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 February 2017, President Donald Trump’s bodyguard, a Trump Organization lawyer and a third unidentified man raided the office of the President’s longtime New York doctor Harold Bornstein, taking all of Trump’s medical records without any documentation or permission, according to a Tuesday NBC News report.

Bornstein told NBC that he felt “raped, frightened and sad” when the men, including Trump’s loyal bodyguard Keith Schiller and lawyer Alan Garten, seized the documents.

The raid reportedly occurred soon after Bornstein revealed in an interview that Trump takes medication for hair growth. Bornstein told NBC that prior to the interview he had harbored hopes of being named White House physician, but that an aide called after the story ran to disabuse him of that notion.

Bornstein gained national attention during the 2016 election when he classified Trump’s health as “astonishingly excellent.” Asked about that assessment now, Bornstein was candid: “I like that sentence to be quite honest with you and all the rest of them are either sick or dead,” he said.

Read the full NBC News report here.

Read More →

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) further solidified his status as the anointed one in the speaker succession by signing on for months of joint fundraising with current Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), according to a Monday Washington Post report.

The unusual partnership to secure funds for House races signals the coming campaign to rally Republicans’ support for McCarthy to take over when Ryan resigns in January.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), another contender for the speakership, has reportedly been raising money of his own, though he has said he would back McCarthy.

Read More →

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) revealed that he will not seek reelection in an excerpt from his book published Monday, according to a Tuesday CNN report.

“This is my last term. If I hadn’t admitted that to myself before this summer, a stage 4 cancer diagnosis acts as ungentle persuasion,” he said. “I’m freer than colleagues who will face the voters again. I can speak my mind without fearing the consequences much. And I can vote my conscience without worry.”

McCain’s dire prognosis last summer has reportedly caused whispered worry within the Republican party at the prospect of defending another Senate seat in an unfavorable election environment. Democrats in the Arizona senate blocked Republicans’ recent attempt to ensure that McCain’s seat is kept off the ballot in November if he leaves office.

It is still unclear when McCain’s seat will be up for election, though according to the AP, it would be on this year’s ballot if he leaves office by May 30 under current law.  

Read More →

Michael Cohen was hit with $185,000 in warrants for unpaid taxes on his taxi companies this month, bringing his total debt to the state of New York up to $282,000, according to a Monday Bloomberg report.

Collectively, the money is owed by 16 taxi-medallion holding companies owned by Cohen and his family.

Cohen reportedly claims that the cabs are not owned by him but by Evgeny Friedman, New York’s “Taxi King” who operated hundreds of cabs including Cohen’s. Per Bloomberg, Friedman will go to trial in June for allegedly stealing $5 million in surcharges supposed to fund New York’s public transportation.

Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, is currently under federal investigation for his business practices. The FBI raided his home, office, and hotel room in April looking for information on his taxi cab businesses and on payments made to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Read More →

When Bill Gates brought up the vacant White House science adviser position to President Donald Trump in an Oval Office meeting last month, Trump immediately offered him the position—only to be rebuffed.

“That’s not a good use of my time,” Gates responded, according to an interview he did with health care news site Stat published Monday.

The two have reportedly met three times since the 2016 election, and Gates said he spoke with Trump about topics ranging from global pandemics to vaccinations.

Read More →

The Trump campaign has spent almost $228,000 to pay some of Michael Cohen’s legal fees, according to a Monday ABC report.

According to FEC records, there are reportedly three payments for “legal consulting” listed to McDermott Will and Emery, where Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan, is a partner. As Cohen says he never had a formal role in the Trump campaign, these payments may be campaign finance violations.

Per ABC, it is unclear exactly what legal work the payments funded, as Ryan has represented Cohen in both Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Trump-Russia probe and the hush money case with Stormy Daniels.

Read More →

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has told aides multiple times that women are more emotional than men, four unnamed White House officials told NBC in a Monday report.

According to the NBC report, Kelly’s belittling of women is a common occurrence, as he reportedly bemoaned the criticism former aide Rob Porter was receiving after allegations surfaced of his rampant domestic violence, musing about why his ex-wives couldn’t just “move on.”

In a rebuttal, White House spokespeople reportedly told NBC that Kelly is a “gentleman,” forbidding cursing when “a lady” is present. The spokespeople did not deny the comment on women’s emotions, with one of them agreeing that women are more emotional than men “generally speaking.”

Kelly issued a statement soon after the NBC report was published. “I spend more time with the President than anyone else and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship,” he said. “He always knows where I stand and he and I both know this story is total BS.

“This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes,” he continued.

Read More →

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has called President Donald Trump “an idiot” on multiple occasions, mocking the President’s lack of policy expertise and ignorance of basic government functions, according to a Monday afternoon NBC News report.

Some White House sources denied that Kelly ever used the term. Kelly issued a statement soon after the report was published, calling the story “total BS.”

“This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes,” he said.

Others say that Kelly’s critiques of Trump’s intelligence are standard fare around the White House, particularly surfacing on the topic of immigration. “He doesn’t even understand what DACA is. He’s an idiot,” Kelly reportedly said in a meeting. “We’ve got to save him from himself.”

Kelly also reportedly credited himself for scuttling a bipartisan deal on DACA, claiming he saved the President from making a “hasty deal.”

The two men’s relationship has reportedly been unraveling recently, and the NBC report points to some hallmarks in the deterioration. Trump bristled when Kelly pushed Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of homeland security when Trump favored Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, according to NBC. When it came time to replace H.R. McMaster as national security adviser, Trump reportedly sidestepped Kelly altogether and chose John Bolton, who was not a Kelly pick.

Trump was also angered when Kelly bungled former aide Rob Porter’s firing and Kelly pushed his staff to spread the false timeline that he had ousted Porter less than an hour after he found out about the charges.

A passage from James Comey’s memoir has also reportedly gotten under Trump’s skin, in which Kelly tells Comey that he wanted to quit soon after the former FBI director was fired to avoid working for “dishonorable people.” Kelly has since denied characterizing the President that way.

Per NBC, observers expected Kelly to quit in June at his one-year anniversary, but growing tensions between him and the President may compel him to resign earlier.

Read More →

President Donald Trump resurrected a campaign talking point Monday afternoon, tweeting about a meeting he had with lawmakers in favor of congressional term limits.

Trump first pitched the idea at a Colorado campaign rally in 2016, calling for a congressional amendment to put a six-year maximum on House members and a 12-year limit on senators.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has previously expressed his opposition to term limits, an idea that has been considered by Republicans for years but never garnered enough congressional support to be executed.

Read More →