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

Former basketball player Dennis Rodman, clad in a red MAGA hat, succumbed to tears Monday night as he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo of his unwavering belief in North Korea and former President Barack Obama’s dismissal of his message.

“Obama didn’t give me the time of day,” Rodman said. “But that didn’t deter me—I still kept going back.”

He continued, getting increasingly emotional. “When I got back home, I got so many death threats,” he said, gasping through his tears. “And I believe in North Korea…I kept my head up high, brother. I knew things were going to change. I knew it. I was the only one.

“Today is a great day for everybody, Singapore, Tokyo, China. A great day,” he finished, referring to Monday’s United States-North Korea summit. “I’m so happy.”

He also refers to Kim Jong Un as a “big kid” who “loves to have a good time.”

“People know that Kim Jong Un is not a dumb man,” Rodman said. “He is trying to protect his people and trying to protect his honor and everything that has to do with his country.”

Watch below:

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Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump brought in $82 million in outside income while serving as unpaid senior White House advisers last year, according to a Monday Washington Post report.

The figure was outed in financial disclosure forms released Monday.

Trump reportedly made nearly $6 million from Trump businesses like the Trump International Hotel in D.C. and in severance from the Trump Organization. Kushner got a $5 million chunk from a Kushner Companies apartment complex.

Per the Washington Post, ethics experts are concerned that the extraordinary outside cash flow could create intense conflicts of interest.

A spokesperson for Trump and Kushner’s ethics counsel told the Post that they followed the rules set out by the Office of Government Ethics and that their net worth has held steady.

In an interview last month, Kushner’s father Charles reportedly called watchdogs who have criticized his son and daughter-in-law’s business entanglements “jerks” who “can’t get a real job.”

Trump and Kushner aren’t the only White House staffers raking in the millions, however.

According to the disclosures, National security adviser John Bolton pulled in $2.2 million last year from organizations including Fox News, the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, and the Gatestone Institute, an anti-Muslim think tank of which he previously served as chairman.

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Amid the international upheaval after the G-7 summit, an unnamed senior White House official summed up the Trumpian foreign policy doctrine: “We’re America, bitch.”

According to a Monday Atlantic report, a “senior White House official with direct access to the president and his thinking” explained: “Obama apologized to everyone for everything. He felt bad about everything.” The official said that Trump “doesn’t feel like he has to apologize for anything America does.”

Another distillation of Trump’s doctrine came from a senior national security official: “permanent destabilization creates American advantage,” the official said, arguing that leaving everyone else on shaky ground makes America the sole strong power. 

A senior administration official contributed “no friends, no enemies,” a quip that encapsulates Trump’s distaste for permanent alliances in favor of shifting relationships based on his moods and impulses.

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A Fox News host apologized Sunday on the air after referring to the United States-North Korea summit as “a meeting between two dictators.”

“There we have him, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, about to walk down those stairs, stepping foot in Singapore as we await this historic summit with the North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un,” host Abby Huntsman said as she watched footage of Trump disembarking from Air Force One. “This is history we are living regardless of what happens in that meeting between the two dictators.”

Anthony Scaramucci, Huntsman’s guest and Trump’s former White House Communications Director, appeared not to notice Huntsman’s mistake and continued talking.

Huntsman apologized later on the show, saying “I do want to point out that earlier, as you know on live TV sometimes you don’t always say things perfectly, I called both President Trump and Kim Jong Un a dictator, I did not mean to say that. My mistake, so I apologize for that.”

Watch below:

H/T The Hill

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The mood in the White House is increasingly grim as President Donald Trump gains confidence in acting alone and on instinct, sending exhausted aides hunting for escape routes, according to a Sunday New York Times report.

Top staff members are among the burned-out group, with Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly telling visiting senators that the White House is a “miserable place to work.” His deputy Joe Hagin is reportedly looking to vamoose after the North Korea-United States summit.

The already record-high turnover in the Trump White House is widely expected to skyrocket after the 2018 midterms.

While the administration often seems chaotic and flailing from the outside, sources told the New York Times that Trump is enjoying wielding his power unchecked, and isn’t bothered by the exodus that his impulsiveness has sparked.

He reportedly focuses his energy instead on those who are unwaveringly loyal to him, calling his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and old friend David Bossie for advice.

Per the New York Times, he also enjoys gabbing with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, especially about the shortcomings of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In addition, despite the historic summit with North Korea and his myriad international spats, Trump is reportedly still laser-focused on the leaks in his White House, reportedly trying to ferret out leakers by asking aides to rat on one another.

Per the New York Times, at least one senior staffer has been spreading fake stories to find the source of the leaks.

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Former President Barack Obama has secretly held meetings with at least nine possible 2020 Presidential candidates in his Washington D.C. office, according to a Monday Politico report.

He has reportedly met with contenders including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), former Vice President Joe Biden, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D), former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D), former Missouri Senate candidate Jason Kander (D), and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D).

Per Politico, Obama also had a one-on-one with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) when he was out of town, and hosted Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) last year.

The meetings reportedly tend to be long and varied, as the former President weighs in on everything from philosophy and ideology to logistics and messaging.

In his meeting with Sanders, Obama and the Vermont Senator discussed their different visions of the Democratic Party’s future, reportedly debating the gaps between idealism and practicality.

Per Politico, Obama met Warren in April, when they reminisced and discussed the Trump presidency. This was reportedly the second meeting of the two, as the pair had come together in spring 2017 after Warren criticized Obama for accepting large sums in exchange for his speeches and appearances.

Obama and Biden, still very close friends, have been in frequent contact, though Biden is reportedly holding his 2020 decision until after the 2018 midterms.

Patrick is a favorite among Obama and his circle, and has reportedly discussed his future in politics with the former President.

Though Obama has largely kept out of the spotlight during the Trump presidency, he has reportedly been working feverishly on the sidelines as he and his staff set up an endorsement and campaign plan for the fall.

Per Politico, he has also been contacting donors, meeting with former Attorney General Eric Holder about the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and working on a new memoir.   

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Rudy Giuliani is a true Renaissance man.

America’s mayor, most beloved Yankees fan, secret Martha Graham — he wears many hats. This week, he decided to dip a dainty toe into the pools of foreign policy and feminism, showing off his knack for contortion as he repeatedly shoved his foot directly into his mouth.

It’s common knowledge that when navigating diplomacy with North Korea, a dangerous state with a history of unpredictability, it’s best to call in top foreign policy experts with a sense of decorum and discreteness.

Enter Rudy Giuliani.

On Wednesday, Giuliani tried his utmost to piss off Kim Jong Un, a leader known the world over for his serenity and phlegmatism.

“Kim Jong Un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in,” Giuliani bragged about the rescheduled summit at a conference in Israel. He defended his inflammatory statement, saying it’s critical that Kim knows the power and strength of President Huge Hands for the two to have productive negotiations.

There must have been something in the water in Israel, as Giuliani, ever the over-achiever, refused to go dark lest he miss an opportunity to insult half the world’s population.

He seized his chance with aplomb.

On Thursday, Giuliani, at long last, answered the public’s call for his opinion on women, Stormy Daniels in particular. He took up arms to insist that his boss, a famed connoisseur of taste in everything from scorched steak to elongated haberdashery, would never stoop to sleeping with a porn star.   

“I don’t think there’s a slight suspicion it’s true. Excuse me, but when you look at Stormy Daniels. I know Donald Trump. Look at his three wives,” Giuliani said. “Beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance. Stormy Daniels?” he asked, widening his eyes in disbelief.

“I respect all human beings. I have to respect criminals,” he barreled on. “I’m sorry, I don’t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman and as a person and isn’t going to sell her body for sexual exploitation.”

Giuliani, toting a sterling personal record on respecting career women, definitely has the goods to back up his blabbering.

Who can forget how he cherished his second wife of 20 years, journalist and producer Donna Hanover, in the good old days of the early aughts? After carrying on an affair with another woman for over a year (which he kept secret out of respect!) the then-Mayor decided to leave Hanover (respectfully!) via a press conference without telling her first (cue Aretha Franklin).

The mensch topped this act of integrity by fighting Hanover in court for the right to bring his side squeeze to the governor’s mansion, where Hanson lived with their children.

Fast forward to 2018 when Giuliani declined to apologize for his offensive comments, instead opting for the safer route of telling women what to think and what to feel.

“You’re going to tell me that being involved in pornography isn’t demeaning to women? I don’t know — do you have a daughter?” he asked MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson. “I think most decent women would consider pornography demeaning. They used to!”

Professor Giuliani finished his course on Mansplaining Feminism 101 with a bang, telling women who support the porn industry to turn in their feminist credentials.

For doing the most and being good at none of it, Rudy Giuliani is our Duke of the Week.

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House Democrats called Thursday for a criminal investigation into EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, arguing that he has used his office to enrich himself and his family in violation of federal law.

In a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan, six Democrats largely focused on one of the most recent scandals plaguing Pruitt, emails showing that he tried to use an EPA aide to set up a meeting with the CEO of Chick-Fil-A. Pruitt wanted help arranging for his wife to take over a franchise.

“Look, my wife is an entrepreneur herself, I love, she loves, we love Chick-fil-A as a franchise of faith and it’s one of the best in the country and that’s something we were very excited about and we need more of them in Tulsa and we need more of them across the country,” Pruitt said by way of explanation on Thursday. “So anyway, it’s an exciting time.”

The letter also mentions the months-old scandal that Pruitt was living in a Washington apartment partly owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist for a shockingly low price.

“We formally request that the FBI open an investigation into Administrator Scott Pruitt’s conduct to assess whether he broke the law, including criminal statutes prohibiting public corruption,” the letter concludes.

Read the full letter here:

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Update 2:50 PM

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted a video of him talking to President Donald Trump, despite earlier news that their meeting had been temporarily cancelled.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders send a short accompanying note to explain the video. “President Trump and President Macron had a brief pull aside earlier today. They exchanged pleasantries and briefly discussed trade. We expect an additional meeting to take place this afternoon,” she said.

11:59 AM 

The planned bilateral meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump at the G-7 Summit has been at least temporarily canceled, according to a White House pool report.

Trump is reportedly running behind, causing the 11:20 AM meeting to be scrapped. The White House is working to reschedule the one-on-one.

It is unclear if the cancellation is truly due to logistics, or if the recent spat between the two world leaders contributed to the schedule change. Macron has threatened an embarrassing rebuke of Trump as punishment for his tariff threats, saying that the American President could be booted from a declaration of unity by the rest of the leaders to conclude the summit.

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French President Emmanuel Macron threatened to join other world leaders in isolating and rebuking President Donald Trump at the G-7 Summit in Canada Friday, according to a Thursday Washington Post report.

Specifically, Macron reportedly said that Trump would be excluded from a group declaration of unity to conclude the summit, a punishment for Trump’s recent trade threats levied at the United States’ closest allies.

The French president tweeted his intentions. “The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be,” Macron wrote. “Because these 6 countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force.”

Trump shot back.

Trump’s friendly fire has ramped up tensions in anticipation of the summit, promising a showdown when the President comes face to face with a group of world leaders he has repeatedly offended.

His attacks have been widely criticized, as his desired trade punishments would both fracture America’s relationship with its closest allies and hurt Americans economically. In light of this, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) introduced legislation Wednesday forbidding Trump to levy tariffs in the name of national security without congressional approval.  

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