Kate_riga_profile2019

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

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that President Donald Trump’s alleged affairs are none of the American public’s business, as they would have happened before he took office.

“That’s between him, his wife, and his God,” Spicer said during a Wednesday interview with NBC’s “Access Live” when asked if Americans deserve to know about Trump’s alleged affairs. “We are rushing too quick to judge people in society,” he added.

When pressed that Trump gave up his right to keep it private when he became President, Spicer disagreed: “Not if it didn’t happen while he was in office.”

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels have both filed lawsuits in conjunction to their claims of affairs with Trump.

Watch the clip here.

H/T The Hill

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President Donald Trump continued his fusillade of tweets insulting billionaire Charles Koch after Koch critiqued Trump’s tariffs as “unfair” and “ridiculous.”

Trump’s first attack on the libertarian brothers came Tuesday when he called them a “total joke” and dismissed the massive fundraising they’ve done for Republicans of all stripes over the years.

While talking to reporters on Sunday, Koch expanded on some of the displeasure with the Trump administration brought up during the donor meeting last weekend.

“This is ridiculous, we should just get rid of all barriers except on things that will hurt people,” Koch said of Trump’s trade policies, per an ABC report. “Yeah, it’s unfair. It’s unfair to their people,” Koch said of countries hurt by the tariffs.

He added that he has “no idea” if they will trigger a U.S. recession, saying that “it depends on the degree. If it’s severe enough, it could.”

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In a gushing tweet, President Donald Trump thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the “kind action” of sending back the presumed bodies of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War.

Vice President Mike Pence formally received the 55 flag-draped coffins on Wednesday in Hawaii. Now, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency will work to identify the remains, a likely onerous task that will stretch over years, as North Korea only provided a single dog tag for the dozens of bodies.

The return of the remains was part of an agreement reached by Trump and Kim at the Singapore summit in June.

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Tensions heated up between Fox News host Sean Hannity and CNN correspondent Jim Acosta Wednesday night after Hannity criticized Acosta for sharing footage of his treatment at Trump rallies, saying that he deserves it for being part of the “biased media.”

On his prime time show “Hannity,” the host added that Acosta should have been more concerned about the treatment of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the White House Correspondents dinner when she was heckled by comedian Michelle Wolf.

Acosta responded on Twitter.

In a profanity-laden tweet, Hannity fired back.

Earlier this week, Acosta tweeted a video of the crowd at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida, capturing the insults flung and middle fingers jabbed at him from the raucous rally-goers.

When asked about it at Wednesday’s press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to condemn the crowd, saying that “the media holds a responsibility” before citing an old media leak of classified information that has been deemed untrue.

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Retired Ohio State University wrestling coach Russ Hellickson texted two former wrestlers, pushing them to reverse their statements accusing Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) of lying about his ignorance of rampant sexual assault on the team, according to a Wednesday NBC report.

The two wrestlers—Dunyasha Yetts and Mike DiSabato—told NBC that the texts made it clear that Hellickson was acting at the behest of Jordan to shore up support.

Yetts shared screenshots of the June 4 conversation with NBC.

“Your [sic] a special part of my coaching career. I’m sorry you got caught up in the media train,” Hellickson texted. “If you think the story got told wrong about Jim, you could probably write a statement for release that tells your story and corrects what you feel bad about. I can put you in contact with someone who would release it.”

Yetts told NBC that Hellickson called him later that day to reinforce the message.

“He said, ‘I will defend Jimmy until I have to put my hand on a Bible and be asked to tell the truth, then Jimmy will be on his own,’” Yetts said, quoting the phone conversation. “I told him, ‘I’m going to contradict you, coach, because I’m telling the truth.’”

Yetts has said that he, along with many of his teammates, was molested by team doctor Richard Strauss, and that he directly told Jordan about it back when the congressman was the team’s assistant coach.

He also claims that after he turned down Hellickson, Jordan’s defenders started digging into his personal life, using his unrelated criminal record to discredit him. Another former wrestler corroborated the intimidation scheme, telling NBC: “What a world we’re living in when a member of Congress is digging up dirt on sex abuse victims like us,” adding that he preferred to stay anonymous because his family is “terrified” of retribution from Jordan.

DiSabato, the other wrestler who Hellickson contacted, declined to give NBC screenshots of the conversation, but said: “He said Jimmy was telling him he had to make a statement supporting him and he called to tell me why he was going to make it.”

DiSabato, the initial whistleblower who also says he was molested, has video footage of Hellickson discussing the hostile atmosphere which included voyeurs and masturbators lurking at the team’s practice facilities, along with Strauss’ alleged assaults.

“Certainly all my administrators recognized it was an issue for me,” Hellickson says in the footage. “I’m sure that I talked to them on numerous occasions about my discontent with the environment…But nothing ever changed.”

By last count, nine former wrestlers have come forward to assert that Jordan definitely knew about the rampant sexual abuse. Jordan has consistently protested his ignorance.

Strauss committed suicide in 2005 and the university has since opened an investigation into the allegations. Jordan was interviewed as part of the probe in late June.

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In the newest iteration of team Trump’s reaction to President Donald Trump’s incredible tweet calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Trump “is not obstructing, he’s fighting back.”

“It is not an order, it is the President’s opinion,” she added, echoing the earlier reactions from Trump’s personal lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow. “It is ridiculous that all of the corruption and dishonesty that’s gone on with the launching of the witch hunt, the President has watched this process play out and now he wants to see it come to an end.”

Trump’s tweet marks the first time he has directly called on Sessions, who has recused himself, to end the probe.

Watch below:

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For the first time, President Donald Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut down Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe on Wednesday — and Trump’s outside legal team took advantage of the President’s word choice to avoid addressing the tweet on its merits.

According to a Wednesday Washington Post report, Sekulow responded to the tweet: “The President has issued no order or direction to the Department of Justice on this.”

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said more explicitly: “He carefully used the word, ‘should’.”

Sessions has recused himself from the probe, a move which has never ceased to infuriate Trump.

This tweet could be especially notable, as per the New York Times, Mueller is looking at Trump’s tweets for evidence of obstruction of justice.

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President Donald Trump once again waded into the legal woes his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is facing on Wednesday by comparing him to, of all people, infamous mob boss Alphonse ‘Al’ Capone.

Manafort was put in solitary confinement—an arrangement which reportedly included access to laptop, personal bathroom and shower facilities and a separate room to meet with his legal team—for his own safety.

He was only locked up in the first place after his bail was revoked in June when the judge caught wind of his attempts to tamper with witnesses in the case.

Manafort has not yet been convicted of anything, as Wednesday marks the second day in his trial.

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