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

President Donald Trump showed indifference to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday, revealing that he did not watch her contentious press briefing on Thursday and that the prospect of her departure does not ruffle him.

“I don’t think so, but at a certain point everyone sort of has to leave,” Trump told Fox News’ Steve Doocy when asked if Sanders plans to quit. “I’m like a ship, I just keep going. But Sarah loves this job.

“At some point she will leave like everybody leaves,” he continued. “We’ll get somebody else.”

He also said that he did not watch or hear of her press conference Thursday when she got in heated back-and-forths with reporters over immigration, but that the press treats her “very unfairly.”

Watch below:

Read More →

When asked if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would visit the White House, President Donald Trump said that he likely would, complimented his “strong” leadership, and said he wished Americans would “sit up at attention” when he speaks like the North Koreans do for Kim.

“Hey, he is the head of a country and I mean he is the strong head,” Trump said of Kim to Fox News’ Steve Doocy on Friday. “Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

Watch below:

Read More →

During a Monday night debate, ex-convict and former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) upended an already contentious primary by accusing the incumbent he is challenging, Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY), of offering to get him a presidential pardon in exchange for Grimm’s promise to keep out of the race, according to a Thursday Politico report.

Grimm pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges in 2014 and served seven months in prison, being forced to give up his congressional seat.

Donovan acknowledges talking to President Donald Trump about the pardon on Air Force One last summer, but hotly denies that he did it to keep Grimm, who had not yet entered the race, from campaigning. Per Politico, he claims that he raised the issue with Trump at the behest of Guy Molinari, a former Staten Island congressman with ties to Grimm, Donovan, and Trump.

The relationship between Molinari and Donovan has since broken down, as Molinari has thrown his support behind Grimm for the Republican candidacy.

According to Donovan’s account of his meeting with Trump, he did raise the issue but was rebuffed by Trump aides who insisted he go through the proper channels of the DOJ to obtain a pardon. Grimm remembers things differently, claiming that Donovan indicated after meeting with Trump that he would be able to obtain the pardon if Grimm would forego the election.

Per Politico, Donovan currently has Trump’s endorsement as well as the support of House GOP leaders, but is struggling with anemic fundraising totals and Grimm’s enduring popularity in the district.

Democrats are salivating on the sidelines, hoping that the Republican kerfuffle will leave the seat vulnerable to a robust challenge and possible flip come November.

Read More →

More details have come to light about the maneuvering around the United States-North Korea summit, highlighting President Donald Trump’s impulsivity and constant breaks with U.S. foreign relations norms—whether it be trying to move the summit up out of boredom or praising North Korea’s propagandist press.

According to a Thursday Washington Post report, Trump started off his trip in Singapore by expressing his boredom to staffers and asking why they couldn’t just move the fully-planned summit up a day. “We’re here now,” he reportedly said. “Why can’t we just do it?”

He was only talked out of this idea when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders convinced him that he would lose press coverage if the summit were to be changed to what would be Sunday night in America.

Trump reportedly started to hit his groove when the summit began, lavishing praise on North Korea’s state-run propaganda machine that masquerades as a news source, joking that even Fox News isn’t as friendly to him to North Korea’s media is to Kim Jong Un. Per the Washington Post, he jokingly offered a North Korean anchor a spot on a U.S. news show.

He reportedly continued to swoon at North Korea’s displays, awestruck by how “tough” their soldiers were and quipping that they could probably beat up Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired general. He took his admiration a bridge too far, as footage is now circulating of him saluting a North Korean soldier, a gesture seen as a shocking display of deference to a hostile regime.

As he left the summit, he was entranced by the idea of bringing in developers and financiers to get into the North Korean real estate market, according to the Washington Post. “As an example, they have great beaches,” Trump told reporters at a news conference.. “You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean, right? I said, ‘Boy, look at the view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo behind?’ ”

Per the Washington Post, it is unclear if Trump kept these fantasies to himself and the American press, or if he shared them personally with Kim.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sees no problem with Trump’s real estate ambitions. “He is selling condos, that’s what he is doing,” Graham told the Washington Post. “He’s approaching North Korea as a distressed property with a cash-flow problem. Here’s how we can fix it.”

Read More →

The mass exodus from the White House continues as two more staffers make plans to leave the front lines of the Trump administration.

According to a Thursday Wall Street Journal report, Legislative Director Marc Short may leave as soon as this summer, citing the “diminishing returns” of pushing for Trump’s agenda. Kelly Love, White House senior assistant press secretary, is bolting for the energy department, per Bloomberg.

Short reportedly told Chief of Staff John Kelly his intentions before the United States-North Korea summit, citing the preponderance of leaks as an impetus for his departure.

Short has been with the administration since inauguration day after working for Vice President Mike Pence during the campaign. Per the Wall Street Journal, a rumored contender to fill his spot is Shahira Knight, deputy director of the National Economic Council.

Love has likewise been with team Trump for a long time, having handled press for Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump during the campaign. Per Bloomberg, she plans to leave the communications staff on Friday.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reportedly commented on Love’s departure on Thursday. “She has been a valued member of the press team since day one of the administration,” she said. “She will be promoted to the Department of Energy as principal deputy press secretary, allowing her to focus on issues she oversaw here at the White House.”

These departures are the latest in a long line of fleeing staff, forcing the high-turnover administration to take such measures as recruiting for usually highly-coveted positions at a Capitol Hill job fair.

Read More →

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders opened Thursday’s press briefing with an assertion that the DOJ Inspector General’s report about the FBI’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails confirmed President Donald Trump’s suspicions about former FBI Director James Comey — conveniently avoiding the less palatable parts of the report.

“The President was briefed on the Inspector General’s report earlier today, and it has reaffirmed the President’s suspicions about Comey’s conduct and the political bias among some of the members of the FBI,” she said.

Read More →

Minutes after the DOJ Inspector General’s report about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe was released Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey published an op-ed in the New York Times defending his actions during the 2016 election.

“… The inspector general’s team concludes I should have adhered to established norms, which they see as mandating both deference to the attorney general on the public announcement and silence about an investigation so close to an election,” he wrote. “I do not agree with all of the inspector general’s conclusions, but I respect the work of his office and salute its professionalism.”

Along with mounting a defense of his own actions, he praised the part of the report that upholds the same conclusions he and his team came to: that Clinton did not commit a crime and that the FBI’s investigation was not politically motivated.

Read the op-ed here.

Read More →

My fellow Americans, we’ve received rather shocking news. It’s time to stow our emotions and star-spangled banners, to embrace gloomy weather and oversized red buses, to go nuts about a spy who likes weak drinks, to scoop that tea back out of the harbor — we’re British now.

President Donald Trump added to the worldwide respect and prestige he gained at the G-7 summit by musing over dinner that Crimea (which Russia invaded and annexed from Ukraine in 2014) was actually Russian all along, since that’s the language its inhabitants speak.

By that logic, we have some reshuffling to do. As we speak, confusion over “football” is growing, the Hamilton script is undergoing some serious edits, and the Washington Monument has been swapped out for a giant crooked tooth.

We’re not the only ones being subsumed back into Mother England. Its ranks will also be swelled by Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, our new brothers in arms. Good thing Americans and Canadians have been getting on like tea and crumpets lately.

Spain will also grow, as it swallows the entirety of South America, except for Brazil which will skip on over to Portugal. We’ll throw France a bone with Luxembourg.

Donald Trump, known the world over as a foreign policy wunderkind, who has definitely given this arrangement the requisite thought and consideration, is presumably currently heaping MAGA hats and fast food wrappers on a funeral pyre. In keeping with the new world order, later today he’ll meet with NFL players for a group tutorial on “God Save the Queen.”

Read More →

As circulated by North Korean state media, footage shows President Donald Trump saluting a top North Korean military official, a stunning display of respect from the American President to a hostile and oppressive regime.

The salute harkens back to an incident when former President Barack Obama bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia and received widespread GOP criticism, including from then-citizen Trump.

Watch Trump salute below:

Read More →