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Cristina Cabrera

Cristina Cabrera is the social media editor at TPM based in New York. Previously, she worked for Vocativ and interned at USA Today and New York 1 News. She received her B.A at NYU. Follow her on Twitter @crismcabrera

Articles by Cristina

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) joined this weekend the growing chorus of Republicans that have been casting doubt on the legitimacy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted on Friday, “Speaking on behalf of the vast majority of the American people, Republicans in Congress be forewarned: any attempt to remove Bob Mueller will not be tolerated.”

Cornyn retweeted Holder and simply added “You don’t,” suggesting that he may very well be open to the idea of removing the special counsel.

When Bloomberg’s Steven Dennis tweeted on Saturday that “[Cornyn]’s beef is with Holder, not Mueller,” Cornyn responded with “But Mueller needs to clean house of partisans.”

“Will you accept the findings of the Mueller probe as legitimate, @JohnCornyn?” asked Washington Post reporter Greg Sargent.

“Makes sense to me to wait to see what they are first,” Cornyn said.

These tweets from the Senate’s second top Republican reflect the GOP’s efforts to discredit Mueller and his investigation into President Donald Trump’s election campaign, which accelerated this week when the Justice Department released anti-Trump texts from an FBI agent who had been on Mueller’s team.

Republicans pounced on the texts, echoing Trump’s repeated talking points that Mueller was biased.

Republicans then hammered Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with questions about Mueller’s credibility during his House testimony on Wednesday. Rosenstein defended the special counsel, saying that he sees “no good cause” to fire Mueller and that his investigation was “not a witch hunt.”

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The Trump administration has refused to extend the Obamacare signup period, which ended on Friday at midnight.

Health care advocacy groups had expressed concerns about an expected surge of last-minute signups that would potentially crash the website right before the deadline, preventing millions from meeting it and thus going into 2018 without insurance.

Congressional Democrats sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) on Wednesday urging the department to offer a grace period as a safety net.

The administration hadn’t previously indicated whether or not it was going to offer that grace period. Then on Friday night, the official government Health Insurance Marketplace tweeted that there would be no extension.

President Donald Trump and his administration have done everything in their power to sabotage Obamacare, from ending insurance company subsidies to drastically shrinking the budget for enrollment outreach.

Despite these efforts, signup rates were surprisingly high in the beginning of the initial enrollment period, even exceeding those of previous years. However, experts still predict the total number of enrollments will drop below last year’s.

H/t the Hill.

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GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore still has no intention of conceding the race to Democrat Doug Jones after Tuesday’s election.

The Associated Press reports that Moore sent out an email on Friday to his supporters telling them that “this battle is NOT OVER!” and asked them for contributions to his “election integrity fund.” The former judge said his campaign is planning to send “numerous reported cases of voter fraud” to Alabama’s secretary of state, John Merrill.

However, Merrill has already expressed skepticism about Moore’s chances of a surprise victory.

“I know a lot of people would say it’s never over until it’s over, but the margin of victory for Doug Jones at this time looks like a difficult amount of votes to overcome as the remaining votes out that are there to be counted next week begin to be considered at the local level,” the state secretary told CNN on Wednesday.

Moore released a video the day after the election declaring that he wasn’t giving up, arguing that yet-uncounted provisional and military ballots could swing the race in his favor.

Several other Republican leaders have called for Moore to give it up, including President Donald Trump.

Trump, who heartily endorsed Moore during the race, said Friday that the former judge should “certainly” concede to Jones. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said during a Fox interview that it was time to accept that Moore had lost.

Senator-elect Doug Jones said he understands “the frustration a little bit,” but “look, it’s time to move on.”

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The Trump administration has prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from using words like “science-based,” “diversity,” and “transgender” in their official documents for next year’s budget, according to the Washington Post.

Senior CDC budget leader Alison Kelly met with the agency’s policy analysts on Thursday to announce the order. Other forbidden words include “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “fetus,” and “evidence-based.”

The administration suggested alternatives to some of the words. For example, officials can say “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes” instead of saying a recommendation is “science-based” or “evidence-based.” Other words seem banned outright, with no alternatives offered.

Kelly reportedly did not explain the reason for the new restrictions, saying she was just passing along the information.

An unnamed CDC analyst told the Post that everyone’s reaction was “incredulous,” and noted that the move was highly unusual.

“In my experience, we’ve never had any pushback from an ideological standpoint,” said the analyst.

The forbidden words broadly encapsulate the Trump administration’s adverse stances on climate change and LGBT rights, and raises more questions about its approach on diversity.

President Donald Trump has long disregarded the scientific consensus on global warming, calling climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese while rolling back several Obama-era environment protection policies. EPA chief Scott Pruitt has also cast doubts about human impact on the environment, which a majority of scientists agree is the driving force in global warming.

The move also highlights the administration’s attitude toward the LGBT community, particularly transgender people. Trump unsuccessfully attempted to ban all trans soldiers from joining the U.S military, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed a 2014 guidance by former AG Eric Holder that argued trans people were protected from workplace discrimination.

The Post notes that the Department of Health and Human services has removed information on LGBT people on its website and dropped questions on sexual orientation and gender identity in several surveys.

The administration’s push to prevent the CDC from discussing “diversity” comes amid Omarosa Manigault Newman’s highly-publicized resignation from her post as White House senior official. Omarosa told ABC News that it was “very, very challenging” being the only black woman in the mostly-white senior staff, many of whom “had never worked with minorities, didn’t know how to interact with them.”

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Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) said on Saturday that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly should apologize to the nation for his false claims about her speech at a federal building ceremony.

“General Kelly owes the nation an apology,” Wilson tweeted. “When he lied about me, he lied to the American public.”

The Florida Democrat’s biting remark comes about a month after a hostile back-and-forth with Kelly, who claimed Wilson had bragged about getting the funding for a federal building during her speech at the building’s dedication ceremony in 2015.

Wilson slammed Kelly’s comments as a “lie,” and shortly afterwards, the Sun Sentinel backed her up with a video that proved Kelly’s claims were false and that the congresswoman hadn’t mentioned funding at all, in fact.

The entire debacle was sparked by the controversy over President Donald Trump’s phone call to the widow of recently-fallen Sgt. La David T. Johnson in October.

Wilson, a family friend to the Johnsons and who was present for the call, had said Trump didn’t even mention the soldier’s name and told the widow that Johnson “knew what what he was signing up for.”

The widow was left in tears, according to Wilson.

Trump vehemently denied her account of the call multiple times, and Kelly took to the podium during a White House press briefing to berate the Democrat for both going public with the call and for supposedly boasting about the building funds.

Despite the video, the White House doubled down on Kelly’s comments, and Kelly himself told Fox host Laura Ingraham that he has no plans to apologize.

“Never,” Kelly said. “I’ll apologize if I need to. But for something like this, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.”

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Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) isn’t beating around the bush.

The Arizona senator was caught telling Mesa Mayor John Giles on a live mic, “If we become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast” during a Friday night event.

Apparently having zero regrets about his remark, Flake tweeted on Saturday, “No news here. I’ve been saying this to anyone who will listen.”

It’s true that Flake has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, one of very few within the Republican party, which culminated in a withering retirement speech aimed at the party leader on October 24.

“When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say?” he asked. “Mr. President, I rise today to say, enough.”

In response to the speech, the White House said Flake’s retirement is “probably a good move.”

Flake has also spoken out against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces a growing number of accusations alleging sexual assault and misconduct with teenage girls.

“Just to be clear. If the choice is between Roy Moore and a Democrat, I would run to the polling place to vote for the Democrat,” Flake tweeted.

Watch the video of the hot mic moment below:

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Montana congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MT) misled the police when he was being interviewed for bodyslamming a reporter during his election campaign, according to newly-released documents of the investigation.

In his interview with a Gallatin County police sergeant on May 24, Gianforte blamed the incident on Ben Jacobs, the Guardian reporter he assaulted, and claimed that Jacobs had “started interrogating in a very intensive way.”

He then told the sergeant, “I probably shouldn’t do it, but I reached out for his phone…he grabbed my wrist, he spun and we ended up on the floor…so he pulled me down on top of him.”

Gianforte’s campaign had released a statement that day giving the same story.

Gianforte’s version of events contradicted that of Jacobs, who said that the then-candidate had bodyslammed him and broke his glasses in response to a question about Obamacare repeal. Several Fox reporters who were at the scene confirmed Jacobs’ story, and said that the reporter hadn’t been aggressive at all.

Gianforte’s spokesman released a statement to the Associated Press that pushed back against the documents’ revelations, insisting that “no one was misled.”

“Greg took responsibility for his actions and is focused on serving the people of Montana,” said the spokesman.

Questions about Gianforte’s misleading account were met with a shrug from Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert, who said, “It is not a crime per se to lie to the cops.”

“When the police are investigating a case, suspects of crimes will say misleading things, and apparently that’s exactly what happened here on the part of both Mr. Gianforte and his campaign,” Lambert, a Republican, told the Associated Press.

In any case, Gianforte went on to win Montana’s special election the very day after the assault. He apologized to Jacobs and was later sentenced to 40 hours of community service after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault.

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President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to rail against former election opponent Hillary Clinton, calling her “the worst (and biggest) loser of all time.”

Trump was likely attacking Clinton over a Mother Jones interview that was published on Friday, during which she discussed the 2016 election and said that “there are lots of questions about its legitimacy” due to Russian interference and voter suppression.

That likely struck a nerve with the President, who is quick to defend his electoral victory and often lashes out against charges that Russian election meddling got him to the Oval Office.

Trump also tells Clinton to “get on with your life,” though POTUS himself periodically circles back to the election and Clinton, usually to push back on reports of his aides and campaign staffers’ contacts with Russia. He even went as far as suggesting that the Department of Justice investigate his former opponent and the Democrats.

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President Donald Trump announced on Friday evening that he would put on hold the Interior Department’s controversial decision to lift two elephant trophy bans.

“Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts,” he tweeted. “Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued his own statement later on Friday confirming Trump’s announcement.

“President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical,” he said. “As a result, in a manner compliant with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, the issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed.”

The U.S Fish & Wildlife Service announced on November 16 that it was rolling back an Obama-era ban preventing the import of hunted elephants in Zimbabwe. A similar ban had also been lifted for hunted elephants in Zambia.

The decision was met with overwhelming backlash, with both liberals and conservatives slamming the move as needlessly cruel and inhumane. The notorious photos of the President’s sons posing with a dead leopard and a dismembered tail of a elephant from their hunting expeditions didn’t help.

According to the Service, it can allow such imports “only when the killing of the animal will enhance the survival of the species.” African elephants are protected as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, and critics questioned the Interior Department’s defense that allowing hunters to kill more of them would enhance their survival.

On Saturday, Trump seemed to enjoy the positive response to his announcement, re-tweeting Piers Morgan and Greta Van Susteren thanking him for his decision.

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) dropped its fundraising agreement with Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore on Friday.

Politico noted that the NRSC was no longer listed as a part of a joint fundraising committee in the Federal Election Commission filings for Moore’s campaign. The Alabama Republican Party and the Republican National Committee remain listed.

The move came amid Thursday’s bombshell report from the Washington Post detailing an alleged sexual encounter Moore initiated with a 14-year-old girl, along with three other relationships he pursued with girls between the ages of 16 and 18.

Moore has denied the accusations, and several top Alabama Republicans immediately rallied to his defense.

Yet establishment Republicans on the Hill, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have spoken out against Moore – albeit while notably repeating “if it’s true” – following the report.

“If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” said McConnell. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) voiced a similar sentiment, saying “If it is true, I don’t think his candidacy is sustainable.”

A more forceful response came from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who demanded that Moore drop out immediately due to the “deeply disturbing and disqualifying” allegations.

The White House described the charges as a “mere allegation,” but said they believe Moore will “do the right thing and step aside” if the accusations are true.

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