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

White House chief of staff John Kelly and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are trying to run interference in an escalating conflict between House Republicans and the Department of Justice, according to a Wednesday Politico report.

Kelly and Rosenstein reportedly had a call with House leaders on Tuesday, offering a meeting but not promising the documents Republicans, led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), are requesting.

Per Politico, Kelly scolded both sides for letting the quarrel spill into public, and urged them to work together.

It is not clear exactly which documents Nunes is demanding, as much of his request is classified. However, the Department of Justice has refused on the grounds that the material would expose critical sources and endanger lives.

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Vice President Mike Pence declined to call Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe a hoax, but did say he wants to see the investigation finished soon during a Thursday morning appearance on NBC’s Today Show.

“It’s been about a year since this investigation began,” Pence told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “Our administration’s provided over a million documents. We’ve fully cooperated in it. And in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up.”

“I would very respectfully encourage the special counsel and his team to bring their work to completion,” he added.

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A buoyant President Donald Trump greeted the three captives from North Korea Thursday at the Joint Base Andrews tarmac, saying “I think you probably broke the all-time-in-history television rating for three o’clock in the morning.”

Thrilled about the captive transfer and upcoming summit with North Korea, Trump mused aloud over how the international breakthroughs will affect his legacy. “My proudest achievement will be— this is a part of it, but it will be when we denuclearize that entire peninsula,” he said. “This is what people have been waiting for for a long time. Nobody thought we could be on this track in terms of the speed.”

Though the details have not been confirmed, the U.S.-North Korea summit will reportedly likely be held in Singapore in a few week’s time.

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President Donald Trump told his lawyers that he does not know anything about payments to Michael Cohen from Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, according to a Wednesday Time report.

Rudy Giuliani reportedly added that the team is sure that Special Counsel Robert Mueller does not believe that Trump was involved in the payments and he is “chasing rainbows,” veering too far from the mission of the probe and its investigation into the Russia-Trump campaign interactions.

The payments were revealed Tuesday by Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer.

Per Time, Giuliani said that when the news broke, Trump was preoccupied by the release of three captives from North Korea early Thursday morning. “Which is a hell of a lot more important than some stupid claim that is probably two-thirds false from this ambulance-chasing lawyer,” Giuliani reportedly said.

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President Donald Trump called failed Republican West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship Wednesday in an attempt to smooth feathers ruffled by a nasty primary, according to a Politico report.

Trump had intervened in the last few days of the campaign, urging voters away from Blankenship, who he thought could not win a general election against incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Blankenship reportedly credits that tweet with his late loss of momentum and ultimate defeat.

According to Politico, party leaders are worried that Blankenship will use his resentment and deep pockets to damage the primary winner, Patrick Morrisey, when he begins campaigning against Manchin.

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Rachel Crooks, who accused Trump of kissing her without her consent at Trump Tower in 2006, won the Democratic nomination for a seat in the Ohio state legislature Tuesday night.

Crooks, who ran unopposed, previously said that Trump’s vehement denial of her accusation pushed her to throw her hat into the ring.

“It’s liars like you in politics that have prompted me to run for office myself,” she tweeted in February.

Crooks will face Ohio state Rep. Bill Reineke (R) in November.

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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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