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

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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On his way out of the White House to attend the G-7 Summit in Canada, President Donald Trump told reporters that ending NAFTA is an option on the table.

“Now, if we’re unable to make a deal, we’ll terminate NAFTA,” Trump said. “We’ll have a better deal. If we’re unable to make a deal, we will be better off.”

“Right now, we are not going to live with the deals the way they are,” he continued. “European Union treats us very unfairly. Canada, very unfairly. Mexico, very unfairly. With that being said, I think we’ll probably very easily make a deal.”

Watch below:

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As President Donald Trump left the White House to travel to the G-7 Summit in Canada, he paused to take reporters’ questions, telling them that Russia should be included in the summit and given a place at the “negotiating table.”

“Russia should be in the meeting, should be a part of it it,” he said. “Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, we have a world to run. And in the G-7—which used to be the G-8—they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in. Because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

He added that he has been Russia’s “biggest nightmare” and that Russian President Vladimir Putin probably wishes that Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election.

View below:

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Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer Keith Davidson filed two lawsuits Thursday: one against Daniels and her lawyer Michael Avenatti for defamation, and one against Michael Cohen for allegedly illegally recording their phone calls, according to a CNN report.

This flurry of legal action comes on the heels of Daniels’ Wednesday lawsuit accusing Davidson of working with Cohen to stifle her story and further the interests of Cohen and President Donald Trump. Davidson denies her claim, saying that he only ever contacted Cohen at Daniels’ direction.

In a document Davidson reportedly filed in answer to Daniels’ (her real name is Stephanie Clifford) lawsuit, he maintained that he only ever tried to further her financial interests, and that “Clifford was clear in her desire that she would say and do whatever necessary in order to prevent” having to return “the $130,000 settlement funds she had received months earlier,” in reference to the hush money provided by Cohen to keep Daniels quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.

Per CNN, Davidson added that Daniels and her manager contacted him “seemingly hundreds of times” to convince Cohen that “various financial opportunities/activities” were not in violation of the nondisclosure agreement she signed.

In his defamation lawsuit against Daniels and Avenatti, Davidson reportedly said that the two made “countless reckless and false statements” against him to the detriment of his “business, professional and personal reputations.”

In his separate claim against Cohen, Davidson reportedly says that Cohen recorded their communication without asking Davidson in violation of California law, which requires that all parties in a recorded telephone conversation give their consent. “Davidson never consented to the recordation of any phone calls he had with Cohen as he believe the calls were confidential,” the claim states.

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt habitually sends out EPA employees to fetch him protein bars, Greek yogurt, cookies, and pour-over coffee, according to a Friday Daily Beast report.

Pruitt reportedly insists on luxury market Dean and DeLuca for his snacks and pour-over coffee rather than that brewed by any other method.

Some unnamed sources told the Daily Beast that the peckish administrator’s demands come “constantly,” while others said they are issued “frequently.”

An EPA spokesperson declined to directly comment on the story. “EPA will not be commenting on anonymous sources who are working to distract Americans from Administrator Pruitt’s accomplishments on regulatory certainty and environmental stewardship,” a spokesperson told the Daily Beast.

The Dean and DeLuca debacle is only the sixth scandal to surface about or in close proximity to Pruitt this week.

In recent days, Pruitt has been accused using his security detail to fetch him lotion and his dry cleaning, of using an EPA aide to try to meet with the CEO of Chick-Fil-A to set up a franchise for his wife to run, has reportedly been asked to lay off eating at the White House mess after racking up a $400 bill in one month, and sent an aide to obtain a used mattress from a Trump hotel. A top Pruitt aide also quit this week, prompting an EPA spokesperson to call the reporter who broke the story “a piece of trash.”

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Anthony Bourdain, chef and Emmy-winning host of “Parts Unknown” on CNN, died Friday morning at the age of 61, according to a CNN report. 

His death has reportedly been ruled a suicide.

“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” CNN said in a Friday morning statement. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”

Bourdain was reportedly working on a new episode of his show in France when he took his life. Per CNN, his friend Eric Ripert found him unresponsive in his hotel room. He reportedly had hanged himself.

According to CNN, he leaves behind a teenage daughter.

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