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Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

In a letter to the Senate Sergeant at Arms, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) warned that if elected to the Senate, Roy Moore could pose danger to the high school students who participate in the Senate page program.

She asked the Sergeant at Arms to share “what preventative steps are being taken to safeguard Senate Pages from predatory conduct of U.S. Senators and Senate staff.”

The congresswoman noted that Roy Moore, the GOP Senate candidate in Tuesday’s special election in Alabama, has been accused of inappropriate relationships with teenage girls and that he was reportedly banned from the local mall as a result. As a result, Gwen Moore said that Roy Moore is a “threat to the safety of the young men and women” in the page program.

She argued that participants in the page program are in a vulnerable situation since they are far from home and work in a place that “necessitates long hours in close proximity to lawmakers and staff that can create power dynamics of which young people are not fully aware.”

“It would be unconscionable for Congress to not be vigilant and proactive in taking precautions to safeguard these children given the well sourced allegations against Roy Moore,” Gwen Moore wrote in the letter, which was dated Dec. 8.

She also mentioned Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), who resigned in 2006 after sending inappropriate, sexually explicit messages to at least one underage male page, before asking the Sergeant at Arms to details what steps are being taken to protect pages.

Read the letter from Rep. Moore:

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President Donald Trump on Monday railed against the media on Twitter not long after the New York Police Department confirmed that a pipe bomb detonated in the New York City subway.

Trump’s tweet pushing back on a the New York Times story about his television-viewing habits came after the White House confirmed he had been briefed on the explosion, but before Trump made any public comment about the incident.

The President claimed that the New York Times story was “false” and that he rarely watches CNN or MSNBC.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Trump begins his days by watching cable news and spends at least four hours each day, and sometimes as much as eight hours, watching the news on television.

The Times defended its reporting on Monday in response to Trump’s tweet.

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A group of women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct came together on Monday and urged Congress to investigate claims of sexual harassment and assault against Trump.

“We are not holding our president accountable for what he is and who he is,” Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of groping and kissing her on a plane in the late 1970s or early 1980s, said on Monday morning.

She said that she is hopeful the #MeToo movement, which calls attention to sexual harassment and assault, will bring change.

“I’m hoping that it creates more movement and that we get a change,” Leeds said. “We all have to hope.”

Rachel Crooks, who accused Trump of forcibly kissing her in 2005, said that if Congress is willing to investigate Franken, they should also look into claims against the President.

The women who spoke out in a press conference on Monday morning were featured in the video “16 Women and Donald Trump” from Brave New Films.

After the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape revealing Trump bragging about groping women was released about a month before the 2016 election, Trump faced a barrage of sexual misconduct allegations. Trump denied the allegations and pressed on with the campaign, going on to win the White House.

The accusations about Trump have come under increased scrutiny over the past few months as several prominent politicians and members of the media have been accused of sexual misconduct. Trump has also thrown his support behind Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces sexual misconduct allegations as well.

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President Donald Trump recorded a robocall encouraging Alabama voters to back Republican Roy Moore in Tuesday’s special election to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat representing Alabama.

Politico first reported on Saturday that Trump would record a message, and CNN obtained audio of the call on Sunday.

“We need Roy voting for us. I am stopping illegal immigration and crime. We’re building a stronger military and protecting the Second Amendment and our pro-life values,” Trump says in the robocall supporting Moore, per CNN. “But if Alabama elects liberal Democrat Doug Jones, all of our progress will be stopped cold. We already know Democrat Doug Jones is a puppet of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, and he will vote with the Washington liberals every single time.”

Moore faces allegations from several women that he inappropriately pursued a sexual or romantic relationship with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Despite the sexual misconduct allegations, Moore has pressed on in the race. Although Republican leaders urged Moore to leave the race when the allegations first surfaced, GOP leaders have since softened on Moore and pushed to keep the seat in Republican control.

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Following Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) speech announcing his resignation over sexual misconduct allegations, one of his accusers said Thursday she was disappointed that Franken is still pushing back against the allegations.

“I have to say that I’m so sad and appalled at his lack of response and him owning up to what he did,” Stephanie Kemplin, an army veteran who accused Franken of groping her while he was in Kuwait entertaining the troops in 2003, said on MSNBC.

“He just keeps passing the buck and making it out to be something that we — we took his behavior the wrong way or we misconstrued something or that we just — we just flat-out lied about what happened to us,” she continued.

Kemplin made the comments when asked if Franken’s resignation is justice for allegedly groping several women. Kemplin said that his resignation does not feel like justice to her and that she would like to see him acknowledge his behavior.

“Justice to me would be him owning up to what he did and to stop trying to pass the buck onto other individuals who possibly — they did commit the same things, maybe even more heinous than what he’s done,” she said, perhaps referencing to Franken’s comment in his resignation speech that President Donald Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore have not seen the same repercussions for their alleged sexual misconduct.

Franken announced in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday that he will resign from his seat. He said that the allegations of sexual misconduct are a distraction, but he insisted that some of the allegations he faces are “simply not true.”

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As accusations of sexual misconduct put pressure on several prominent officials to leave office or politics, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) argued on Thursday morning that voters should decide whether those facing the allegations are fit to serve in public office.

“We shouldn’t have trial by newspaper,” he told the Associated Press.

When it comes to Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces sexual misconduct allegations from several women, Cotton said that Alabama voters “are going to make that decision, just like the people of this country made their decision last year on Donald Trump.”

Though several GOP senators called for Moore to drop out of the race if the allegations against him were true when the claims first surfaced, as Moore has continued to deny the accusations and campaign for the Senate seat, Republicans have slowly softened their stances.

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Fresh off Project Veritas’ failed attempt to undermine the credibility of the Washington Post and other news outlets, the group’s leader, James O’Keefe, was honored as a “hero” Wednesday night by the conservative group United for Purpose.

O’Keefe accepted an “Impact Award” from Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, at the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C.

Project Veritas, notorious for releasing deceptive videos targeting liberals, recently tried to infiltrate the Washington Post and other media outlets. Activist Jaime Phillips tried to get close to journalists at the Post and other outlets, but was ultimately exposed by the Washington Post for posing as a sexual misconduct victim of Roy Moore. Despite the fact that the Washington Post discovered she was not actually a victim, Project Veritas still claimed the stunt was a victory.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday said that he was fired from President Donald Trump’s transition team after he opposed Trump’s decision to appoint Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

“I thought it was a significant reason,” Christie said at a press conference, according to Politico.

“Suffice to say, I had serious misgivings, which I think have been confirmed by the fact that he pled guilty to a felony in federal court,” Christie added, per Politico.

Indeed, Christie said in May that he warned Trump several times against hiring Flynn for the role.

“I didn’t think that he was someone who would bring benefit to the President or to the administration,” Christie said in May. “I made that very clear to candidate Trump, and I made it very clear to President-elect Trump.”

Flynn last week pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials during the Trump transition. The charging documents from special counsel Robert Mueller revealed that Flynn discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador and asked Russia to help delay or stop a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

House Democrats also revealed this week that a whistleblower alleged that a business associate of Flynn on Inauguration Day 2017 discussed text messages from Flynn promising that the Trump administration would reverse sanctions against Russia that was hurting this business associate’s project.

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Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Wednesday evening that Donald Trump Jr. cited attorney-client privilege to avoid answering the committee’s questions about a discussion he had with President Donald Trump about his June 2016 meeting with Kremlin-linked officials.

After the committee completed its interview with Trump Jr., Schiff briefly spoke with reporters and revealed that Trump Jr. acknowledged that he discussed the June 2016 meeting, as well as the emails leading up to the meeting, with his father. Schiff said that the conversation “ostensibly” took place after the emails became public but would not reveal more about the timeline.

Trump Jr. told committee members that lawyers were present for his conversation with the President and argued that this shields him from having to detail the discussion with the committee, per Schiff.

Schiff disagreed, however.

“I don’t believe you can shield communications between individuals merely by having an attorney present,” he told reporters. “That’s not the purpose of attorney-client privilege.”

Trump Jr., along with other campaign officials, met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer in June 2016 after he was promised that the lawyer had incriminating information on Hillary Clinton.

When the New York Times first reported on the meeting in July 2017, Trump Jr. claimed that it was merely an “introductory” meeting to discuss adoption of Russian children in the U.S. President Donald Trump and White House advisers reportedly helped craft that initial statement that left out key details about the meeting.

As the Times continued its reporting on the email, Trump Jr. released two additional statements over the course of a few days. In the second statement, he acknowledged that the Kremlin-linked lawyer told him that she had damaging information on Clinton in the meeting, but Trump Jr. did not reveal in that statement that he was promised this information in an email scheduling the meeting. Finally, he released the emails that showed he was promised the information three days after the initial New York Times report.

 

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Alice Ollstein and Cameron Joseph contributed reporting

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken’s fellow senator representing Minnesota, stopped short of calling for Franken to resign over mounting sexual misconduct allegations on Wednesday. But she appeared to suggest that Franken would resign this week.

Numerous female Democratic senators on Wednesday called for Franken to resign from the Senate after a new accuser came forward alleging that Franken tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006 after a taping of his radio show. Apparently prompted by a small group of women senators, several male Democratic senators joined the chorus of lawmakers calling for Franken to resign on Wednesday. In a matter of hours, more than 20 Democratic senators called for Franken to step aside.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) was one of the Democrats to call for Franken to resign — in spite of their longstanding friendship. Franken was among the first people to visit her at a veterans hospital when she was recovering from severe wounds after her helicopter was shot down in Iraq, and they became friends long before she stepped into the political arena.

“I’m devastated. I’m devastated to have to ask him to do this but I’m also devastated that a dear friend of mine could have conducted himself in such a horrible manner,” she told TPM, saying they’d met when she was a “wounded warrior” at the Walter Reed Medical Center.

“It’s devastating. Yes, he’s my friend. And I’m deeply disappointed in the behavior — but he’s still my friend,” she continued.

Following the wave of calls for his resignation, Franken’s office said Wednesday afternoon that the senator will make an announcement on Thursday, though Franken’s office did not specify the topic of the announcement.

In calling for Franken to step down, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) also predicted that Franken would resign.

Since mid-November, several women have come forward to accuse Franken of groping or forcibly kissing them. The wave of allegations began with Leeann Tweeden, who said that Franken aggressively kissed her while they were abroad entertaining the troops and groped her in her sleep.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told reporters Wednesday afternoon that if Franken is indeed stepping down Thursday, he is “doing the right thing.” Flake added that he is concerned Republicans are losing moral high ground with Democrats in light of Democrats calling on Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Franken to step down.

“I’ve been concerned about that for a while, with Roy Moore certainly, but gratefully almost all our colleagues have said that he should step aside in the race.”

Many Republicans, however, have reverted to saying the race should be left up to Alabama voters.

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