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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

Jill Abramson, the former New York Times executive editor, excoriated her previous employer for its treatment of reporter Ali Watkins, accusing the paper’s writers of hanging “a 26-year-old-woman out to dry” by airing her personal life in a sordid and professionally damaging way.

According to a Thursday Daily Beast report, Abramson came to the defense of the young reporter who got tangled in a leak investigation concerning her ex-boyfriend, a former staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Abramson said that the Times’ exposé “aired her sex life and conflicts while not probing why she was hired, responsibility of editors, or, most crucially, the value of her journalism (her Carter Page scoop in BuzzFeed actually helped lead to the appointment of Mueller).”

“That story hung a 26-year-old young woman out to dry,” she continued. “It was unimaginable to me what the pain must be like for her.”

She added that the piece was akin to a “steamy romance novel in parts,” and hammered the paper’s nonchalance in its handling of the professional ramifications Watkins would undoubtedly face. “It’s just crucifying,” she said. “How do you then show up for work? I don’t see a good resolution for that.”

Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy sent a statement to TPM in response to Abramson’s critiques: “We have enormous respect for Jill and deeply appreciate her passion and dedication to The Times. Criticism and feedback helps us do better work and we’re always open to it. On these specifics though, we just disagree with Jill.”

Abramson also took issue with what she claims was the Times’ ignorance of local candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s meteoric rise until the huge upset Tuesday night, as well as their participation in the Showtime documentary series “The Fourth Estate” which she called “narcissism”

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After FBI agent Peter Strzok’s 11-hour closed-door congressional testimony Wednesday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to malign “lover” Strzok’s performance based on “most reports” from unnamed people actually privy to the hearing.

The marathon interview concerned anti-Trump text messages exchanged between Strzok and former FBI agent Lisa Page during the 2016 election when the two were involved in an extramarital affair.

Lawmakers’ reactions to the testimony seem to break predictably along party lines.

Per CNN, Democrats generally said that the conversations were intimate and personal, having no effect on the FBI’s investigation into connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. Republicans disagreed, saying that the pair’s personal politics undoubtedly tainted the operation.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok from his team as soon as the text messages came to light; Page had already left.

Per CNN, Strzok wants to testify publicly, to set the record straight on his side of the story.

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In the flurry of speculation following Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement Wednesday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has been speculated to be in the pool of possible candidates — a development he is very pleased about.

“I’m honored to even be considered for that, this of course is the President’s choice, this is going to be a decision that’s up to him and not up to me,” he told Fox News’ Shannon Beam Wednesday evening. “I certainly would not say no if offered that job.”

Watch below:

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Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott rounded up her producers for an unusual meeting last week, warning them to keep their hosts and panelists in line as the news shows shed advertisers due to controversial remarks said on air.

According to a Wednesday Politico report, Scott told them that they would be culpable for any damaging remark said by hosts or guests on the network’s shows: “You are responsible for protecting the talent, protecting the brand,” she said.

Scott reportedly particularly homed in on Fox News’ coverage of the immigration crisis at the border, going so far as to say that all material on immigrant children should be scripted and reviewed beforehand.

Scott tasked her producers with immediately calling out and reigning in hosts when an offensive comment is made on air, directing them to tell the host to walk back the statement via their earpiece.

Though sources told Politico that the meeting is out of the ordinary and that they are not aware of a similar one taking place before, Fox News spokespeople insist that it’s business as usual.

“As the CEO of the network, Suzanne Scott regularly leads executive and editorial meetings and she expects accountability from her senior staff, which is what all good leaders do,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Fox News has been targeted with advertiser boycotts of late, sparked by incidents like host Laura Ingraham comparing children’s immigrant detention facilities to “summer camps,” guest Ann Coulter calling the immigrant children “child actors,” and guest Corey Lewandowski saying “womp, womp” in response to the news that a young child with Down syndrome was wrested from her mother.

The hosts—Steve Hilton and Sandra Smith, respectively—let both Coulter and Lewandowski’s remarks go unchallenged on air.

But as one former producer pointed out to Politico, where does a news channel that thrives off of controversial and politically incorrect comments draw the line?

“The management hired these people knowing full well what they’re doing and then pretend after the fact,” the former producer said. “‘Why would they say these things? How could it possibly happen?’ What do you mean, how could it happen? You hired this person because they say crazy things.”

“What’s inappropriate?” the former producer added. “What’s not?

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New York 14th district Democratic candidate and almost-certain future Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dismissed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) downplaying of her stunning win Tuesday, saying that her victory is part of a “movement.”

“I think that we’re in the middle of a movement in this country,” Ocasio-Cortez said to CNN’s Erin Burnett. “That movement is going to come from the bottom up, that movement is going to come from voters. There are a lot of really exciting races with extremely similar dynamics as mine—it’s not just one district.”

When Burnett listed the ages of the septuagenarians currently leading the Democratic party, Ocasio-Cortez said that it’s time to elect “a new generation of people to Congress.”

“I think that some of the issues we even have today may have to do with some of the calcified structures and relationships,” she said. “And you know, in certain seats where it’s appropriate, I think that a new leaf could actually mean a lot of opportunity for the party and future.”

She also complimented Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), the incumbent whom she defeated Tuesday, saying that she has “profound respect” for him as a public servant and that his concession—playing “Born to Run” on his guitar in dedication to her—was “beautiful,” handled with “grace,” and made her “emotional.”

Pelosi told reporters Wednesday that the upset was a one-off and a product of an extremely liberal district. “They made a choice in one district. So let’s not get yourself carried away as an expert on demographics and the rest of that,”she said.

“The fact that in a very progressive district in New York it went more progressive than … well, Joe Crowley is a progressive, but she’s more left than Joe Crowley, is about that district. It is not to be viewed as something that stands for anything else,” she added.

Watch below:

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The news of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement on top of a few Trump-friendly Supreme Court decisions sent a delighted President Donald Trump into an all-out insult spree, as he gleefully railed against some of his favorite Democratic targets.

Never one to shy away from kicking someone while he’s down, Trump took aim at the recently-dethroned Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) Wednesday night at a rally in Fargo.

“One of my biggest critics, a slovenly man named Joe Crowley, got his ass kicked,” he said.

Crowley lost the Democratic primary Tuesday night to young neophyte candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Sticking with his penchant to mock his political opponents’ physical appearances, Trump then turned to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who this week urged people to keep protesting Trump administration staffers in public spaces.

“Maxine, she’s a beauty,” Trump said at the rally. “She practically was telling people the other day to assault. Can you imagine if I said the things she said?”

Waters has disputed this line, saying that she encouraged peaceful protest, not physical violence. Also, Trump is on tape encouraging and bragging about assaulting women.

Finally, Trump slimed Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), someone he once called a “good woman” and has repeatedly tried to poach from the Democrats to join the Republican Party.

Calling the moderate lawmaker a “liberal Democrat,” he accused her of becoming “Chuck and Nancy’s” stooge when she got to Washington.

“You need a senator who doesn’t just talk like they’re from North Dakota but votes like they’re from North Dakota,” he roared to the audience’s wild applause, as he brought up Heitkamp’s challenger who has promised complete fealty to the President.

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CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin laid a prediction on the table shortly after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, estimating that with President Donald Trump’s replacement pick, abortion will be illegal in much of the country in a year and a half.

“You are going to see 20 states pass laws banning abortion outright … because they know there are now going to be five votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, and abortion will be illegal in a significant part of the United States in 18 months,” he said Wednesday on CNN. “There is just no doubt about that. And that’s why these seats matter so much.”

Watch below:

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said in a statement shortly after the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was announced that he hopes President Donald Trump will “soon” nominate a judge with “credentials, intellect, and commitment to the rule of law” to fill the spot.

Read the full statement here:

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders thanked the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy for his “distinguished service” and “landmark opinions” in a statement on Wednesday:

“Today, we thank Justice Anthony M. Kennedy for his thirty years of distinguished service on the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1987, President Reagan nominated him to the Court, and he was swiftly confirmed without opposition. A Californian—like the President who appointed him—Justice Kennedy is a true man of letters. During his tenure on the Court, he authored landmark opinions in every significant area of constitutional law, most notably on equal protection under the law, the separation of powers, and the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech and religion.

Justice Kennedy has been a tireless voice for individual rights and the Founders’ enduring vision of limited government. His words have left an indelible mark not only on this generation, but on the fabric of American history.”

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Leonard Leo, the outside adviser to President Trump for judicial nominations and the Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society, released a statement minutes after the announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement praising his service and conservative rulings.

“[Kennedy] has cared deeply about the relationship between the Constitution and individual liberty, and played a key role in helping to shape the Supreme Court’s conservative jurisprudence in the areas of campaign finance and the First Amendment, gun rights and the Second Amendment, the separation of powers and federalism, and reasonable restrictions on abortion, such as the partial-birth abortion ban,” Leo said in the statement.

“I thank him for the sacrifices he and his family have made in more than three decades,” he concluded.

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