Kate_riga_profile2019

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’s 2020 presidential campaign has spent $1.2 million on legal fees so far this year, according to a Sunday Buzzfeed News report.

The numbers come from the most recent FEC filings and include payment to firms Harder LLP and Larocca, Hornik, Rosen, Greenberg & Blaha, both of which are reportedly involved in Trump’s legal battle with Stormy Daniels.

The campaign has also doled out money to Trump-owned enterprises, including $5,500 to the Trump Corporation and $275,000 to Trump properties like the Trump International Hotel in DC and Trump Doral Golf Resort in Florida.

Per Buzzfeed, the campaign raised $8.4 million and spent $3.6 million between April and July. The campaign reportedly has $33.1 million in its warchest. This figure grows significantly when including the two Trump-aligned committees.

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As Defense Secretary Jim Mattis travels throughout Europe, often in close proximity to President Donald Trump, he has stayed mum on the trail of verbal carnage his bombastic boss has left behind him.

According to a Sunday Washington Post report, even when he traveled with Trump to the NATO summit in Brussels, Mattis took great pains to avoid to limelight, declining to join Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton on stage during a press conference.

Mattis reportedly made an anodyne comment about a “good discussion” with the Croatian President and parroted some of Pence’s comments about the importance of American allies.

As Mattis believes in a unified Europe and strong action against Russian aggression, remaining invisible seems his best bet to avoid antagonizing his dissension-despising boss.

Per the Post, in Croatia Mattis spoke about “our shared democratic values” and the importance of “the rules-based international order,” the latter a phrase that Trump dislikes so much that it contributed to his refusal to sign the group statement after the G7 Summit in early June.

Mattis also dismissed characterizations of the NATO summit as contentious, calling it a a “very hearty discussion.”

His most obvious break with the President on his trip came Friday when he reportedly said that Russia has “chosen to come in, and to undermine the democratic fabric of nations that are young in their democratic processes. And whether through false news reporting, or economic strictures they are not seen as helpful, would be the most polite way to describe it.”

As Trump has reportedly cooled on his defense secretary, Mattis’ silence may be as much about self preservation as difference in philosophy.

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Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) shot down the possibility that Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would be impeached, saying on CBS Sunday that the movement lacks sufficient support, and that President Donald Trump could always “fire him in a tweet,” according to a Sunday Hill report.

“Impeach him for what?” Gowdy said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “No.”

“I’m not convinced there is a movement,” he added, referring to a Politico report detailing Republican lawmakers’ move to start drafting impeachment legislation after Rosenstein’s congressional testimony a couple of weeks ago.

“I’ve had my differences with Rod Rosenstein,” Gowdy continued. “I talk to him quite often privately, which again is a lot more constructive than the public hearings we have.”

In his usual style, Gowdy bombastically attacked Rosenstein at his hearing, demanding loudly that he “finish the hell up” Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Gowdy reportedly added that if anyone wants to remove Rosenstein it should be Trump who is free to fire his own appointee.

He finished by asserting his support of the Mueller probe. “I don’t think it’s a witch hunt,” Gowdy said. “Russia attacked this country in 2016. That’s the number one thing we’ve asked Mueller to look at.”

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In an unusual response to the Russian indictments Friday, the White House issued a statement full of bullet points emphasizing that no Americans were charged. The statement conspicuously lacked any condemnation of Russia’s election meddling or a pledge to step up election protections.

The statement reads:

“As Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said today:

o “There is no allegation in this indictment that Americans knew that they were corresponding with Russians.
o There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime.
o There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result.”

Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Friday that 12 Russians have been indicted for hacking into the computers of those involved with the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC, among others, to steal and disseminate damaging information during the campaign.

President Donald Trump, who has known about the pending indictments all week, has made no move to cancel his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in light of the charges.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Friday called on President Donald Trump to back out of his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin after indictments were handed down charging 12 Russian intelligence officials with hacking various computers, including those at the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC, to meddle in the 2016 election.

“These indictments are further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win,” Schumer said in his statement.

“President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections,” Schumer added. “Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent out a statement shortly after, saying that while Trump should still attend the summit, he “must demand and secure a real, concrete and comprehensive agreement that the Russians will cease their ongoing attacks on our democracy.”

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Former Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta reacted Friday to the news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe had led to the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officials for hacking into various computers, including Podesta’s, to meddle in the 2016 election.

“Well George, I think at the heart of all this is that crimes were committed against individual Americans, including myself, but also that crimes were committed against the American democracy,” Podesta told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “And I think that Donald Trump likes to describe this as a witch hunt—well we just found some witches, and they were indicted.”

“This is something people knew had happened all along, that underlying all of this, crimes were committed and that’s why the Mueller investigation has been so important and why it needs to be continued in an unfettered manner,” he continued.

Watch below:

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for “conspiring to interfere in the 2016 presidential election through computer hacking and related offenses” in a press conference on Friday. Read his prepared remarks here:

Today, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned an indictment presented by the Special Counsel’s Office. The indictment charges twelve Russian military officers for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Eleven of the defendants are charged with conspiring to hack into computers, steal documents, and release documents in an effort to interfere with the election.

One of those defendants, and a twelfth Russian officer, are charged with conspiring to infiltrate computers of organizations responsible for administering elections, including state boards of election, secretaries of state, and companies that supply software and other technology used to administer elections.

According to the allegations in the indictment, the defendants worked for two units of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff, known as the GRU. The units engaged in active cyber operations to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. One GRU unit worked to steal information, while another unit worked to disseminate stolen information.

The defendants used two techniques to steal information. First, they used a scam known as “spearphishing,” which involves sending misleading email messages and tricking users into disclosing their passwords and security information. Second, the defendants hacked into computer networks and installed malicious software that allowed them to spy on users and capture keystrokes, take screenshots, and exfiltrate data.

The defendants accessed the email accounts of volunteers and employees of a U.S. presidential campaign, including the campaign chairman, starting in March 2016. They also hacked into the computer networks of a congressional campaign committee and a national political committee. The defendants covertly monitored the computers, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code, and stole emails and other documents.

The conspirators created fictitious online personas, including “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0,” and used them to release thousands of stolen emails and other documents, beginning in June 2016. The defendants falsely claimed that DCLeaks was started by a group of American hackers and that Guccifer 2.0 was a lone Romanian hacker.

In addition to releasing documents directly to the public, the defendants transferred stolen documents to another organization, not named in the indictment, and discussed timing the release of the documents in an attempt to enhance the impact on the election.

In an effort to conceal their connections to Russia, the defendants used a network of computers located around the world, and paid for it using cryptocurrency.

The conspirators corresponded with several Americans through the internet. There is no allegation in the indictment that the Americans knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers.

In a second, related conspiracy, Russian GRU officers hacked the website of a state election board and stole information about 500,000 voters. They also hacked into computers of a company that supplied software used to verify voter registration information; targeted state and local offices responsible for administering the elections; and sent spearphishing emails to people involved in administering elections, with malware attached.

The indictment includes eleven criminal charges and a forfeiture allegation.

Count One charges eleven defendants for conspiring to access computers without authorization, and to cause damage to those computers, in connection with efforts to steal documents and release them in order to interfere with the election.

Counts Two through Nine charge eleven defendants with aggravated identity theft by employing the usernames and passwords of other persons to commit computer fraud.

Count Ten charges the eleven conspirators with money laundering by transferring cryptocurrencies through a web of transactions in order to purchase computer servers, register domains, and make other payments in furtherance of their hacking activities, while trying to conceal their identities and their links to the Russian government.

Count Eleven charges two defendants for a separate conspiracy to access computers without authorization, and to cause damage to those computers, in connection with efforts to infiltrate computers used to conduct elections.

Finally, a forfeiture allegation seeks the forfeiture of property involved in the criminal activity.

There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result.

The Special Counsel’s investigation is ongoing. There will be no comments from the Special Counsel at this time.

Assistant Attorney General John Demers is here with me today because we intend to transition responsibility for this case to our Department’s National Security Division while we await the apprehension of the defendants.

I want to caution you that people who speculate about federal investigations usually do not know all of the relevant facts. We do not try cases on television or in congressional hearings. Most anonymous leaks are not from the government officials who actually conduct investigations.

We follow the rule of law, which means that we follow procedures and reserve judgment. We complete our investigations and evaluate all of the evidence before we reach any conclusion.

In our justice system, everyone who is charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. It should go without saying that people who are not charged with a crime also are presumed innocent.

The indictment was returned today because prosecutors determined that the evidence was sufficient to present these allegations to a federal grand jury. Our analysis is based on the facts, the law, and Department of Justice policies.

I briefed President Trump about these allegations earlier this week. The President is fully aware of today’s actions by the Department.

In my remarks, I have not identified the victims. When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans. Our response must not depend on who was victimized.

The Internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways. Free and fair elections are hard-fought and contentious. There will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide, and conquer us. So long as we are united in our commitment to the values enshrined in the Constitution, they will not succeed.

The partisan warfare fueled by modern technology does not fairly reflect the grace and dignity of the American people.

The blame for election interference belongs to the criminals who committed election interference. We need to work together to hold the perpetrators accountable, and keep moving forward to preserve our values, protect against future interference, and defend America.

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President Donald Trump distanced himself from the blistering interview he gave The Sun, blaming “fake news” for misrepresenting his words in a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May Friday.

“Maybe I’ll go first because I didn’t criticize the Prime Minister, I have a lot of respect for the Prime Minister and unfortunately there was a story that was done which was generally fine but it didn’t put in what I said about the Prime Minister and I said tremendous things,” he said. “Fortunately we tend to record stories now so we have it for your enjoyment if you would like it. It’s called fake news and we solve a lot of problems with the good old recording instrument.”

The Sun also recorded the interview and inserted audio clips into the article.

Later in the press conference, Trump identified Sun journalists in the crowd, saying that he wishes they put the positive things he said about May in the headline. He added that he had apologized to her since he had given her many compliments, and said that she responded “don’t worry, it’s only the press.”

Throughout the press conference Trump praised May effusively, calling her “an incredible woman” doing a “great job.”

Trump went on to call NBC fake news that does “dishonest reporting,” refused to call on CNN’s Jim Acosta saying “CNN’s fake news, I don’t take a question from CNN” in preference of a reporter from “real network” Fox News and joked around with May asking if she has fake news in her country too. May laughed.

Interestingly, the man who heads “real network” Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, also owns the “fake news” Sun.

In the article, Trump criticized May’s handling of Brexit, saying that she would likely “kill” any trade deals between the U.S. and the U.K. because she didn’t take his advice. He also says that Boris Johnson would make a great Prime Minister and that immigration is destroying European culture.

Watch below:

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Former President George W. Bush said Thursday that he is “disturbed” by the current immigration debate that “undermines the goodness of America” and undervalues the significant good immigrants do in America, according to a Thursday CNN report.

“I think it doesn’t recognize the valuable contributions that immigrants make to our society. And it obscures the fact—the rhetoric does—that the system is broken and needs to be fixed,” he said in response to a question at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

He was joined at the event by former President Bill Clinton.

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House GOP leaders are salivating at the prospect of bringing a bill calling for the abolishment of ICE to a floor vote, forcing Democrats on the record over the divisive issue in an attempt to rend the party asunder before the midterms.

According to a Thursday Politico report, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters that the vote on Rep. Mark Pocan’s (D-WI) bill to eliminate the agency would happen before the August recess.

Republicans are also considering forcing a vote on “Medicare for All,” another issue where progressives and moderate Democrats are out of step.

Per Politico, Pocan and his co-sponsors—Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)—say they will opt out of the majority party’s “political stunt” and plan to lead the Democrats in a no vote. However, they are still eager to debate the issue on the House floor.

The bill has caused contention within the Democratic party as well, as members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are livid that they weren’t consulted about the bill in advance, that it hands the GOP a wedge issue when Democrats need a united front and that it distracts from the ongoing crisis of family separations at the border.

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