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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 Wednesday interview on CNN, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said that there are “other administration jobs open” to Kelly Sadler, the recently ousted White House staffer who mocked “dying” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in May.

“Kelly Sadler has been told there are administration jobs that fit with her skill set and her experience and that the rest is really her choice what she would like to do next,” Conway said. 

Conway declined to say why Sadler left her job in the White House, which was first reported on Tuesday.

Sadler made headlines when her comments about McCain’s opposition to then-CIA director nominee Gina Haspel’s confirmation during an internal meeting leaked. Sadler reportedly said that McCain’s stance “doesn’t matter” since he’s “dying anyway.” The White House never denied or disavowed her comments.

Soon after, another inflammatory story came out that Sadler accused her boss, to her face, of being a leaker in front of President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

Watch Conway’s interview on CNN below:

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Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is requesting immunity in exchange for his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, according to a Tuesday CNN report.

In a letter obtained by CNN, McCabe’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, set out the terms to Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), wanting to establish that no information McCabe provided would be used against him in a criminal prosecution.

Per CNN, Grassley has called McCabe to testify next week, though the inspector general’s report has not yet been released. He has reportedly also called former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

In the letter, Bromwich added that if McCabe is not granted immunity, he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and not self-incriminate.

After the Justice Department’s IG concluded that McCabe “lacked candor” in his interactions with internal investigators about giving FBI officials permission to talk about an ongoing investigation of the Clinton Foundation in 2016, the IG reportedly referred McCabe to the U.S. Attorney’s office for possible criminal prosecution. McCabe has maintained his innocence.

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Kayla Moore, former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s wife, lost her challenging bid to oust Sandra Lasseter from the Alabama State Republican Executive Committee, the body that runs the state GOP, according to a Tuesday AL.com report.

Lasseter reportedly received 7,275 votes to Moore’s 5,939.

Moore posted on Facebook to congratulate her opponent.

Per AL.com, it was a bad night all around for those connected to Roy Moore, as his former campaign manager Rich Hobson lost badly in his attempt to dislodge Rep.  Martha Roby (R-AL).

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National Security Council contractor Martese Edwards was arrested on an outstanding murder warrant as he tried to pass through a Secret Service security checkpoint on his way into the White House compound, according to a Tuesday CNN report.

His pass was reportedly for entry to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Per CNN, the Secret Service was notified Monday that Edwards was wanted on a first-degree murder charge in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Details are unknown.

Edwards was reportedly transported to the Washington Metropolitan Police Department station.

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In an intense back-and-forth between White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan at Tuesday’s press briefing, Ryan repeatedly shouted questions about the NFL and police brutality until Sanders was forced to answer.

“Is the President aware that this is about police-involved shootings and not disrespecting the flag?” Ryan asked about football players kneeling, despite Sanders’ attempt to call on another reporter.

When Ryan had captured Sanders’ attention, she asked her full question. “There are black and brown soldiers that fight in the military as well who feel that taking a knee, bringing an attention to police-involved shootings, is something that this White House should deal with,” she said. “Is the President aware that taking the knee is about police-involved shootings?”

As Sanders began to answer, Ryan tried to pull her back to the specific question, earning a sharp rebuke from the press secretary.

I let you rudely interrupt me and your colleague,” Sanders said. “I’m going to ask that you allow me to finish my answer. I would be happy to answer it if you would stop talking long enough to let me do that.”

She went on to say that standing for the national anthem makes America “special and unique” and that the President is not going to “back down” on that stance. 

Watch below: 

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The White House has accused the Philadelphia Eagles of “abandoning their fans” in a statement about the cancellation of the team’s visit with President Donald Trump due to the small number of players who planned to attend.

“Unfortunately, the Eagles offered to send only a tiny handful of representatives, while making clear that the great majority of players would not attend the event, despite planning to be in D.C. today,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “In other words, the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans.”

The statement describes how, when the White House learned that only some of the players would attend, they tried to reconfigure the event but decided to call it off altogether when they learned how small that number was. Reportedly, fewer than 10 team members planned to attend.

The event will be replaced by a “celebration of the American flag” for Eagles fans with musical performances by the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus. 

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In an interview with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke about the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, saying that it is “absolutely necessary” to separate undocumented parents from their children.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the interview:

1.) When asked why, at the very least, infants can’t stay with their parents during the hearing process, Sessions said “well, most are not infants.”

“Most are teenagers, although we do have a number of younger ones now, more than we’ve seen recently,” he continued. “And they are maintained in a very safe environment not by the law enforcement team at Homeland Security, but put with Health and Human Services.”

2.) Sessions admitted that he had never personally visited one of the children’s holding facilities.

“I have not visited them,” he said. “Those are within the ambit of the Homeland Security and the Health and Human Services. But I believe for the most part they’re well taken care of.”

3.) Sessions compared undocumented immigrants coming across the border to convicted American criminals, saying that those who break the law lose their children.

“Every time somebody, Hugh, gets prosecuted in America for a crime, American citizens, and they go to jail, they’re separated from their children,” Sessions said. “We don’t want to do this at all. If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them. We’ve got to get this message out.”

4.) Sessions does not think it’s a “moral right” for refugees and asylum seekers to be allowed access to legal counsel to help them navigate the complicated legal waters of asylum requests.

“No, I don’t think it’s a moral right, Hugh,” he said. “No, no. If you come to the country, you should come through, first, through the port of entry and make a claim of asylum if you think you have a legitimate asylum claim.”

5.) Sessions said he would recommend to President Donald Trump that facilities be built specifically to house immigrant parents and their children, that he would “look into” visiting one of the facilities, and that, if it fits his schedule, he’ll try to go with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who was barred from one of the facilities in Texas on Sunday.

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Fourteen lawyers and law professors sent a letter to the White House on Monday rebutting a memo from President Donald Trump’s lawyers which asserted broad presidential power that would protect Trump from any ramifications in the Russia probe.

“The Office of the President is not a get-out-of-jail free card for lawless behavior,” the lawyers wrote. “Indeed, our country’s Founders made it clear in the Declaration of Independence that they did not believe that even a king had such powers…Our Founders would not have created — and did not create — a Constitution that would permit the President to use his powers to violate the laws for corrupt and self-interested reasons.”

The letter came in response to a New York Times report on Saturday that the Trump legal team sent Mueller a 20-page memo in January arguing that Trump was incapable of obstructing justice in the Russia collusion case because he could “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”

In their Monday letter, the legal experts argued that Trump could not end Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation or pardon himself afterwards without running afoul of the Constitution.

“The federal obstruction laws, with their bar on corruptly-motivated actions, apply whether the President obstructs an investigation through firing officials leading it, shutting down the investigation, ordering the destruction of documents, or dangling or issuing pardons to induce witnesses to impede the investigation,” they wrote.

“Just as the President could not use otherwise lawful firing powers in exchange for a bribe without running afoul of federal bribery laws, he is not free to exempt himself from the application of the obstruction of justice laws,” they added.

The letter is addressed specifically to Trump attorneys Donald McGahn and Emmet Flood and was organized by a group called “Protect Democracy,” a nonpartisan watchdog.

H/T Politico

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National Park Service Chief P. Daniel Smith apologized to his staff on Friday after the Inspector General investigated an allegation that Smith made a crude gesture to mime urinating on the wall of a public hallway in the Interior Department headquarters, according to a Monday Washington Post report.

The IG began the probe in March after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke sent them an anonymous complaint about the incident that allegedly occurred while Smith was telling a story. In the alleged incident, Smith “grabbed his crotch and his penis and acted out as though he was urinating on the wall.” The IG’s office has reportedly completed the report, but will not release it publicly until late June.

In his apology, Smith took pains to classify his behavior as crude, but not sexual harassment.

“I recognize that the story was inappropriate for the workplace, even though it does not rise to the level of harassment,” Smith said. “I am very sorry for my mistake in telling this story and any discomfort it clearly caused.”

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