Katherine 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 Katherine

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney who is so loyal to his client that he’d rather “jump out of a building” than turn on him, has reportedly endured years of abuse and embarrassment at Trump’s hands.

“Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage,” longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone told the New York Times in a Friday afternoon report.

Through the years, Cohen’s portfolio under Trump has been large, though it contained little legal work. He reportedly laid groundwork for Trump’s business deals, helped with PR and media, and furthered Trump’s political ambitions.

He even dabbled in marriage counseling, reportedly approaching Melania Trump at a Mar-O-Lago fundraiser earlier this year to apologize if his payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election caused her any pain. However, his boundless devotion was rarely met with appreciation.  

Trump reportedly often threatened to fire Cohen when deals fell through, despite the fact that Cohen traveled to find Trump business deals in places as far flung as Eastern Europe and California.

Per the Times, Cohen has been fully committed to Trump’s political ventures for years, far earlier than most observers took any notice. In 2012, Cohen scouted out the presidential field as Trump considered a run, meeting with operatives and offering to partially fund an exploratory website with money raised for his own potential Senate bid. Despite that display of devotion, Cohen was given no official role in Trump’s 2016 campaign, and Trump frequently allowed him to be humiliatingly shut out by campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Now, as Cohen faces the possibility of significant jail time or legal fees and the reality that flipping on Trump could mitigate some of those punishments, the power dynamic between the men has shifted. Regardless, the Times reports that the President has been largely distant since the FBI raids on Cohen’s office and home last week, leaving his old friend isolated.

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Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is raising money for his legal defense fund by using the Washington Post’s recent Pulitzer Prize win for investigative journalism—which the paper won for its reporting on Moore’s alleged past of sexual misconduct.

“The Washington Post just won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for their lies and slander against me and my family,” a fundraising email sent on Friday read. “Meanwhile, I’m being sued for standing up and defending myself and my family from the ruthless lies and attacks.”

The email goes on to ask the recipients to donate money to assist Moore in his “fight against the forces of evil.”

Leigh Corfman filed a defamation suit against Moore in January, after he attempted to discredit her accusations aired during his failed campaign that he sexually touched her when she was 14.

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Retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) lavished praise on the leading Democrat in the race to replace him, earning him a slap on the wrist by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Washington Post reported Thursday evening.

Corker reportedly called former Gov. Phil Bredesen, his close friend, a “a very good mayor, a very good governor, a very good business person,” on Wednesday, raising the ire of leading Republican contender Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and her Washington supporters.

Per the Post, McConnell reprimanded Corker on the Senate floor, telling him that his comments were “unhelpful” and reminding him that Republicans were in their current position because Corker chose to retire. Bredesen only joined the race when Corker opted out.

President Donald Trump reportedly joined the chorus, calling Blackburn personally to assure her that he does not share Corker’s sentiments.

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Former FBI Director James Comey weighed in Thursday afternoon on the criminal referral from the Justice Department’s Inspector General to the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office concerning former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s reported lying to federal investigators.

“Conflicted,” he responded to CNN’s Jake Tapper when asked how he felt hearing the news. “I like him very much as a person, but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn’t do.”

Comey added that he would be a likely participant in the proceedings if prosecutors decide to pursue criminal charges. “Given that the IG’s report reflects interactions that McCabe had with me and other senior executives, I could well be a witness.”

The referral is based on the findings that McCabe lied to either Comey or investigators four times about the disclosure of sensitive material to the press. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March after the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility recommended his dismissal upon receipt of that report.

Watch below:

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Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) glowing profile of President Donald Trump for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2018 has drawn widespread ridicule from those who remember his well-publicized feud with Trump in 2016.

Though the men started out friends, the strain of campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 soon sent their emotions boiling over. Trump tweeted an unflattering picture of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, next to a model shot of his wife, Melania, prompting Cruz to hit back, calling Trump a “sniveling coward” and telling him to “leave Heidi the hell alone.”

Soon after, Trump took aim at Cruz’s family again, insinuating that his father was involved in the assassination of former President John Kennedy. Cruz unloaded at a news conference soon after, calling Trump “utterly amoral,” “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen,” and “a serial philanderer.”

When Trump did clinch the nomination, Cruz drew boos and headlines by refusing to endorse him during his speech at the Republican National Convention, telling listeners to “vote your conscience.”

Cruz has changed his tune under a Trump presidency, touting his relationship with the President and advocating for his agenda on the campaign trail as he heads into a seemingly surprisingly competitive election against Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX).   

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is reportedly threatening Senate Democrats with longer work weeks to keep those up for reelection off the campaign trail if they continue to hold up President Donald Trump’s nominees.

White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short told a group of Republican donors that McConnell plans to use this tactic to specifically pressure red-state Democrats, according to the Washington Examiner. This group reportedly includes vulnerable senators like Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV). Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

Lacking the numbers to block Trump’s picks all together, Democrats have been taking advantage of floor rules to delay the process as long as possible and limit the number of appointees who can be confirmed during Trump’s tenure.  

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Male Democrats in the Senate are reportedly planning to join all the female senators in a push to overhaul Capitol Hill’s harassment policies, though they are currently finding very little support from the Republican men.

The House passed its own bundle of legislation to modernize the policy, but the Senate has dithered in following suit, prompting the bipartisan group of 22 female senators to send a letter demanding action to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), according to Politico.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has been leading the charge to round up the men, though he has reportedly not received any concrete commitments from male Republicans. All of the male Democrats, except Schumer, since he will be receiving the letter, have signed on.

Politico reports that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) does plan to sign the letter, though he stopped short of a definite statement, saying only that changing the policies is “the right thing to do” when asked if he would sign.

The letter is reportedly expected to be released Thursday.

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One hundred and seventy members of Congress signed a resolution calling for the resignation of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Wednesday afternoon.

A group of 131 representatives and 39 senators, all Democrats, enumerated the reasons they are calling for his ouster, ranging from his shrinking of EPA staff to delaying investigations of pollution violations.

Pruitt has been buried in bad press recently, as news of his suspiciously cheap D.C. apartment, overzealous use of secret service sirens, and freehanded raises became public knowledge.

Some Republican lawmakers have also called for his resignation, though none of them signed Wednesday’s resolution.

“Scott Pruitt, as administrator, has misused taxpayer dollars by spending those taxpayer dollars on excessive personal conveniences and unnecessary office enhancements while dramatically cutting budgets and staff for critically important enforcement, research, and implementation activities,” the resolution reads.

“The agency is hemorrhaging staff and experts needed to protect the health, safety, and livelihood of millions of people of the United States, with more than 700 employees of the agency having left or been forced out of the agency during his tenure as administrator.”

The resolution ends with a call for Pruitt’s immediate resignation.

h/t The Hill.

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Police in Pittsburgh are preparing for large-scale riots in the event of President Donald Trump’s firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to local reports Wednesday.

In a memo, the police department said there “is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.” While Trump has publicly complained about Mueller and his investigation, there is no indication that Mueller’s ouster is imminent.

In a statement obtained by TPM, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich stated that potential riot preparation is routine department procedure, adding that they do not have any special insight into Mueller’s future.

“The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police receives information daily that we evaluate and prepare for if the event should occur,” he said. “Often the events we prepare for do not occur.

“However, through an abundance of caution, we attempt to adequately prepare for an appropriate response,” he continued. “In this case, we have not assessed the credibility of the potential for disturbances, and we do not have any knowledge of the President’s decision-making process.”

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