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

The Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted Wednesday after Russian national Mariia Butina was charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government, claiming that it was an FBI set-up to aggravate anti-Russia sentiment in the U.S.

Butina was arrested Sunday and is currently being held without bond ahead of her hearing Wednesday in D.C. federal court.

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Using a rare national security loophole, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein briefed President Donald Trump during an ongoing grand jury case to let Trump choose if he wanted the 12 Russian indictments released before or after the Helsinki summit, according to a Tuesday Bloomberg report.

Trump reportedly chose to have the information released beforehand to give himself leverage going into talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The news was released three days before the summit.

It is unclear why Trump wanted a spotlight on the indictments, as he ended up refusing to disavow Putin for the 12 Russians’ actions during the summit, earning him widespread criticism. Trump sort of walked his comments back Tuesday, saying he’d misspoken, but muddied his position just one sentence later.

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The Democratic National Committee has been trying and failing for months to force documents into White House adviser Jared Kushner’s hands to let him know that he is being served with a lawsuit, according to a Tuesday Bloomberg report.

The DNC sued Kushner back in April for alleged collusion with the Russians to alter the 2016 election. Since then, they have come up against a ridiculous multitude of obstacles in trying to officially deliver the notice to him.

After being rejected from his Manhattan apartment three times and from his Washington residence by the Secret Service, they finally tried to just send the documents in the mail. No dice. No one would sign for them and they got returned.

The committee reportedly asked a judge Tuesday for permission to simply mail the summons and complaint to Kushner in ordinary first class, so the package does not require a signature.

Per Bloomberg, the DNC sued Kushner alongside Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks for interference in the 2016 election.

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Queen Elizabeth wore a 14-karat yellow gold brooch gifted to her by the Obamas on the day President Donald Trump arrived in the UK, according to a Tuesday Hill report.

The Queen’s adorning herself with the vintage piece, also known as the American State Visit brooch, is reportedly being seen by some as a delicate renunciation of the President as protesters stormed London’s streets and an infantile effigy graced the sky.

The Queen may not be the only royal reluctant to embrace the American leader, as Prince Charles and Prince William reportedly refused to see Trump during his visit.

The Obamas enjoyed a cozier relationship with the royal family, being invited to a Windsor Castle lunch with the Queen and Prince Philip, as well as a Kensington Palace dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry during their 2016 visit. Per the Hill, the couple has remained close to Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as their families.

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As President Donald Trump disembarked from Air Force One after his joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he was enraged to find himself amid a maelstrom of criticism with few of his usual standbys in his corner.

Back in the West Wing, staffers were in crisis.

According to a Tuesday Vanity Fair report, the atmosphere was “funereal,” one source saying this was the “nightmare scenario.”

National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly thought the comments unwise, but felt that it would make Trump look weak and silly if he retracted them.

Chief of staff John Kelly had no such qualms. Furious, Kelly reportedly told Trump that the comments would get him in hot water with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and sprang into action, calling around to lawmakers on Capitol Hill to get them to coerce Trump to walk back his statements.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave televised press conferences during which they asserted that the Russians definitely hacked the 2016 election.

According to a Tuesday NBC report, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also used some capital to get Trump to retract his statements. In a three-way Oval Office meeting, they reportedly urged him to “make clarifications” to his remarks from Helsinki.

Trump did an awkward pseudo-retraction on Tuesday, blaming his refusal to disavow Putin for the Russian hacking of the 2016 election on a grammatical error.

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In his preferred black marker, President Donald Trump made handwritten edits to the public statement meant to mitigate his disastrous joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, according to a Tuesday Washington Post report.

Sharp-eyed photographers got shots of the four-page document. In all caps and a misspelling, Trump reminded himself on the first page that “THERE WAS NO COLUSION.”

He also struck a sentence concerning “anyone involved in that meddling to justice.”

Per the Post, other changes include his adding of “for years, relations could not have [illegible] worse,” and striking a paragraph reading “Now I understand there are some in Washington who don’t want diplomacy. This rejection of diplomacy is the same mindset that dragged us into Iraq and Libya.” He also crossed out a line following that said: “Any fool can start a war, but real [illegible] is forging peace.”

The shots of his prepared remarks also allow readers to see where he ad-libbed in his spoken statement. Most notably, he verbally added the following paragraph after asserting that he believes the intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia did hack the 2016 election:

“Could be other people also. A lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all, and people have seen that and they’ve seen that strongly. The House has already come out very strongly on that, a lot of people have come out strongly on that. …”

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In his classic style, President Donald Trump battled criticism Wednesday with the affirmation of an unnamed multitude of people who think he did a great job.

In this case, “so many people” approved of his joint presser with Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite the widespread critiques he’s since received.

Trump has tried to walk back his disastrous performance in Helsinki—when he refused to denounce Putin for the Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. election—with a flimsy excuse that he misspoke.

Trump was forced into the awkward pseudo-retraction of his words after an outpouring of disapproval from even some of his staunchest allies.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asserted Tuesday that there is “indisputable” evidence that Russians hacked the 2016 U.S. election, a position in direct contradiction to the uncertainty President Donald Trump expressed on the subject at his joint presser with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

“Over the last few years, there is the annexation of Crimea, the invasion of eastern Ukraine, not to mention the indisputable evidence that they tried to impact the 2016 election,” McConnell said. “So make no mistake about it, I would say to our friends in Europe, we understand the Russian threat and I think that is a widespread view here in the United States Senate among members of both parties.”

McConnell also emphasized the importance of America’s NATO allies, another quiet repudiation of the President who spend his European trip insulting many of those countries.

“I want them to understand that in this country there are a lot of people in both parties who believe that these alliances painstakingly built in the wake of the end of World War II are important and we want to maintain them,” he said.

He concluded by commenting on measures Congress could take to prevent further Russian election hacking.

“Well, I mean, there’s some possibilities. Sen. Rubio, for example, has got a bill that targets the 2018 elections, the cycle we’re right in now with, as I understand it, potential penalties if the Russians do it again,” he said. “There’s a possibility we might well take up legislation related to this. In the meantime, I think the Russians need to know that there are a lot of us who fully understand what happened in 2016 and it really better not happen again in 2018.”

Watch below:

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In his trademark, soaring rhetoric, a campaign-style President Barack Obama delivered a speech at a Nelson Mandela anniversary event Tuesday that urged faith, tolerance and a turn from cynicism in these “strange and uncertain times.”

Without ever using his name, Obama delivered a repudiation of many tenets of President Donald Trump’s regime, pillorying a politics of fear and hate in favor of one built on inclusion and acceptance.

In vague terms, he painted Trump’s rise. “A politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment began to appear, and that kind of politics is now on the move,” he said. “It’s on the move at a pace that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago.”

Obama alluded to Trump’s disregard of institutions like the FBI. “Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly,” he said. “Whereby elections and some pretense of democracies are maintained, the form of it, but those in power seem to undermine every institution and norm that give democracies meaning.”

He took hits at Trump’s insecurity and treasure trove of insulting nicknames in an aside that prompted knowing laughter from the crowd.

“Don’t you get a sense sometimes that people are so intent on putting people down and propping themselves up, they are small hearted?” he asked. “There must be something they’re just afraid of.”

Obama pivoted to specific issues like the immigration crisis boiling over at the U.S.- Mexico border and Trump’s gleeful shredding of objective truth in favor of political expediency.

“With the debate around immigration, it’s not wrong to insist that national borders matter…laws need to be followed…in our realm newcomers should make an effort to adapt to their new home, and we need to be able to engage with those people who feel that things are not orderly,” Obama said. “But that cannot be an excuse for immigration policy based on race…We can enforce the law while respecting the essential humanity of those expecting a better life.”

“For a mother with a child in her arms, we can recognize that could be someone in my family, that could be my child,” he added.

He infused his “fake news” section with humor.

“We have to believe in objective reality. We have to believe in facts (another thing I didn’t think I’d have to lecture about),” he said with a wry chuckle. “If I say this is a podium and you say it’s an elephant, it’s hard for us to cooperate…I can’t find common ground if someone says climate change is just not happening when almost all the world’s scientists say it is. If you start saying it’s an elaborate hoax, I don’t know where to start.”

“Politicians have always lied—but it used to be if you caught them lying, they’d be like ‘aw man’,” he said to laughter. “Now they just keep on lying!”

He added that telling the truth used to be a “baseline,” not the mark of a great leader.

The former President’s tone became serious as he concluded his nearly 90-minute speech.

“It’s tempting right now, to give in to cynicism,” he said. “To believe that recent shifts in global politics are too powerful to push back against.”

“We have to resist that cynicism because we’ve been through darker times. We’ve been in lower valleys,” he continued.

“Keep believing. Keep marching. Keep building. Keep raising your voice. Every generation has opportunity to remake the world…Now’s a good time to be fired up!”

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) foiled a plan brewing in the Republican caucus to force Democrats into taking a vote on a generally unpopular bill to abolish ICE in the hopes that it would rend asunder the progressive and moderate wings of the party, according to a Monday Politico report.

The plan was concocted by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last week in the hopes that Democrats would back the bill, handing Republicans a cudgel for the midterms, or split the vote and burn some members with the liberal wing of the party.

However, per Politico, Ryan quashed the idea, worrying that the Democrats would abstain from voting as a bloc, making the Republicans look petty and unserious.

Republicans will instead soon hold a vote on a bill introduced by Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) that expresses support for ICE to try to set themselves apart from Democrats on the agency.

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