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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

President Donald Trump on Friday offered only vague pledges about how he plans to make American schools safer, a week after 17 people died in a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

During a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, One America News Network’s Trey Yingst asked Trump what specific legislation he will propose to Congress in the wake of last week’s shooting.

Though Yingst asked Trump for details, Trump only offered broad strokes in response.

“We are going to be very strong on background checks,” he replied. “We want to be very powerful on background checks.’

Trump went on to describe the changes he will seek to the background check process as “strong” and “powerful,” but did not elaborate on what those changes would be or entail.

“We’re going to get rid of the bump stocks, and we’re going to do certain other things,” he added later, and again declined to offer much in the way of details.

Trump also called for some teachers to be armed, and claimed that “offensive capability” in schools could help prevent future tragedies.

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MD — More than a year after President Donald Trump won the 2016 election, attendees at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) were still celebrating Hillary Clinton’s loss and hoping for her arrest.

During the final speech on Thursday, the first day of the conference, the crowd broke out into a chant of “Lock her up!” when conservative writer Ben Shapiro said that Clinton would never be president.

“She’s already in a jail of her own making,” Shapiro quipped after the chants waned.

When Trump spoke to the conference last year, the same chant broke out during his speech.

Watch a clip of the moment via C-SPAN:

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team filed new charges in the case against former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, though the filing is under seal, leaving the details unclear, Politico reported on Wednesday.

The sealed charges did not appear in the online docket for the case, but the paper docket at the courthouse in Washington, D.C. showed that filing was a new charging document, according to Politico. It’s not clear when Mueller’s team filed the new charging document or what the document contains.

The filing came after Mueller’s team told the court that they had new evidence about bank fraud committed by Manafort.

The new charging document also comes as Gates has been working to change his legal team, sparking speculation that he is working on a plea deal with Mueller’s team. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that Gates plans to plead guilty soon and to cooperate with prosecutors as they pursue Manafort.

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President Donald Trump used one of his favorite tactics to attempt to shift focus away from his campaign and administration: blame the Democrats.

In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump tried to pin Russian election meddling on the Obama administration by stressing that the meddling took place while Barack Obama was President. Trump urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate Obama’s response and “Dem crimes,” though he misspelled Sessions’ name.

 

A few minutes later, Trump fixed the tweet to spell Sessions’ name correctly.

Trump seems to overlook one large part of the Russia investigation — how Russia went about interfering in the 2016 election and how future meddling could be prevented. Each time a major news story or advancement in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation breaks, Trump focuses solely on the investigation into his campaign. Trump uses every tidbit he can to deny that his campaign colluded with the Russians, ignoring revelations about how Russians went about sowing discord in the U.S. political system.

Recently, when the Justice Department announced the indictment of several Russians for meddling in the 2016 election, Trump focused on the fact that the indictment did not say that Trump campaign aides knowingly worked with the Russians.

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During a town hall in his Colorado district Tuesday night, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) faced a barrage of questions about gun control in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Florida last week.

During a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting, several attendees called for action on gun control instead of prayers.

“We’re done with thoughts and prayers!” one audience member yelled out during the moment of silence, according to the Associated Press.

Attendees held signs related to gun control, including one that noted the National Rifle Association’s contributions to Coffman’s campaign. And several audience members asked the congressman about gun control efforts — his district includes the town of Aurora, the site of a deadly 2012 shooting at a movie theater.

One woman asked him how he would work to keep weapons like the AR-15 out of civilian hands. Another woman identified herself as the wife of a first responder who was at the scene of the Columbine high school shooting, also in Colorado. She told Coffman that a 19-year-old should not be able to buy a “weapon of mass destruction.”

In response, Coffman said that laws won’t necessarily stop the next tragedy.

Watch clips from the town hall via Fox 31 in Denver:

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A few days after counsel Robert Mueller announced an indictment against several Russians for meddling in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump latched into Mueller’s finding that Russians organized and promoted anti-Trump rallies after the election.

Trump attacked the media for covering the rallies and appeared to suggest that cable news networks may have known the rallies were organized by foreigners posing as Americans on social media.

Trump’s tweet came after conservative news outlets pointed out on Monday that the cable news networks covered a Nov. 12 of an anti-Trump rally. The conservative site NewsBusters first highlighted this, and the Daily Caller then picked it up.

Mueller’s indictment found that Russians promoted both a pro-Trump rally and an anti-Trump protest on the same day in November as part of the effort to sow discord in the U.S. elections process.

 

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Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Donald Trump, has pushed back on chief of staff John Kelly’s effort to rein in the use of interim security clearance and argued that he needs to keep his interim access to classified material, the New York Times reported Tuesday night, citing White House officials and others briefed on the situation.

Following the firing of Rob Porter and revelations that he was able to use an interim security clearance despite allegations of domestic abuse, Kelly has set out to reform the security clearance process in the White House. He issued a memo last week declaring that anyone who has been operating with an interim security clearance since June will see that access revoked until they obtain a full clearance, and that the White House will continue to assess who can keep a security clearance.

Kushner has come under increased scrutiny since Porter’s ouster because he has reportedly been working on an interim clearance for more than a year and has filed several updates to his lists of foreign contacts and financial assets.

Kushner told colleagues that he does not want to give up his interim clearance and insisted that he must maintain his access, according to the New York Times. Kushner also feels personally targeted by Kelly’s memo, officials told the Times. However, others familiar with Kushner’s thinking denied to the New York Times that he feels singled out by Kelly or that he has resisted Kelly’s efforts.

The White House said Tuesday that Kushner’s work will not be impacted by Kelly’s changes to the security clearance process but did not acknowledge whether Kushner’s interim clearance would be revoked.

“Mr. Kushner’s work that he has done will not be impacted and he’s going to continue to do the work that he’s done over the last year,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters during the daily briefing.

Kelly echoed Sanders in a statement to the New York Times.

“As I told Jared days ago, I have full confidence in his ability to continue performing his duties in his foreign policy portfolio including overseeing our Israeli-Palestinian peace effort and serving as an integral part of our relationship with Mexico,” Kelly said in the statement.

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White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah on Tuesday morning defended President Donald Trump’s tweets attacking the Obama administration regarding Russia, and charged that there has been a “revision of history” when it comes to comparing Trump’s attitude toward Russia to that of former President Obama.

Trump attacked Obama on Twitter Tuesday morning, accusing Obama of responding to Russian election meddling too late and claiming that he has been “much tougher on Russia than Obama.”

Asked on Fox News how the Trump administration plans to deter Russia from meddling in U.S. elections again, Shah offered few details and instead defended Trump’s response to Russia so far. He noted that the Trump administration is working with states to protect elections infrastructure from interference before diving into his defense of Trump.

“To the President’s tweet, this is something that we think there is a bit of a revision of history going on about how this President has confronted Russia and dealt with Russia and how the last administration dealt and confronted Russia,” Shah said on Fox News. “We have been tough, we have been measured, we have been smart and appropriate in dealing with Russia. What you had under the Obama administration was a lot of hot rhetoric and little results.”

Trump has repeatedly tried to undermine the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election by calling the investigations into the matter a “hoax.” The President still claims that Russian interference had no impact on the outcome of the election, even though U.S. officials have said there’s no way to tell.

The President has also dragged his feet on implementing new sanctions against Russia. Despite reluctantly signing into law new sanctions against Russia as punishment for election meddling, the Trump administration has blown past deadlines for actually imposing the sanctions.

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning weighed in on the redistricting fight in Pennsylvania and urged Republicans to fight the congressional district map drawn by the state supreme court.

Trump acknowledged that the new map could hurt Republicans in the 2018 election since it erases the gerrymandered districts created by the GOP.

The Pennsylvania supreme court announced a new map on Monday that will go into effect for the 2018 midterm elections. Republicans have said that they plan to challenge the new map in federal court.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is looking into Jared Kushner’s contacts with foreign investors during the presidential transition after President Donald Trump won the election, CNN reported Monday evening.

It was previously reported that the special counsel’s team was looking at Kushner’s contacts with Russians, but the new report from CNN indicates that Mueller is now looking at Kushner’s contacts with other foreign individuals as well.

Mueller is specifically looking at the Kushner Cos. building at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City, the family’s troubled Manhattan office building, according to CNN. Kushner reportedly spoke to Qatari and Chinese investors about the building, and Mueller’s team is looking at those interactions, per CNN.

The special counsel’s team has not yet requested documents from the Kushner Cos. or interviews with its executives, per CNN. Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said that his client had not been asked about the building.

“Another anonymous source with questionable motives now contradicts the facts — in all of Mr. Kushner’s extensive cooperation with all inquiries, there has not been a single question asked nor document sought on the 666 building or Kushner Co. deals. Nor would there be any reason to question these regular business transactions, Lowell said in a statement to CNN.

As Mueller’s probe heats up, Kushner has come under intense scrutiny for his investments and foreign contacts. He has submitted several updates to his financial disclosure forms, and has reportedly yet to receive his security clearance.

Read CNN’s full report here.

 

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