPM Thursday morning that he was involved in the selection of witnesses testifying on historical voting trends and on election technology. He did not know who was behind the choice of witnesses on the second panel listed on the meeting’s agenda, on “Current Election Integrity Issues Affecting Public Confidence,” a witness list that is tilted towards those with a reputation for pushing restrictive voter laws.

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Update 1:47 p.m.: CNBC reporter Christina Wilkie tweeted the full statement out, which is embedded at the bottom of the post. The story has also been updated with more from the statement.

Donald Trump Jr., in a statement offered with his closed-door interview Thursday with the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that his decision to participate in a June 2016 meeting with Kremlin-affiliated officials was made during an “exhausting, all-encompassing” campaign experience where he “fielded dozens, if not hundreds, of emails and phone calls,” according to the New York Times, which obtained a copy of the statement.

“To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out,” the statement said, according to report.

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NBC News has corrected  a story initially claiming that Paul Manafort had the words “donations” and “RNC” in close proximity in his notes from the notorious June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Kremlin-linked figures. An update added a few hours after the story was first published included a number of sources denying the word “donations” was in the notes, which Manafort turned over as part of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees’ Russia probes.

The vague story, which created a splash when it went up Thursday mid-afternoon, has become more convoluted, with disputes over what exactly was referenced in the notes, if not specifically the word “donation.”

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