Kate Riga

Kate Riga is a news writer for Talking Points Memo based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Kate was the political reporter for The Southampton Press. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and a native of Philadelphia.

Articles by Kate

In a push led by White House aide Stephen Miller, the Trump administration is planning to release a proposal in the coming weeks that would drastically limit legal immigrants’ ability to get green cards or citizenship if they have used benefits programs including Obamacare, food stamps and children’s health insurance.

According to a Tuesday NBC report, this plan would not require congressional approval. The proposal is currently being analyzed in the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Reportedly, more than 20 million immigrants could be blocked by the measure. It would most seriously affect immigrants working jobs that do not pay enough to support their families.

Read the full report here.

Read More →

As House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) preemptively wraps up his tenure, he has opened up slightly about his personal befuddlement and frustration under the Trump administration, all undergirded by his conviction that without his presence, things would be much worse.

According to a Tuesday New York Times Magazine feature, Ryan has been shocked from the beginning about the bombastic billionaire who upended his party and threw his beloved institutions into a day-by-day maelstrom of tweets and insults.

“It was shocking to me,” Ryan said of Trump’s upset victory. “I didn’t see it coming. It threw me off.”

Since then, he’s walked a line, to the ire of Trump’s base, who are wary of his establishment chops, and to moderates and Democrats, who feel that he has sold the country down the river in his reluctance to rein in the President.

Ryan reportedly sees himself as successfully balancing an impossible situation.

“I’m very comfortable with the decisions I’ve made,” he told the New York Times Magazine. “I would make them again, do it again the same way.”

“It boomerangs,” Ryan continued, characterizing Trump’s mood when criticized. “He goes in the other direction, so that’s not effective. The pissing match doesn’t work.”

Not only does Ryan see himself as adeptly avoiding poking the bear, he also credits himself with quieting some of Trump’s worst demons.

“I can look myself in the mirror at the end of the day and say I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy,” Ryan said. “I advanced this goal, I advanced this goal, I advanced this goal.”

Despite the back patting, the last frantic year and a half seems to have taken a toll on the speaker’s psyche.

“I deal with conflict constantly,” he said. “I have, strangely, developed a great new respect for temperament,” adding that he “personally liked” President Barack Obama and appreciated his calm, stoic demeanor.

And sometimes, the cracks show in Ryan’s armor.

“I haven’t seen today’s — what did he do now?” he asked when told about the day’s newest Trump tweet.

Read the whole feature here.

Read More →

Invoking communist Russia and Ronald Reagan, National Security Adviser John Bolton insisted that President Donald Trump has been vocal and assertive about Russia’s hacking in 2016 and the continued threat the nation poses to American elections.

“He felt that the administration wasn’t getting the word out to American voters that we were concerned and were determined to protect the integrity of the electoral process and countering Russian and other foreign influence campaigns,” Bolton told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday, giving the President credit for arranging the presence of top security officials at last week’s White House press briefing.

Tapper pushed Bolton, citing Trump’s tweet calling Russian election interference a “hoax.”

Bolton meandered onto communist Russia in the Reagan era by way of explaining that Russia has long been a threat to America, concluding that by “hoax,” Trump meant the theory that he and his campaign conspired with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s tweet seems to indicate otherwise:

Watch part of Bolton’s interview here:

Read More →

Vice President Mike Pence has drastically lowered his moral standard for a President since Bill Clinton was in office, according to a Monday CNN report.

In the late 1990s, he reportedly wrote two columns titled “The Two Schools of Thought on Clinton” and “Why Clinton Must Resign or Be Impeached,” both outlining how Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and subsequent lies about it disqualified him from serving as President.

One was posted on his campaign website and one on his radio show website, and they both ran in Indiana newspapers.

“If you and I fall into bad moral habits, we can harm our families, our employers and our friends,” he wrote, per CNN. “The President of the United States can incinerate the planet.”

He addressed Clinton’s false disavowals of his relationship with Lewinsky.

“Further, the Presidents (sic) repeated lies to the American people in this matter compound the case against him as they demonstrate his failure to protect the institution of the presidency as the ‘inspiring supreme symbol of all that is highest in our American ideals’,” he continued.

“In a day when reckless extramarital sexual activity is manifesting itself in our staggering rates of illegitimacy and divorce, now more than ever, America needs to be able to look to her First Family as role models of all that we have been and can be again.”

He reportedly added that it was Republicans’ responsibility to remove Clinton from office, even if it cost them politically.

Much has changed for Pence in the last two decades, as he now serves a President who is accused of having extramarital affairs with two women and is facing a separate lawsuit for defamation linked to alleged sexual assault. As for his propensity to lie, President Trump averages about 7.6 false claims a day by the Washington Post’s most recent count.

Read More →

President Donald Trump routinely watches his taped rally and debate performances to bask in his own brilliance, rewinding and fast forwarding to his favorite moments, according to an Axios report. 

There is reportedly a TiVo in his dining room stocked with his highlight reel, before which Trump reclines and sprinkles in commentary about his best lines.

“People think it’s easy,” Trump said while watching the old footage, a source told Axios. “I’ve been doing this a long time now and people are used to it, every rally, it’s like, people have said P.T. Barnum. People have said that before. And they think that’s easy, because hey, P.T. Barnum, he does the circus. They don’t realize, it’s a lot of work. It’s not easy.”

One of his favorite moments, a retort he finds so scathing that it will be stored in the annals of history, happened during his debate with Hillary Clinton soon after the Access Hollywood tape leak.

“It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Clinton said.

“Because,” Trump flung back snappily, “you’d be in jail.”

Read More →

White House adviser Jared Kushner used to dabble in journalistic malpractice at the newspaper he owned, forcing the slashing of stories that were unflattering to his friends, according to a Monday Buzzfeed News report.

In 2012, at the offices of the New York Observer, Kushner reportedly used to direct Austin Smith, a software employee who consulted with the paper, to scrub certain stories from the website.

Per Buzzfeed, the erased articles include a 2010 settlement between former New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and a real estate firm concerning rent manipulation to force out tenants, a “10 worst landlords list” piece that included Kushner’s friend and a story detailing the price of an apartment his friend seemed to want out of the press.

Elizabeth Spiers, former editor at the Observer, told Buzzfeed that she was unaware of Kushner’s behavior. “If I had known about it, Jared and I would have had a big problem,” she said. “Jared’s such a coward. Went directly to Austin because he knew I wouldn’t do it.”

This would not be the only time Kushner reportedly used the paper to achieve his own ends, as a Vanity Fair report paints a situation when Kushner allegedly ordered a “hit piece” on a real estate executive with whom Kushner had gotten into an argument.

Read More →

The West Hollywood City Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday night calling for President Donald Trump’s twice-vandalized star to be removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to a Monday USA Today report.

From the mayor of West Hollywood:

Despite the show of enthusiasm, the council has little say in the matter, as the star is reportedly the property of Los Angeles, not West Hollywood, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has consistently refused requests to remove stars of figures including Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey.

This is not the first time Duran has waded into national politics during the Trump tenure, as he awarded Stormy Daniels the key to the city in May.

Read More →

Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren, who boasts an extensive record of controversial comments, attracted attention Monday for her colorful depiction of San Francisco.

Many are … skeptical.

Mediaite gathered some of the best responses.

From a ProPublica reporter:

From a comedian:

That’s another city crossed off Lahren’s list, after she received an icy reception in Minneapolis in May.

Read More →

This weekend, President Donald Trump’s wrath was far-flung. From environmental laws to the press to China, all the usual suspects took heat. But upon closer inspection of his Twitter outrage, three of his insults highlight the President’s insidious tendency to specifically attack the intelligence of black critics he doesn’t like.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In one late night Friday tweet, Trump insulted both basketball legend LeBron James and CNN host Don Lemon.

The tweet was a reaction to James’ interview with Lemon on Monday (re-aired on Friday) about the athlete’s new school, during which James said he would “never sit across from Trump,” adding that he would “sit across from Barack (Obama) though.”

Along with the new, incendiary insults, Trump also leaned on one of his old favorites during a rally in Ohio on Saturday, calling Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) “a seriously low IQ person.”

The comments sparked a retaliatory firestorm, with many calling out the racism of Trump’s words.

From a senior fellow of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center think tank, who served in three Republican administrations:

From a sports journalist at ESPN:

From an NBA player:

Even some of Trump’s allies distanced themselves from his comments.

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation,” said first lady Melania Trump through her spokeswoman, adding that she would be open to visiting James’ new school.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) took on Trump’s age-old insult of Rep. Waters, telling NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday that “And, you know, a lot of things, for instance, you could say about Maxine Waters, but to indicate she’s not a bright person is not one of them. She is very smart and very calculating.”

He added that the GOP is “not anti-black.”

Read More →

After Russians successfully hacked into the United States’ electric utilities, giving them the power to trigger catastrophic blackouts throughout the country, officials are sounding the alarm and prepping punishments in case it happens again.

According to a Sunday Wall Street Journal report, in June, a group of presidential advisers warned that the U.S. should be stockpiling resources to prevent “mass migrations” in the case of a nationwide blackout caused by foreign hackers.

The privately-owned utility companies that run the three big electrical grids in the U.S. have reportedly said that they desperately need help from the federal government and the military to protect the technology.

Per the Wall Street Journal, punishments being discussed for those who hack U.S. utilities include indicting the known attackers, seeking help from other countries to find and arrest them and seizing their assets and sanctions.

Russians have used electricity blackouts as weapons before, against Ukraine in 2015 and 2016.

“We should be thinking about how we sustain society after a huge power outage,” said Terry Boston, a member of the President’s infrastructure council.

Read the rest of the report here.

Read More →