Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously associate editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will meet with President Trump Wednesday night to discuss the White House’s fall legislative priorities, a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed to TPM.

The White House confirmed in an email to reporters at 1:15 p.m. that “the President will host a dinner with the House and Senate Minority Leaders at 7PM.”

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman first reported the meeting, saying that two people briefed on it had told her it would focus on the DREAM Act and shoring up health insurance markets, among other things.

The White House official who spoke to TPM confirmed that the meeting would focus on the Trump administration’s legislative priorities, but did not confirm the specifics, nor any others who would be in attendance.

According to multiple reports on the upcoming meeting, the Democratic leaders will make protections for DACA recipients — those covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a shield from deportation that President Trump ended on Sept. 5, with the first permits expiring in six months — a priority.

CNBC’s Eamon Javers said he was told the meeting would include Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Chief of Staff John Kelly, in addition to Trump, Schumer and Pelosi.

BuzzFeed’s Kate Nocera said one person “familiar with the invite” told her it would be a follow-up on the meeting between Trump, Schumer, Pelosi and Republican leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) last week.

The two Democratic leaders shocked the Beltway with that meeting by convincing Trump to agree to a government funding bill, hurricane relief and a short-term debt ceiling raise, all as McConnell and Ryan sat beside them in the Oval Office. The debt ceiling raise was especially sour news for Republicans, as it gave Democrats unexpected legislative leverage.

This post has been updated.

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Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she was “stunned” and “dumbfounded” by then-FBI Director James Comey’s letter regarding her emails late in the 2016 election.

Comey, who had led the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, told Congress 11 days before the election that “the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”

The news was quickly leaked, and Comey only announced that no new relevant information had been turned up on Nov. 6, two days before the election. Clinton said “the unprecedented action of the FBI director” was the most significant single factor in her loss to Donald Trump two days later.

“If we put all those factors you just laid out in a pie chart,” “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie asked, after Clinton listed a series of factors she thought played into the electoral outcome, “what’s the biggest cause? What part is Comey? What part is Russia? What part is you? “

“I think the determining factor was the intervention by Comey on Oct. 28,” Clinton said. “It stopped my momentum. It drove voters from me.”

“I was stunned, to be honest,” she added. “I didn’t know what to think about it, because I knew there was nothing there. We had trouble finding out what was really going on. I was just dumbfounded. I thought, ‘What is he doing?’ The investigation was closed. I know there’s no new information. I’d certainly given anything of any relevance to them.”

She added: “And then it became clear, this was not necessary. He could’ve called me up. He could’ve called others involved up and said, ‘Hey, can we look at this new stuff just to make sure it’s stuff we’ve seen before?’ Absolutely, have at it. But no, he had to write letters to Congress, which immediately were leaked. I feel very strongly that he went way beyond his role in doing what he did.”

Clinton is far from the only voice critical of Comey for his unprecedented action so soon before an election. Everyone from longtime Department of Justice employees to President Donald Trump has said the same.

The latter party should be taken with a large grain of salt, though: Trump used Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation as an excuse to fire him. Very quickly, however, the President made clear that he had really fired Comey over his handling of the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Clinton had appeared on “Today” to promote her new book on the 2016 election, “What Happened.” In it, she said of Comey’s intervention: “It wasn’t healthy or productive to dwell on the ways I felt I’d been shivved.”

Watch below via NBC:

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Former President Barack Obama praised the gay rights activist Edith Windsor shortly after the 88-year-old died Tuesday in New York, saying “few made as big a difference to America.”

Windsor, whose lawsuit against the government led the Supreme Court in 2013 to strike down a key part of the the Defense of Marriage Act, lived to see the court assert that same-sex couples nationwide had the right to marry in 2015.

I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love,” Obama said in a statement.

In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” he added. “And because people like Edie stood up, my administration stopped defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in the courts.”

Read Obama’s full statement below:

America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence, and fueled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right. 

Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor – and few made as big a difference to America.

I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love.  She was engaged to her partner, Thea, for forty years.  After a wedding in Canada, they were married for less than two.  But federal law didn’t recognize a marriage like theirs as valid – which meant that they were denied certain federal rights and benefits that other married couples enjoyed.  And when Thea passed away, Edie spoke up – not for special treatment, but for equal treatment – so that other legally married same-sex couples could enjoy the same federal rights and benefits as anyone else.

In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.  And because people like Edie stood up, my administration stopped defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in the courts.  The day that the Supreme Court issued its 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor was a great day for Edie, and a great day for America – a victory for human decency, equality, freedom, and justice.  And I called Edie that day to congratulate her.

Two years later, to the day, we took another step forward on our journey as the Supreme Court recognized a Constitutional guarantee of marriage equality.  It was a victory for families, and for the principle that all of us should be treated equally, regardless of who we are or who we love.

I thought about Edie that day.  I thought about all the millions of quiet heroes across the decades whose countless small acts of courage slowly made an entire country realize that love is love – and who, in the process, made us all more free.  They deserve our gratitude.  And so does Edie. 

Michelle and I offer our condolences to her wife, Judith, and to all who loved and looked up to Edie Windsor.

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New Hampshire’s governor on Monday ordered the state’s attorney general to help police with an investigation into what appears to have been an attempted hanging of a biracial 8-year-old boy in late August.

“Yesterday on my instruction, the Attorney General’s office sent a team to Claremont to provide assistance,” Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said in a statement shared with TPM Tuesday. “It is my expectation that local and state authorities will investigate appropriately and I’ve asked for regular updates on how things are proceeding. Hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated in New Hampshire.”

New Hampshire Public Radio first reported the governor’s statement.

There were reportedly no adults present during the incident. But the boy’s grandmother recounted to Valley News what she heard from children who were there, including the boy’s sister: that he was playing in a park with a group of teenagers “when the teens started calling the boy racial epithets and throwing sticks and rocks at his legs.”

The situation escalated, she said, when some or all of the teens stepped on a table with a rope that once held a tire swing, allegedly wrapping it around the boy’s neck and pushing him off the table. The boy’s mother later posted pictures showing rope burn on the boy’s neck on Facebook.

“So my son is being flown to Dartmouth after a 14 year old kid decided to hang him from a tree,” she wrote on Facebook. “I don’t care if this was a so called accident or not. My son almost died because of some little shit teenage kids.”

The boy’s mother added in a subsequent post that she had gone public with her son’s story to “show this country that racism does in fact still exist.”

Claremont’s police chief, Mark Chase, has been next to silent on the case, saying that the alleged perpetrators being minors prohibits him from confirming any details. He only confirmed that the youngest person involved in the case was 8-years-old and the oldest were teenagers, according to NH1.

“These people need to be protected,” he told NH1, adding: “We don’t want things to follow kids throughout their life.”

“Mistakes they make as a young child should not have to follow them for the rest of their life,” he told Valley News separately.

City Manager Ryan McNutt described the incident as “an unfortunate incident between some juveniles,” according to the same outlet.

The city’s response garnered outrage. Claremont was 96 percent white, 0.6 percent African American and 1.8 biracial, according to the 2010 census, the Valley News and the Root noted.

New Hampshire Public Radio noted that a local group affiliated with Showing Up For Racial Justice, an activist group, had planned a prayer vigil on Tuesday afternoon “to show up against racism, and in a show of loving support for all members of the community!” in response to what it called the “CLAREMONT RACIST ATTACK.”

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that the Department of Justice “should certainly look at” investigating fired FBI Director James Comey.

The remark came during a press conference after Sanders was asked by the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman about Steve Bannon’s comment in a recent interview. Bannon said Trump firing Comey was the biggest mistake in modern political history.

“I think there is no secret,” Sanders said, reading from a prepared statement. “Comey by his own self-admission leaked privileged government information. Weeks before President Trump fired him, Comey testified that an FBI agent engaged in the same practice, they’d face serious repercussions. I think he set his own stage for himself on that front. His actions were improper and likely could have been illegal.”

“Comey leaked memos to the New York Times, your own outlet,” Sanders added to Haberman.

Trump has accused Comey of breaking the law before, after Comey admitted to indirectly leaking the content of his personal notes of encounters with the President to the media.

Sanders called the information “privileged” rather than “classified” on Tuesday, but said later that the Department of Justice should consider investigating Comey.

“You said that the actions of James Comey could have been illegal,” NBC’s Hallie Jackson said. “You, the other day, referred to potential false testimony. The DOJ is not commenting. But I would put it to you: Would the president encourage the DOJ to prosecute Comey?”

“That’s not the President’s role,” Sanders responded. “That’s the job of the Department of Justice and something they should certainly look at.”

“Is that something you would like to see?” Jackson pressed.

“I’m not sure about that specifically, but I think if there is ever a moment where we feel someone has broken the law, particularly if they are the head of the FBI, I think that’s something that certainly should be looked at,” Sanders said.

Later, Sanders denied she had said she wanted Comey investigated for leaking, saying “I’m not here to ever direct DOJ in the actions that they should take.”

On Monday, Sanders made the remarkable charge that “[s]ince the director’s firing, we’ve learned new information about his conduct that only provided further justification for that firing, including giving false testimony, leaking privileged information to journalists, he went outside of the chain of command, and politicized an investigation into a presidential candidate.”

She did not provide any evidence for the first charge, nor did she elaborate on it. It came up again Tuesday, though Sanders still provided no proof. 

“Yesterday when you were talking about James Comey, you mentioned that he gave false testimony. I didn’t hear you say that again today,” a reporter asked Sanders. “Do you still stand by that?”

“I did say that, actually, today, yeah,” Sanders replied. “And he did.” 

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Steve Bannon told hedge fund managers and investors in Hong Kong Tuesday that he speaks with President Donald Trump every two to three days, contradicting the White House’s own claim, the Wall Street Journal reported,

Bannon’s remarks to the group were relayed by two unnamed people who attended the speech, the Journal reported.

He also claimed to have spoken to Trump for an hour Monday night, the Journal reported.

However, on Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fielded plenty of questions about the former White House chief strategist, the result of an explosive interview he gave CBS’ Charlie Rose that aired Sunday.

“I know they’ve had one conversation but I don’t think anything beyond that since he left,” Sanders said. Bannon’s last day at the White House was Aug. 18.

Among other things, Bannon told Rose that he feared Trump’s decision to end DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, would lead to a “civil war” within the Republican Party. Sanders said “Steve always likes to speak in kind of — the most extreme measures.”

John Kelly, the relatively new White House chief of staff, is seen by many as a gatekeeper of information and contacts flowing to the President’s desk. If Bannon calls Trump as much as he says he does, it could be seen as undermining Kelly’s authority.

The Washington Post reported on Sept. 1 that Trump “continues to call business friends and outside advisers, including former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, from his personal phone when Kelly is not around.”

Bannon returned to his post leading the far-right online news outlet Breitbart after leaving the White House.

Though the conservative media entrepreneur long claimed to be a voice of “economic nationalism” within the Trump administration — reportedly referring to others in the White House derogatorily as “globalists” — Bannon struck an extremely conciliatory tone toward China in his Hong Kong address, according to multiple reports.

“There isn’t a world leader he respects more than the [President] of China,” Bannon said, referring to Trump, according to Channel News Asia’s Wei Du.

The praise recalled Trump’s own about-face on China: He pledged during the 2016 campaign to label the country a currency manipulator, despite the fact that the country had long ceased artificially devaluing its currency. In April 2017, the President said “they’re not currency manipulators,” and cited North Korea as a potential area of cooperation with which such a label could interfere.

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President Donald Trump lashed out at “people writing books and major articles about me” on Tuesday. Some speculated it was a jab at NBC’s Katy Tur, who had promoted her new book on the 2016 campaign earlier in the morning.

Tur’s book recounting her time covering Trump on the 2016 campaign trail, “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History,” was released Tuesday. The book pays special attention to Trump’s attacks on the press, including his singling her out specifically.

In an essay for Marie Claire in August 2016, Tur recalled being called out by Trump at a packed rally in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. “It wasn’t until hours later, when Secret Service took the extraordinary step of walking me to my car, that the incident sank in,” she wrote.

She told NBC’s Matt Lauer Tuesday on “Today,” referring to Trump’s alternating tactics of attack and flattery: “It was like a rollercoaster, and you just had to put it aside and continue doing your job.”

“When he realized that his charm wasn’t going to change my reporting, he would go on the attack,” she added.

For some, Trump’s tweet recalled that same method, though this time he did not name Tur.

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Hope Hicks, a longtime aide to President Donald Trump, has been named the White House’s permanent communications director, Bloomberg first reported Tuesday.

Multiple outlets later confirmed the move with the White House.

Bloomberg noted: “She’s viewed by staff as a strong leader because she is one of the president’s most trusted aides and therefore secure in her standing.”

Hicks took the position on an interim basis in mid-August after Anthony Scaramucci left the White House. Before Scaramucci, Sean Spicer and Mike Dubke filled the role.

A close aide to Trump who has been known to take dictations of his tweets, Hicks has outlasted many higher-profile aides, such as Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka. She started as a PR staffer for Ivanka Trump years ago, before eventually working for Donald Trump.

On Friday, Politico reported that Hicks had retained a personal attorney amid reports that special counsel Robert Mueller would seek to interview her as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

This post has been updated.

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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Monday responded to a Democratic congressman who said he was a “disgrace to the uniform” after President Donald Trump announced the end of the DACA program.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) wrote after Trump announced the end of DACA on Sept. 5 that “General Kelly, when he was the head of Homeland Security, lied straight to the faces of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about preventing the mass deportation of DREAMers. Now as Chief of Staff, this former general is executing the plan to take away their lifeline and taking steps to criminalize young people who live and work here legally. General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.”

Kelly responded late Sunday in an email to Fox News, the network reported.

“As far as the congressman and other irresponsible members of congress are concerned, they have the luxury of saying what they want as they do nothing and have almost no responsibility,” Kelly wrote, referring to Gutiérrez’s statement. “They can call people liars but it would be inappropriate for me to say the same thing back at them. As my blessed mother used to say ‘empty barrels make the most noise.’”

“The congressman has a right to his opinion,” he said.

Kelly also argued that “Every DOJ and DHS lawyer says DACA is unconstitutional,” and that “Trump didn’t end DACA, the law did,” perhaps referring to a threat from multiple Republican attorneys general to include DACA into a larger lawsuit against the government.

Gutierrez spokesperson Douglas Rivlin didn’t appreciate the response.

“[S]o far we have seen no courage to fight for DREAMers from the President or his Chief of Staff,” he said, according to Fox News. “There is a clear majority in the House today to support measures to defend DACA recipients, but Republicans need to choose whether they want to let that happen or not. So far, the answer is not.”

Gutiérrez is one of the House’s strongest advocates for undocumented immigrants. On Aug. 15, he was arrested at a pro-DACA, pro-Temporary Protected Status rally.

In his statement after Trump ended DACA, Gutiérrez seemed to be referring to a July meeting between Kelly — who then led the Department Homeland Security — and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. At the time, the congressman was similarly critical of Kelly for not exercising his authority to prevent deportations.

“He either does not understand his authority under current law or was stonewalling or doing a very convincing job of playing dumb – or maybe some combination of the three,” Gutiérrez wrote in July.

Kelly has said before that Congress should act to protect undocumented immigrants.

“If lawmakers do not like the laws they’ve passed and we are charged to enforce, then they should have the courage and skill to change the laws. Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines,” he said in a speech in April.

Congress has acted on the issue multiple times in recent years — though never with sufficient support to reach the President’s desk. 

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