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

A shouting match erupted on the House floor between Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) on Tuesday over House Chaplain Rev. Patrick Conroy, who was abruptly fired in April and quickly reinstated by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) earlier this month, according to a Tuesday Politico report.

Crowley, a Catholic, proposed launching a special investigation into the mysterious firing of the Jesuit chaplain, who claimed he had never received a complaint about his work before he was pushed to resign by Ryan’s staff.

MacArthur, an Episcopalian, reportedly walked over to the Democratic side of the chamber and accused Crowley of politicizing a non-political issue, saying that he, a Republican, prays with Conroy. Crowley reportedly gestured angrily at the speaker’s seat, saying that Ryan made it a political issue when he fired Conroy in the first place.

According to Politico, the interaction became so heated that Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) came over to intervene, as bystanders were concerned that the argument would become physical.

Newly reinstated Conroy said his first opening prayer on Monday, calling for a spirit of cooperation and problem-solving to infuse the chamber’s work.

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Cliff Sims, a longtime Trump loyalist and special assistant to the President, will reportedly be the latest in a long line of staffers to depart the White House communications department, according to a Tuesday Politico report.

He will move to the State Department to act as a senior advisor to new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, per Politico.

Sims has been on team Trump since the campaign, frequently clashing with Republican-establishment types when he got to the White House, according to Politico. Despite the conflict, Sims has reportedly enjoyed job security in the tumultuous administration due to Trump’s affection for him and perception of him as a loyalist.

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Trump’s outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani tussled with MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Tuesday, telling Politico that Scarborough’s insinuations that he is mentally unfit, falling asleep in meetings, and drinking too much are “extremely insulting.”

“None of that is true,” Giuliani said. “I’m not sleeping now. I’m in Dallas. I’m wide awake. I’ve handled numerous cases including some sensitive cyber matters. I’m a lot more aware and intelligent than Joe has ever been and a lot more accomplished. Joe hasn’t been knighted by the Queen of England. He hasn’t run a U.S. attorney’s office, much less a city that he turned around or went through 9/11.”

On the drinking charge, Giuliani was especially offended.

“I’m insulted,” he told Politico. “There’s no proof of any kind that I take too much alcohol. That’s ridiculous.”

Giuliani has drawn charges of erratic behavior or mental degradation after his bombastic and, at times contradictory, media tour concerning hot-button issues like President Donald Trump’s knowledge of the $130,000 his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) apologized personally for calling Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) decision not to invite President Donald Trump to his funeral “ridiculous” after McCain’s daughter rebuked him on her ABC show, The View.

“I’d like everybody to take a collective breath and chill out on my dad for a second, especially Orrin Hatch,” she said, according to a Tuesday Washington Post report.

Hatch voiced his remorse to the Washington Post soon after. “I agree with the daughter,” he said. “I shouldn’t have said anything yesterday. I agree a hundred percent with her.”

He also reportedly sent McCain a letter of apology.

On Monday, Hatch critiqued McCain for his exclusion of the President, calling Trump a “very good man.”

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Outside Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that though former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has no damning information on the President, Giuliani still feels bad that a “respectable” person like Cohen was put through the indignities of an FBI raid.

“He possesses no incriminating information about the President,” Rudy Giuliani told the Huffington Post on Tuesday. “It’s of no consequence to the President,” he added about any charges Cohen may face.

While Giuliani feels confident that Cohen will be taken down solo, he did reportedly express dismay that prosecutors resorted to a pre-dawn raid to collect his records. “I did that in organized crime cases. I did that in terrorism cases. I did that in murder cases,” Giuliani told the Huffington Post. “I didn’t do that with respectable people.”

The FBI raided Cohen’s office and home in April, seizing documents related to his $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels before the election and his taxi medallion holdings, among other things.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Tuesday at a press conference that he had a “good cup of coffee” with House Chaplain Rev. Patrick Conroy, and that the two men discussed how to improve pastoral services going forward.

Conroy delivered his first opening prayer since rescinding his resignation on Monday, welcoming lawmakers back to Washington and asking God for a spirit of cooperation and problem-solving to infuse the day’s tasks.

He originally handed in his resignation in April after being asked by Ryan’s office, but rescinded it in the uproar that followed.

Watch Ryan’s Tuesday comments below:

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According to journalist Ronan Farrow, one of the reporters who broke last night’s bombshell piece detailing sexual assault accusations against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, some of the victims did not report the abuse at the time because of the power Schneiderman had in the Democratic party.

“This was doubly hard because this was a prominent and powerful figure in Democratic politics,” he said to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. “And many of these women were very connected to Democratic, political players.

“In some cases, friends warned them off of talking because they thought that he had the power to do too much good for the Democratic party,” he added.

In Farrow’s New Yorker piece, four women accuse Schneiderman of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and blackmail.

Watch the CNN interview below:

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) reiterated his threat to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt unless the Justice Department agreed to share certain classified documents with Congress, according to a Monday Politico report.

It is not clear exactly which documents Nunes is after, though they are reportedly related to FISA warrants and FBI surveillance. According to Politico, Sessions and Nunes have not spoken since Nunes made his initial threat this weekend.

The Justice Department previously denied Nunes’ subpoena to obtain the documents, reportedly citing “severe consequences, including potential loss of human lives, damage to relationship with valued international partners, compromise of ongoing criminal investigations and interference with intelligence activities.”

Nunes reportedly dismissed the security concerns, claiming that “they say that every time.”

 

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) thinks that Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) decision to exclude President Donald Trump from his funeral is a bad one and wants him to reconsider, according to a Monday Politico report.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” he reportedly said. “He’s the president of the United States and he’s a very good man. But it’s up to [McCain].”

Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock told Politico later that Hatch had spoken “out of turn about Senator McCain’s status.” He added that Hatch is “pleased” to hear that McCain is doing well and hopes to see his hasty return to the Senate.

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Senior White House officials are trying to turn President Donald Trump against embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging Trump to fire the source of constant embarrassment for the administration, according to a Monday New York Times report.

Pruitt, who is now the subject of 11 federal investigations, has managed to keep Trump’s support through months of damning headlines. However, unnamed officials told the New York Times that that is likely to change in the next few weeks.

Last month’s confirmation of former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as Pruitt’s deputy has reportedly given those in the White House assurance that Wheeler would continue to roll back environmental regulations without Pruitt, paving the way for a pain-free ouster of the current EPA administrator.

 

 

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