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

In the nearly seven months since the Minnesota Lynx won the WNBA championship, the team has still received no invitation from the White House, according to a Thursday Washington Post report.

“It’s hard not to think that gender is playing a role here because of the consistency with which men’s teams are being invited and celebrated,” coach Cheryl Reeve told the Washington Post. “I think it reflects the priorities of this particular administration.”

Reeve pointed out that Trump has hosted many men’s teams since taking office, and that in 2017, the women’s winning NCAA team was lumped into an invite with multiple teams, while the men’s winner was in individual talks with the White House.

“It’s disappointing,” Reeve told the Post. “For us, it sort of went with the territory after you win a championship. President Obama sort of spoiled us in terms of establishing this expectation to be recognized. The phone call was one to congratulate, sort of talking about the series, and then as we ended the call it was an invite.

“I’d love to hear what is the reason why championships that have been celebrated since this inception of our league — we’ve been around for 20-plus years — why the sudden change?” Reeve added.

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In yet another ethically dubious move, embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has apparently been planning out an international bucket list, the country stops planned and often determined by lobbyists and friends, according to a Thursday Washington Post report.

One stop of Pruitt’s globetrotting made headlines recently: a $100,000 four-day December excursion which was arranged and guided by his good friend Richard Smotkin, a former lobbyist who won a lucrative contract with the Moroccan government a few months after the trip.

The Washington Post reports that this trip was part of a pattern.

Pruitt reportedly had a February trip planned to Israel, which was cancelled immediately before his departure when news broke about his expensive travel habits. The trip, which included seemingly non-EPA related stops to a settlement on the West Bank and to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was pitched to Pruitt and arranged by major Republican donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Sens. Thomas Carper (D-DE) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have written a letter requesting more information about the trip.

Per the Post, American Australian Council treasurer Matthew Freedman similarly arranged a September trip for Pruitt to Australia, where Pruitt was slated to promote liquified natural gas exports. The trip was also cancelled.

Pruitt’s travel wish list also reportedly included Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Panama, Poland, Japan, India and Canada, and former staff members told the Post that he wanted the trips doled out one per month.

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President Donald Trump’s new outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Washington Post that while many on the White House staff and legal team are still reeling after his revelations about the Stormy Daniels payment Wednesday night, Trump knew that he was planning to drop the bomb.

“He was well aware that at some point when I saw the opportunity, I was going to get this over with,” Giuliani reportedly said on Wednesday.

When asked if he thought this brazen move would end up hurting him, Giuliani laughed. “No, no, no! I’m not going to get fired,” he said to the Washington Post. “But if I do, I do. It wouldn’t be the first time it ever happened. But I don’t think so, no.”

Wednesday night, Giuliani told Fox News host Sean Hannity that President Trump had reimbursed his former personal attorney Michael Cohen the $130,000 he paid Daniels to keep quiet about their alleged affair. Trump had previously denied knowing anything about the payment.

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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.”

Watch below:


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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.

Watch below:

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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.

Watch below:

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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. 

Watch below: 

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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.

Watch below:

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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.

Watch below:

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