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

At least one advertiser—and possibly more—has dropped Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s show, “The Ingraham Angle,” after her comment Monday comparing immigration detention centers to summer camps, according to a Thursday Politico report.

IAC, a media and internet company that is reportedly Ingraham’s second biggest advertiser, has pulled commercials for Angie’s List and Home Advisor from the show’s block.

A Fox News spokesperson told Politico that the boycott is not affecting business. “There’s been no impact on our business, and new advertisers continue to opt in for our powerful prime-time lineup,” the spokesperson said.

According to research analysts, the ad time on Ingraham’s show has dropped “significantly” since Monday’s show during which she made the remark, leading them to conclude that other advertisers have pulled out as well. Many advertisers declined to discuss their ad buys with Politico.

Ingraham tried to walk her comments back at the end of the show Monday: “Apparently, there are a lot of people very upset because we referred to some of the detention facilities tonight as essentially like summer camps,” she said. “The San Diego Union-Tribune today described the facilities as essentially like what you would expect at a boarding school. So I will stick to there are some of them like boarding schools.”

She omitted details in the story referring to round-the-clock surveillance and armed doors that blare alarms if a child tries to escape.

David Hogg, a Parkland shooting survivor who successfully pushed Ingraham’s advertisers to boycott when she previously made offensive comments about him, tweeted at her “we meet again” and a list of her advertisers.

Despite the criticism and advertising drops her comment garnered, Fox News is standing by the host.

“Laura Ingraham’s very personal, on-the-ground commitment to the plight of impoverished and abandoned children — specifically in Guatemala — speaks for itself,” a Fox News spokesperson told Politico in reference to her adopted child. “So, too, does her strong belief in a common-sense, legal immigration system, which will continue to be a focus of her show. Fox News will never tolerate or give in to attempts to silence diverse viewpoints by agenda-driven intimidation efforts.”

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If his government email record is to be believed, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has sent a grand total of one email to anyone outside of the EPA in his first 10 months on the job, causing watchdogs concern as they try to figure out how else he is communicating and if he’s covering his tracks.

According to a Friday Politico report, EPA spokespeople maintain that Pruitt prefers to conduct business in person or over the phone, accounting for the microscopic body of correspondence.

Outside groups counter that it is highly unlikely that someone who meets as frequently with political allies and industry bigwigs as Pruitt would have sent only one email to those external contacts. Some reportedly point out that he also has a history of using private email while serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general and of keeping ethically dubious meetings off the public record.

In addition, his call log is suspiciously empty for the head of a large agency who supposedly conducts the bulk of his business via phone.

Per Politico, the Sierra Club has filed Freedom of Information Act requests and follow-up lawsuits to get records of Pruitt’s correspondence, and is now pushing the EPA to search Pruitt’s private email accounts to ensure that he never used it for government work. If the EPA ignores the request, the Sierra Club could go to a judge to force the review.

Through its efforts, the Sierra Club obtained some text messages, suggesting that much of Pruitt’s contact with outsiders may have been conducted that way. Those records are reportedly much harder to obtain.

Previous reports have catalogued Pruitt’s unscrupulous contact with lobbyists and industry players who have done everything from set up his international trips to try to finagle his wife a job, making the communication void even more suspect.

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In a Thursday tweet, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said that DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen privately told lawmakers that family separations at the border may continue.

Schiff’s statement comes a day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order stopping his administration’s policy of family separations, instead opting to have the children detained with their parents as the parents await criminal prosecution.

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First lady Melania Trump made an unannounced visit to the US-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas on Thursday, a day after her husband signed an executive order to alter his family separation policy, reportedly at least in part due to her prompting.

At an immigration detention center for minors, Trump made brief comments about her goals for the trip.

“I’m here to learn about your facility which I know you house children on a long-term basis,” she said. “And I would also like to ask you how I can help these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible.”

She thanked the workers for their compassion, and said that she was looking forward to seeing the children.

She first asked how many children were in the shelter and how often they were allowed to speak to their families. She was told that there were 55 children there, and that they are allowed to speak on the phone with their families twice a week.

She also asked what the children’s physical and mental states generally are when they arrive. A clinician told her that they often enter very distraught, but calm down when they adjust to their surroundings.

When she asked how long the children stay without their parents, she was told 42-45 days. “That’s great,” she said.

She wanted to clarify that children that arrive truly unaccompanied are between 12 and 17 and that they know where they are. “They’re not young young?” she asked.

After the roundtable, she went on a tour of the facility with the workers.

Soon after, President Donald Trump commented on her trip at his Cabinet meeting. “My wife, first lady, is down now at the border because it really bothered her to be looking at this and seeing it, as it bothered me, as it bothered everybody at this table,” he said.

Melania Trump’s spokeswoman sent a statement upon her arrival.

“First lady Melania Trump has arrived in Texas to take part in briefings and tours at a nonprofit social services center for children who have entered the United States illegally and a customs and border patrol processing center,” she said. “Her goals are to thank law enforcement and social services providers for their hard work, lend support and hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efforts to reunite children with their families.”

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Patrons at a Mexican restaurant in D.C. recognized Trump aide Stephen Miller and took him to task on Sunday for his hand in the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, according to a Wednesday New York Post report.

One kept his message simple, yelling “fascist!”

Another invoked sarcasm: “Hey look guys, whoever thought we’d be in a restaurant with a real-life fascist begging [for] money for new cages?”

Miller reportedly did not respond but moved away from the hecklers inside the restaurant.

The altercation occurred two days before Miller’s coworker, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, was confronted by protesters at another D.C. Mexican joint, though she left the restaurant after enduring about 10 minutes of cries of “shame!” and “have you listened to it? Do you hear the babies crying?”  

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Many big data and tech firms have quietly cashed in on contracts with ICE, even as some of them publicly condemn the agency’s practices, including the border family separations, according to a Wednesday NBC News report.

These companies reportedly include Palantir, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Helwett Packard Enterprise and Motorola Solutions.

Palantir has a $39 million contract with ICE started in 2015 that entitles ICE to use its database that reportedly tracks immigrants’ records.

Microsoft’s contract gives ICE access to its extensive facial recognition technology, though the company distanced itself from the Trump administration’s family separations.

“As a company, Microsoft is dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border,” Microsoft said in a statement per NBC. “Family unification has been a fundamental tenet of American policy and law since the end of World War II.”

Thomson Reuters Special Services reportedly has a $6.8 million contract with ICE to supply “data to ICE in support of its work on active criminal investigations with the explicit purpose to focus resources on priority cases involving threats to public safety and/or national security,” per a Thomson Reuters spokesperson to NBC.

Since 2015, Hewlett Packard Enterprise has maintained a $75 million contract with Border Patrol (the umbrella above ICE) for management of BP’s network operations.

Per NBC, Motorola has a $13.3 million contract with ICE for a mysterious “tactical communications program.”

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Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) private plane problems continue as a conservative watchdog group requests a Senate Ethics Committee probe into the income she has reported from her husband’s private plane, according to a Thursday Politico report.

The Republican watchdog, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), is claiming that McCaskill reported between $0 and $201 of income from her husband’s plane, which her office previously said was chartered for outside use.

FACT claims that the plane has traveled 40,000 miles in the last year, which would equate to “more than $200 in income for the aircraft owner,” which McCaskill did not report. Per Politico, McCaskill shot back that the disclosure forms are asking for total net profits not gross revenues, and since the plane long operated at a loss, it has not made enough money to surpass that deficit.

Republicans are trying to use the plane debacle to wound McCaskill in her reelection campaign against GOP challenger Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

“Hawley and his friends are desperate to distract from the fact that he supports ripping health care protections away from 2.5 million Missourians and refuses to stand up for Missouri farmers in the President’s trade war,” a McCaskill spokesperson said.

McCaskill’s plane came back into public consciousness when she used it as an additional method of transportation on her RV campaign tour.

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has spent a whopping $4.6 million on personal security measures, about $1.1 million of which he spent in the single month elapsed since his last security disclosure, according to a Wednesday Intercept report.

The records, obtained by the Intercept under a Freedom of Information Act request, detail April purchases like $2,749.62 on “tactical pants” and “tactical polos.” This is part of the $24,115 the agency has spent for various items of body armor.

The EPA also spent $150,900 on leasing vehicles, including a $10,200 one-year lease on a Chevy Suburban that’s equipped with bullet-resistant seats.

Over a dozen federal investigations have been opened into Pruitt’s many alleged ethical misdeeds.

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As House Republicans wrestled Wednesday over what to do about their various immigration bills, frustration boiled over when House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) confronted each other furiously on the House floor, per a Thursday Politico report.

The two were reportedly gesticulating wildly at each other as Meadows cried, “I don’t care anymore,” saying “I’m done” to other people present. According to Politico, at the time, Meadows was involved in talks about the conservative and moderate immigration bills, both of which require his support.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) reportedly joined the fray, prompting Meadows to exclaim (politely) “I’ll sign the dang discharge petition. I don’t care anymore.”

Curbelo led the moderate Republican effort to, among other things, finally bring a floor vote on DACA.

According to Politico, it is unclear exactly what Meadows’ anger stemmed from, but the general consensus is that Meadows felt jerked around by GOP leadership, who felt jerked around by Meadows and his powerful caucus.

Meadows spoke to reporters after the altercation. “Oh, no. I was passionate. I was not yelling,” he said. “I think at this particular point, the compromise bill is not ready for prime time. There are things that are supposed to be in the compromise bill that are not in the compromise bill that we had all agreed to.” He declined to expand further.

As Politico points out, Meadows and his caucus wield enormous power among House Republicans and could easily kill any immigration bill package that comes to the floor. How the bills fare Thursday will be a direct reflection on the power of President Donald Trump to unite his fractured party.

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Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s love life is becoming a real thorn in Republican leadership’s side. He has thrown himself into a quiet Louisiana House race to support a fringe Republican challenger against the GOP establishment-approved incumbent—because his girlfriend told him to.

According to a Wednesday Politico report, Giuliani’s new girlfriend, Jennifer LeBlanc, is working on the campaign of Josh Guillory, an outside-shot challenger to 3rd District Rep. Clay Higgins, a staunch Trump acolyte who gained infamy from his viral and often offensive YouTube videos.

Giuliani’s support for the underdog has reportedly thoroughly irritated House leadership and the Louisiana GOP, all of whom expected Higgins to sail in a district that gives Trump a 64 percent approval rating.

“We have a National Enquirer-type situation going on down in Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District,” state Attorney General Jeff Landry told Politico. He added that Giuliani’s involvement is “ridiculous.”

Party leaders are reportedly worried that Giuliani’s support could be read as indirectly giving Trump’s blessing to a candidate eschewed by the big names—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) are already actively fundraising for Higgins. Per Politico, Scalise has called in the big guns, trying to establish Vice President Mike Pence as a Higgins supporter.

“I’m unfazed,” Higgins said in a statement to Politico. “My focus is on serving and continuing to deliver wins for Louisiana and America. I stand with President Trump and will continue to help him advance the conservative agenda in Congress.”

He added: “I’m not concerned with who Rudy Giuliani is dating.”

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