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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 Tuesday morning accused former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin of violating security protocols in the State Department by using her personal email for government work.

Trump suggested that Abedin has not been properly punished for her email use and has been protected by members of the “Deep State” in the Justice Department.

Trump’s tweet about Abedin came not long after “Fox and Friends” promoted a report from the conservative news website the Daily Caller on Abedin’s email use. The report noted that Abedin forwarded State Department passwords to her personal Yahoo email account.

The President used the report on Abedin’s email use to suggest that there are members of the “Deep State” in the Justice Department working to protect allies of Hillary Clinton and hurt the Trump administration. Trump demanded that the Justice Department “act on” former FBI Director James Comey, though he did not specify Comey’s alleged wrongdoing.

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Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, released a video on Monday defending the freedom of the press.

The senator warned that the “republic will not work if we don’t have shared facts.”

“The only way the republic can work is if we come together and defend each other’s rights to say things we differ about,” Sasse says in the video.

Sasse noted that digital media allows people to exist in “echo chambers” with people who agree with them, which he argued is a “recipe for a new kind of tribalism.”

The senator ended the video by saying that “it’s not helpful to call the press the enemy of the American people” in an apparent dig at Trump. Just one day earlier, the President mentioned the “Fake News” media in a tweet.

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Anthony Scaramucci, who served a short stint as White House communications director in July, on Monday pushed back on a Daily Beast report that he could return to the Trump administration.

Scaramucci’s tweet followed a Monday night report in the Daily Beast that Scaramucci has been telling friends that President Donald Trump and other members of the Trump family want him to return to the administration. Three sources close to Scaramucci told the Daily Beast that the former communications director brags that he speaks with the President over the phone.

After his ouster from the Trump administration over the summer, Scaramucci vowed to go quiet. But recently, he has made appearances on cable news to defend the Trump administration.

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President Donald Trump on Friday jumped into the Florida gubernatorial race with a tweet praising Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), a Trump supporter, as a “brilliant young leader” and “true FIGHTER!”

Politico reported earlier in December, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the conversation, that Trump promised DeSantis his support when the congressman flew on Air Force One with him earlier in the month.

According to the report, DeSantis and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) traveled with Trump when the President held a rally in Pensacola, Florida, ahead of the Alabama special election. On the plane, according to Politico, Trump told DeSantis that he would help in the Florida gubernatorial race, and told him, “You’re my guy.”

Over the summer, DeSantis introduced a resolution that would have ended funding for special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe within six months of its passage and would have prohibited the probe from examining any events before June 2015, when Trump announced his presidential campaign.

DeSantis has not formally announced his decision to enter the race, but is expected to throw his hat in the ring, and a political committee has already been set up to raise money from his traditional donors.

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Former CIA Director John Brennan on Thursday said President Donald Trump’s apparent threat to retaliate against countries who voted for a United Nations resolution opposing the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was “beyond outrageous.”

In one of his first tweets sent since joining Twitter, Brennan said that the Trump administration’s move shows that Trump “expects blind loyalty and subservience from everyone.” He also suggested that the President is a “narcissistic, vengeful” autocrat.

The UN voted 128–9 on Thursday to back a nonbinding resolution rejecting Trump’s decision to name Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Before the vote, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said she would be “taking names” during the vote, which she claimed was “criticizing our choice.”

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Friday morning said the Senate had a “pretty partisan” year in 2017 but claimed that 2018 will be less so.

At his year-end press conference, McConnell said that the chamber must work on bipartisanship next year because Republicans have a slim majority and therefore cannot pass much legislation without help from Democrats.

“I don’t think most of our Democratic colleagues want to do nothing,” he told reporters.

McConnell said that in 2018 the Senate will likely tackle banking regulations and a fix to restore the protections from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In previous remarks, McConnell has established expectations for legislative action in the coming year. On Thursday, he said that the Senate will likely work on infrastructure legislation, and told an Axios panel that Democrats would prevent the Senate from pursuing changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, despite House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plans to make cuts to those programs.

McConnell also said on Thursday that Republicans will “probably move on” from trying to repeal Obamacare in 2018, though on Friday he told reporters that Republicans would make another push to repeal the law “as soon as we have the votes to achieve that.”

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Friday morning took a not-so-subtle jab at former White House aide Steve Bannon for his role in the recent Alabama Senate race, where Republicans lost a seat in a deep-red state.

During McConnell’s year-end press conference, the GOP leader was asked if he blamed Bannon for Republicans’ shock loss in the special election.

“The political genius on display, throwing away a seat in the reddest state in America, is hard to ignore,” McConnell replied.

Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican candidate Roy Moore earlier in December in the race to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He became the first Democrat to win a Senate seat representing Alabama for the first time in more than two decades.

Moore’s candidacy was weighed down by numerous women’s allegations of sexual misconduct and his own past comments. Bannon stood by Moore in the race even amid the allegations against him, and held a rally for the candidate where he took digs at elected Republicans—and members of the first family—who were less supportive of Moore.

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The House Ethics Committee on Thursday announced that it will expand its investigation into Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) to examine allegations that he lied to the committee and improperly used House resources for campaign work.

In a Thursday memo, the House Ethics Committee said it was looking into allegations that Farenthold’s staff “may have used House resources, including staff time, to benefit his congressional campaigns” and that Farenthold “may have required members of his congressional staff to work on his congressional campaigns.” The committee said it will also review allegations that the congressman “may have made false statements or omissions in testimony to the Committee.”

A former aide in Farenthold’s congressional office told the Ethics Committee last week that Farenthold and his chief of staff regularly asked her to perform campaign duties, CNN reported. She said that she was never paid by the campaign or volunteered for the campaign, per CNN. House rules prohibit members from using official House resources for campaign work.

The former aide, Elizabeth Peace, told lawyers with the House committee that she was pressured to do the campaign work despite complaining that it made her uncomfortable, per the report. Peace also told the panel that Farenthold’s chief of staff once yelled at her to do campaign work, a source familiar with the discussion told CNN.

The committee is already investigating sexual harassment allegations that several former staffers have made against Farenthold. Other former employees in recent weeks have accused the congressman of creating a hostile work environment and making sexually demeaning and other abusive remarks to his aides.

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Rick Dearborn, a deputy chief of staff and key aide to President Donald Trump, will leave the White House in early 2018.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Dearborn’s departure on Thursday night. White House spokesman Raj Shah confirmed to TPM on Friday that Dearborn will leave the administration.

“Rick loyally served the President for two and a half years and brought tremendous energy to the White House staff. He’s a super guy and it breaks my heart to see him leave, but I look forward to his continued personal friendship and support for the President’s agenda,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a statement about Dearborn’s departure.

Dearborn began working for Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. Before that, he worked in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate office. At the White House, Dearborn was the top aide to Trump’s chief of staff and also worked on public and legislative affairs.

According to the Wall Street Journal and CNN, Dearborn told friends that he saw the Republican tax overhaul that cleared Congress on Wednesday as his cue to leave.

News of Dearborn’s departure followed the announcement that Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell will leave the White House early next year. More departures are expected at the beginning of Trump’s second year in office.

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In a farewell address on the Senate floor Thursday morning, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) criticized the policies and political tactics of President Donald Trump and Republicans.

Franken will resign from his seat on Jan. 2 due to allegations from several women that he forcibly kissed or groped them. In his Thursday speech, Franken did not address the accusations against him. Instead he criticized Republicans and reflected on his time in the Senate.

The Minnesota senator walked through several major policy issues, starting with the tax cuts passed Wednesday by both chambers of Congress.

Franken also criticized Republicans’ climate change denialism, efforts to suppress minority voters and work to squash LGBT rights. He said that Trump and Republicans tell lies to push their policies that marginalize minority groups. Franken argued that Trump did not create those lies, but happily pushed them.

“As I leave the Senate, I have to admit that it feels like we’re losing the war for truth. And maybe it’s already lost,” Franken said. “If that’s what happens, then we have lost the ability to have the kinds of arguments that help build consensus.”

Franken said that ordinary Americans need to become better informed in order to “get this country back on track.”

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