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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

Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti continued a series of cable news appearances Thursday, saying that President Donald Trump and his band of lawyers “make the Watergate burglars look competent.”

Avenatti also raised the possibility that the monthly retainers Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen were paid as reimbursement for the $130,000 he gave to Daniels before the election were parceled out to avoid detection. 

“If invoices were submitted by Michael Cohen with the understanding that it was not for actual legal services but rather was a ruse for the reimbursement of $130,000, that could constitute fraud, that could constitute money laundering or other crimes,” he said. “It appears what they did was structured the repayment. It appears they structured the repayment in order to avoid detection or otherwise.”

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President Donald Trump’s outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani called Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, an “ambulance chaser” on Thursday, adding that Avenatti and Daniels are pursuing charges against Trump for monetary gain.

Avenatti hit back a few hours later with a tweet.


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Andrew Kirtzman, author of “Rudy Giuliani: Emperor of the City,” said Thursday that Giuliani has been increasingly “behaving more unhinged,” with his recent, more extremist positions steadily erasing his 9/11-era legacy.

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Christine Todd Whitman, EPA administrator under former President George W. Bush, said Thursday that current EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethical breaches and undermining of department morale make him unfit for office.

“You can’t just get up one day and decide that something which was deemed by scientists to be a problem for human health and the environment all of a sudden isn’t anymore,” she said on CNN. 

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In a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) pushed back against Abbott’s request for Farenthold to pay for the special election to replace him.

Abbott asked him to fund the election as a reimbursement to taxpayers for the $84,000 used to settle Farenthold’s 2015 sexual harassment case, one of the catalysts that pushed him out of office in the first place.

“In my opinion, as well as many other county officials I have heard from, a special election was not warranted and should not have been called,” Farenthold said. “However, that was your decision based upon the advice you were given. Since I didn’t call it and don’t think it’s necessary, I shouldn’t be asked to pay for it.”

Farenthold then claimed his innocence, saying that he settled the case out of concern for his constituents, not because he was guilty. He resigned his office before the House Ethics Committee could complete an investigation.

He also expressed his personal hurt that Abbott published the letter requesting Farenthold to fund the special election before speaking to the former representative personally.

“I am also disappointed you chose to release your letter to the media before
talking to me first,” he said. “I know you are an honorable man who is above cheap political shots, bullying and kicking someone while they are down, especially a fellow
Republican. I’ll just chalk it up to bad advice from your staff.”

Farenthold resigned in early April after being mired in scandal about the settlement and general outcry resulting from his habitual sexual harassment, verbal abuse and rage in the workplace.

H/T The Hill

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In an appearance on Fox and Friends Thursday morning, President Donald Trump’s new outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani seemed to confirm that the three Americans currently held captive in North Korea will be released sometime Thursday.

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Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti said on MSNBC that President Donald Trump’s Thursday morning tweets reveal his floundering and that Daniels’ lawsuit will ultimately sink the President before his term is finished.

Wednesday night, Trump’s outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani revealed that Trump had reimbursed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels.

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Summer Zervos, once a contestant on The Apprentice, has subpoenaed old tapes from the show to bolster her defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump, according to a Wednesday New York Times report.

Per the New York Times, the subpoena requests any video or audio recording of Zervos, Trump talking about Zervos, or Trump talking about women “in any sexual or inappropriate manner.”

Trump accused Zervos—in addition to his other accusers—of lying during the 2016 campaign after she spoke out about his alleged sexual assault of her in 2007.

A judge overruled the protestations of one of Trump’s lawyers in March, declaring that Zervos’ lawsuit could proceed since “no one is above the law.” Trump’s legal team has reportedly asked for a stay in the case.  

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On the departure of White House lawyer Ty Cobb, the newest addition to the outside legal team, Rudy Giuliani, said that “it was time for him to go.”

Giuliani added that Cobb’s stepping down is part of a larger shift to a more adversarial legal strategy, according to a Wednesday Washington Post report.

“Jay felt he needed someone that’s more aggressive,” Giuliani told the Washington Post, referring to another of President Donald Trump’s outside lawyers. “That’s not a criticism of Ty, but it’s just about how we’re going to do this.”

For example, Giuliani said that the team plans to demand to see what evidence Special Counsel Robert Mueller has on Trump, and to take a hard line on the boundaries of a potential sit down between the two.

“Some people have talked about a possible 12-hour interview,” Giuliani said reportedly said. “That’s not going to happen, I’ll tell you that. It’d be, max, two to three hours around a narrow set of questions.”

Cobb, who had previously been the White House’s point man for dealing with Mueller, will be replaced by longtime defense attorney Emmet Flood.

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Dr. David Scheiner, former President Barack Obama’s doctor for more than two decades, blames President Donald Trump’s former doctor, Harold Bornstein, for allowing Trump to dictate a letter to him, painting the then-presidential candidate’s health in falsely glowing terms.

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