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

After a large group of lawmakers met with President Donald Trump for a lengthy meeting on Tuesday about a plan to restore the protections from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a smaller group of lawmakers will meet with administration officials on Wednesday.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will meet with Trump administration officials, Cornyn confirmed in a Wednesday morning tweet.

Trump held a chaotic, freewheeling meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday. During an hour-long media availability at the meeting, Trump offered a wide range of opinions on immigration policy and strategies for restoring DACA. His vacillating comments left lawmakers confused, with both parties coming away from the meeting with a different view on what had happened.

The smaller group of lawmakers is now tasked with determining what Trump and Congress might be able to agree to on legislation restoring DACA.

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Michael Cohen, the longtime attorney for President Donald Trump, on Tuesday filed two separate defamation lawsuits against Buzzfeed News and Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the Trump dossier.

In the lawsuits, Cohen lashed out at Buzzfeed News for publishing the dossier, which alleges that Cohen met with Kremlin officials, and at Fusion GPS for allowing the dossier to fall into the hands of journalists.

The lawsuits from Cohen came after Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith published an op-ed in the New York Times defending the publication’s decision to publish the unredacted dossier. This may have prompted Cohen to file the lawsuits — he published a tweet Tuesday evening announcing the lawsuits and saying he has had “enough” of the dossier.

“It will be proven that I had no involvement in this Russian collusion conspiracy,” Cohen told Bloomberg News on Tuesday. “My name was included only because of my proximity to the president.”

Cohen filed the lawsuit against Buzzfeed News in New York state court and accused the news outlet of publishing “false, damaging, and highly inflammatory statements” about him. He argued that Buzzfeed published the dossier despite knowing that it contained unverified claims.

In a statement responding to the lawsuit, a Buzzfeed spokeswoman said that the outlet will defend its First Amendment rights.

“The dossier is, and continues to be, the subject of active investigations by Congress and intelligence agencies,” BuzzFeed spokeswoman Katie Rayford told Politico in a statement. “It was presented to two successive Presidents, and has been described in detail by news outlets around the world. Its interest to the public is obvious. This is not the first time Trump’s personal lawyer has attacked the free press, and we look forward to defending our First Amendment rights in court.”

Cohen filed a separate lawsuit against Fusion GPS in federal court, arguing that the firm indirectly published defamatory statements about him by arranging briefings between the dossier’s author and journalists and by discussing publication of the dossier with Buzzfeed News.

Read the complaints filed on Tuesday:


Read the latest editor’s brief (Prime access) on this story »


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During a meeting at the White House with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, President Donald Trump seemed convinced that he can usher through a comprehensive immigration reform bill after passing legislation restoring the protections from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump held the meeting to reach an agreement to revive DACA’s protections, but his goals for immigration legislation quickly grew. He told lawmakers several times during the remarkable, televised meeting that he thinks comprehensive immigration reform is within reach.

“I think what we’re all saying is we’ll do DACA, and we can certainly start comprehensive immigration reform the following afternoon. We will take an hour off and start. I do believe that,” Trump told the lawmakers and reporters present. “Because once we get DACA done and it’s done properly, with security and everything else, if it’s done properly, we have taken a big chunk of comprehensive out of the negotiation. And I don’t think it’s going to be that complicated.”

The President’s new, lofty goal of passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill came as part of a lengthy media availability at the meeting. What started as a brief pool spray became an hour-long affair during which lawmakers and Trump debated which issues they would deal with and when — all in front of the cameras.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle made pitches for their pet issues, whether it be helping the young people once protected by DACA or ending “chain migration,” an obsession among conservatives.

With so much back and forth, and several pitches on how to pass a DACA fix, Trump became confused at one point when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) suggested passing a “clean” DACA bill and tackling comprehensive immigration reform later.

“What about a clean DACA bill now with a commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure?” she asked Trump.

“I have no problem — I think that’s basically what [Sen.] Dick [Durbin (D-IL)] has said,” Trump replied. “We will do DACA and start on the phase two which would be comprehensive. I would like that. I think a lot of people would like to see that. But I think we have to do DACA first.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) then jumped in to clarify that a DACA bill should include funding for more border security, as Trump has supported.

“I think that’s what she is saying,” Trump then said.

Feinstein clarified that she believes border security should be part of a comprehensive bill.

During the hour-long televised debate on immigration, Trump also said that a bill addressing DACA should include provisions that address chain migration, end the visa lottery system and promote merit-based immigration. Though, while he offered his wish list for a bill, he also told the lawmakers in the room that he would sign whatever they agree to.

“My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” he said. “If they come to me with things I’m not in love with, I’m going to do it because I respect them.”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, also revealed during the meeting that he and a group of House Republicans will introduce a bill on Wednesday that would restore the DACA protections and address some of the issues on Trump’s wish list, like chain migration.

Following the meeting, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Trump and congressional lawmakers agreed behind closed doors to draw up legislation that would address “four high-priority areas: border security, chain migration, the visa lottery, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.”


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President Donald Trump on Monday resubmitted several nominees who did not make it through the Senate by the end of December, including a few of the administration’s more controversial picks.

Trump only had to resubmit the nominees because the Senate started a new session, not because Congress rejected the nominees outright, but several of the picks were deliberately delayed.

Among the resubmitted nominees was KT McFarland, the former deputy to Michael Flynn. Trump nominated McFarland to serve as the ambassador to Singapore about a month after she left her role on the national security team. Though she initially cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, her nomination was stalled when documents revealed that she knew about Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials during the transition.

Trump also renominated GOP Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to be the ambassador at large for international religious freedom. Brownback, an ultra-conservative governor who is unpopular in his own state, was nominated back in July. His nomination was held up for months by Democrats who took issue with his record on LGBT rights.

Two judicial nominees who received “not qualified” ratings from the American Bar Association, were also resubmitted by Trump. The ABA rated Charles Goodwin as “not qualified” back in October, and the ABA rated Holly Teeter as “not qualified” in November.

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A lawyer representing the author and publisher of the new book on the Trump campaign and administration, “Fire and Fury,” told a lawyer for President Donald Trump in a Monday letter that they will not stop printing the book.

“My clients do not intend to cease publication, no such retraction will occur, and no apology is warranted,” the attorney representing author Michael Wolff and publisher Henry Holt wrote in the letter first obtained by ABC News.

Attorney Elizabeth McNamera wrote that Trump attorney Charles Harder’s cease and desist letter “stopped short of identifying a single statement in the book that is factually false or defamatory.”

The White House began attacking “Fire and Fury” before the book’s official release, describing it as fiction based on excerpts and quotes published before the book was available to the public. A lawyer for Trump then sent a cease and desist letter to Wolff and Henry Holt, informing them that they were “investigating numerous false and/or baseless statements that you have made about Mr. Trump” and demanding that they stop printing the book.

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A day after Oprah Winfrey delivered her speech at the Golden Globes, discussing the #MeToo movement, Ivanka Trump praised the speech in a tweet.

Ivanka Trump’s tweet praising Winfrey is odd given that the speech sparked buzz that Winfrey should run for president in 2020 against President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump’s father. Her praise of Time’s Up Now, a group started by women in the entertainment industry to support women’s equality and women who face sexual misconduct, was also strange given the sexual misconduct claims her father faces. Actress Alyssa Milano pointed this out in a tweet replying to Ivanka Trump.

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White House aide Stephen Miller attacked CNN Monday night after “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper cut off a contentious interview with Miller on Sunday and several outlets reported that Miller had to be escorted from the set.

During a Monday appearance on Fox News with Tucker Carlson, Miller said that CNN’s claims that he was escorted from the set after ignoring requests to leave were “not true.”

Carlson also mentioned to Miller that CNN kept recording Miller’s appearance “without your knowledge.” A CBS News reporter posted a transcript of the exchange between Tapper and Miller after they went off air that shows the two arguing about how fair the interview was.

Miller said Monday night that the transcript leak is “just another example of CNN’s very low journalistic standards.”

“But I was glad to have people hear what I said on camera and off camera, which is that CNN has been extraordinarily biased, extraordinarily unfair to the president, and is not giving their viewers honest information,” Miller said.

Watch part of Miller’s interview with Carlson via Fox News:

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Chris Christie, the outgoing Republican governor of New Jersey, said in an interview published Monday that he would have won the Republican presidential nomination if Donald Trump had not run.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to think to yourself, ‘Wow, if this guy were not in the race, we’d win this thing.’ And I absolutely believe if Trump had not gotten into the race, I think we would have won,” Christie told NJ Advance Media in an extensive interview.

Christie said that his campaign’s polling showed that he was the second choice for 38 percent of Trump voters at one point. He also argued that Trump did not win because of his nationalist rhetoric, but because of his “toughness,” suggesting that he also portrayed to voters that he was tough.

“What won it for him was his toughness and his outsider nature. I don’t think the other stuff won it for him. I don’t think that’s what people were really reacting to. They were reacting to, they wanted someone down there who was no nonsense, wasn’t gonna take any crap and was going to whip Washington into shape,” Christie said. “I think they felt like he was better equipped to do it than I was.”

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended President Donald Trump’s work schedule following a report in Axios that Trump spends the first several hours of his day in his private residence watching television, making calls and tweeting.

“The time in the morning is a mix of residence time and Oval Office time but he always has calls with staff, Hill members, cabinet members and foreign leaders during this time,” Sanders said in a statement to Axios. “The President is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and puts in long hours and long days nearly every day of the week all year long. It has been noted by reporters many times that they wish he would slow down because they sometimes have trouble keeping up with him.”

Axios reported that Trump stays in his residence until about 11 a.m. most days, before he heads to his first meeting, citing unnamed officials. Trump typically spends the time watching cable news and on Twitter, per Axios. The President’s time in his private residence, which has lengthened since the beginning of his term, is marked as “Executive Time” on his official schedule.

Trump does often send tweets early in the morning, some of which are clearly in response to reports on “Fox and Friends” and other networks.

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Lawyers for Donald Trump are debating a strategy for the President ahead of an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, according to several reports out Monday.

Mueller told Trump’s attorneys during a late December meeting that his team will likely seek an interview with the President, the Washington Post reported Monday afternoon. The special counsel’s team could interview Trump with a limited number of questions within the next few weeks, a person close to the President told the Post.

The heads up from Mueller prompted an internal debate within Trump’s legal team on how to avoid a sit-down interview or place limits on an interview, according to the Washington Post.

NBC News reported earlier on Monday that lawyers for  Trump are engaged in initial talks with the FBI about a possible interview with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and the President, citing three people familiar with the matter.

Trump’s lawyers are discussing several potential formats for an interview, such as responding to written questions in place of an in-person interview, and they are debating whether Trump could completely skip an interview, according to NBC News. His attorneys are also looking at the legal standard for when Trump can be interviewed and whether Mueller himself would interview the President, per NBC.

The President’s legal team met with investigators on the special counsel probe in late December, but it was not previously clear what was discussed at that meeting.

Read NBC News’ report here.

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