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

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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President Donald Trump changed his tune Wednesday, begging Harley-Davidson to keep all of its manufacturing in the United States. His latest comments come on the heels of a Tuesday tweet that threatened the company with taxes “like never before!”

The iconic American brand announced Monday that under pressure from Trump’s new tariffs and the EU’s retaliatory measures, it would be forced to move some of its manufacturing operations overseas.

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The White House has set aside three days at the end of President Donald Trump’s upcoming trip to Brussels and the UK for a potential summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the location of which is rumored to be neutral, historical and convenient Helsinki.

According to a Tuesday Politico report, the Finnish capital is a sufficiently neutral backdrop, as well as one suffused with historical significance: former President Gerald Ford signed the Helsinki Accords with the Soviet Union there, and former President George H. W. Bush met Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev there in the 1990s.

And perhaps most importantly, it’s close enough to get Putin back to Russia in time for the final match of the World Cup.

Per Politico, National Security Adviser John Bolton will be in Moscow this week to talk logistics for the meeting.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a victory lap during a Politco Playbook interview on Wednesday, calling his decision to block President Barack Obama from filling the vacant Supreme Court seat during his tenure as the “single most consequential decision I ever made.”

“I felt very confident that if the shoe was on the other foot, a Democratic Senate would not have confirmed a Republican president’s nominee during an election,” he said. “I was confident that the complaints would be rank hypocrisy knowing full well that they would do the same thing in the middle of an election.”

McConnell touted getting Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on the bench, along with his record rate of getting circuit judges appointed, as one of his most significant accomplishments in the time of Trump.

Overall, he said that this has been “the best year and a half” for those wanting America taken in a “right of center” direction.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden admitted that President Donald Trump’s contentious and oftentimes baffling treatment of American allies makes him feel “guilty” that he doesn’t want to run for President in 2020, according to a Tuesday Washington Post report.

“It makes me feel guilty about not wanting to [run for President],” he told the Post. “But it doesn’t make me want to. I’m not looking to live in the White House, I’ve seen it up close.”

He then walked back his comments. “But all kidding aside, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he added.

Despite his reluctance to reenter the political fray, Biden has serious concerns about Trump’s treatments of our European allies.

“The things that are the most debilitating from the perspective of most of the Europeans is the way he conducts himself when he is with allies,” Biden said. “Several of them have said to me the degree of disrespect shown is debilitating.”

“Several of them have spoken to me about what was referred to as his gratuitous criticism of Merkel, who is in a tough spot already,” he continued. “They’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Biden refers to incidents like the infamous episode at the G-7 Summit when Trump smacked down Starbursts on the table in front of Merkel, snarking “here, Angela. Don’t say I never gave you anything.”

Biden added that the increased isolation from America’s European allies is having detrimental effects back home.

“It lends itself to charlatans who take two isms — nationalism and populism — and use them to open up space to be able to abuse power,” Biden said. “I think that’s what’s going on right now in America.”

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As an experienced top aide quits the National Economic Council, NEC Director Larry Kudlow scrambles to fill the many vacancies on the critical advisory forum.

As first reported Tuesday by the Financial Times, Everett Eissenstat, a seasoned international affairs specialist sitting on both the NEC and the National Security Council, plans to leave the administration in July.

Eissenstat is reportedly leaving to spend more time with his family.

“Everett was a consummate professional and a valued member of the White House staff,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told the Financial Times in a statement. “We will miss his deep expertise, commitment to duty, and skillful management of the National Economic and National Security Council’s international team.”

The loss of expertise is seen as a blow to an administration already struggling to pull talent in a range of policy areas.

Per CNBC, even before Eissenstat’s announcement, a quarter of the 24 seats on the esteemed council were vacant, including the senior advisers on infrastructure and agriculture.

Kudlow, back at work two weeks after suffering a heart attack, has been vetting and interviewing candidates to fill the slots.

He is reportedly considering Dan Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas Research Partners, and his good friend economist Stephen Moore.

“It is important especially to have a fully staffed NEC because of its policy coordination role,” James Pethokoukis, policy analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, told CNBC. “With financial markets so highly tuned to what the White House is saying on trade, making sure the NEC is functioning smoothly is paramount.”

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During a speech to a conservative criminal justice organization in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called critics of the Trump administration’s family separations “the lunatic fringe” and joked about the policy to laughter and applause, according to a Tuesday Hill report.

“The rhetoric we hear from the other side on this issue, as on many others, has become radicalized,” Sessions said. “We hear views on television today that are on the lunatic fringe, frankly.”

“And what is perhaps more galling is the hypocrisy,” he continued. “These same people live in gated communities, many of them, and are featured at events where you have to have an ID to even come in and hear them speak. They like a little security around themselves.”

“And if you try to scale the fence, believe me, they’d be even too happy to have you arrested and separated from your children,” he said. The room erupted into laughter and cheers.

“They want borders in their lives, but not in yours,” he concluded.

Watch below:

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President Trump called the Supreme Court’s upholding of his travel ban “profound vindication” after “months of hysterical commentary” from Democrats and the media who refuse to “secure our border.”

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for the American people and the Constitution,” he said in a statement released by the White House. “In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country.”

“As long as I am President, I will defend the sovereignty, safety, and security of the American People, and fight for an immigration system that serves the national interests of the United States and its citizens,” the statement continues. “Our country will always be safe, secure, and protected on my watch.”

Read the statement in full here:

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Neal Katyal, former deputy solicitor general in the Obama administration and the primary architect of arguments against President Trump’s travel ban, called for hope and congressional action in the face of the Supreme Court’s ruling Tuesday.

“Over the past year, a suit brought by ordinary Americans has made its way through the federal courts, and at every step the judiciary forced the White House to amend their travel bans to bring them more in line with our Constitution,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter. “While we continue to believe that this third version fails that test, there is no question that by striking down the first two travel bans, the judiciary forced a recalcitrant administration to at least give its order the veil of constitutionality.”

“The final chapter has not yet been written, and the President would be mistaken to interpret today’s decision as a greenlight to continue his unwise and un-American policies,” he continued. “The travel ban is atrocious policy and makes us less safe and undermines our American ideals.”

“Now that the Court has upheld it, it is up to Congress to do its job and reverse President Trump’s unilateral and unwise travel ban,” he said.

Read the full statement here:

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