Nicole Lafond

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.

Articles by Nichole

In a series of tweet quoting Rep. Trey Gowdy’s (R-SC) comments about Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Fox News Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump admitted he wished he had picked a different lawyer to lead to Justice Department.

“I wish I did!” he said.

The tweet comes amid a report from the New York Times Tuesday evening that Trump asked Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation last March. Sessions declined, according to the Times.

Read More →

After losing her self-titled reboot show “Roseanne” and apologizing to Valerie Jarrett for what Roseanne Barr claimed was an unintentionally racist tweet, Barr blamed “Ambien tweeting” for the insolent remark.

In a since-deleted tweet, Barr asked her followers to stop defending her for comparing Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, to the “muslim brotherhood” and the “planet of the apes.”

“It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible,” Barr said in the deleted tweet. “I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but…don’t defend it please.”

Just hours after Barr apologized for the remark and vowed to leave Twitter, ABC cancelled her recently rebooted, highly rated show. The show, which focuses on “Roseanne,” a President Trump supporter and her family, who are not, has garnered the attention of the President himself, who bragged about her ratings in a speech in Ohio in March.

Read More →

President Donald Trump led the crowd at a campaign-style rally in Nashville on Tuesday in booing Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as Trump, again, attacked the senior senator for his “no” vote on repealing and replacing Obamacare last year.

“We had it done, folks, it was done, and then early in the morning somebody turned their hand in the wrong direction,” Trump said, referencing McCain without using his name. “The person that voted that way only talked repeal and replace. He campaigned on it.

The jabs on Tuesday evening were the first time Trump has spoken publicly about McCain since it was reported that one of Trump’s communications aides made a morbid joke about McCain “dying” during an internal White House meeting. McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer last year and has been in Arizona recovering from treatment in recent weeks.

Rather than apologize for the remark or discipline the staffer, Kelly Sadler, the White House has used the incident to crack down on leaks by decreasing the number of people invited to participate in daily communications briefings and reportedly making plans to downsize the communications department.

Read More →

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), told Fox News on Tuesday that after attending the President Trump-mandated classified Justice Department briefing last week, he’s “convinced” the FBI acted correctly in deploying an informant to meet with Trump campaign officials.

“I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got and that it has nothing to do with Trump,” he said Tuesday evening.

The senior House Republican on the Intelligence Committee also said that after sitting in on the classified meeting, he thinks the FBI was actually just following directives from Trump himself.

“It looks to me like the FBI was doing what President Trump said: ‘I want you to do, find it out,’” Gowdy told Fox News. “President Trump himself in the Comey memos said, ‘If anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it.’ Sounds to me like that was exactly what the FBI did.”

Gowdy’s comments represent a small rift among Republicans who don’t align with Trump’s reaction to reports that an FBI informant met with officials on his campaign during the election. Just last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC) appeared to break with the President as well, contending that an “informant is not a spy.”

Trump and his allies have seized on reports of the informant to perpetuate the narrative that a “spy” infiltrated his campaign. Deeming the whole ordeal “spygate,” Trump is convinced the news solidifies his belief in a “deep state” within the Justice Department working to undermine him.

Read More →

Before spending a full year publicly berating his attorney general and his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump tried to get Jeff Sessions to change his mind about the probe, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Sessions was reportedly dispatched to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in March 2017 to try to get the President to make an important decision about his travel ban. Instead Trump scolded Sessions about his recusal and asked him to “reverse his decision,” in the Times’ words.

Sessions refused and the Mar-a-Lago conversation is now being probed by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Trump’s attacks on his attorney general this past year and his attempts to get Sessions to leave the administration.

Trump was fixated on Sessions’ recusal for months last year and even floated the idea of Sessions reversing his decision to aides, people briefed on the matter told the Times. Trump reportedly argued that former President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, “would never have recused himself from a case that threatened to tarnish” Obama, and Trump told advisers he wanted that same brand of allegiance from his attorney general, according to the Times.

While Sessions and Trump used to be friends — they often had meals together and regularly spoke on the phone before the recusal, per the Times — the two now rarely speak outside of meetings and even took separate flights to attend the same event in New Hampshire in March, according to current and former White House officials who spoke with the Times.

Trump has also reportedly told friends he wants to get rid of Sessions, but won’t because Senate Republicans have signaled they won’t approved another attorney general.

Read More →

Hours after Roseanne Barr issued a Twitter apology for making racist comments about an ex-Obama administration official, Valerie Jarrett, ABC announced Tuesday it was canceling her self-titled reboot show, “Roseanne.”

In a statement tweeted by ABC News, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey called the tweet “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”

On Tuesday morning, Barr apologized for “making a bad joke about (Jarrett’s) politics and her looks,” after responding to a conspiracy-laden Twitter thread claiming Jarrett and the Obama administration spied on the French president.

“Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr tweeted early Tuesday morning, a clear attack on Jarrett’s race as an African-American.

The relaunch of “Roseanne,” a sitcom originally aired in the 1980s about a working class family in Illinois, was met with high ratings and criticism. The reboot episodes have been primarily focused on the tension between Roseanne, a Trump supporter, and her family. The relaunch even earned a tweet from the President.

Read More →

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Monday defended his “konnichiwa” remark to a Japanese-American congresswoman by arguing that he “has friends that were Japanese families” who lived through Japanese internment camps during World War II.

In an interview with Breitbart Radio on Monday, Zinke said that greeting Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing with “Konnichiwa,” a Japanese midday greeting, was “an appropriate salute.”

“I grew up in a little logging, timber town, railroad town in Montana and a lot of my family lived through the years of the internment camps, I’ve long since had friends that were Japanese families that went through that,” he told Breitbart Radio, flagged to TPM by liberal research group American Bridge. “I’ve been to the Japanese War College at Etawah Jima and saying ‘Konnichiwa’ past ten o’clock as a greeting I don’t think it’s any different than greeting anybody else in a language that’s respectful. I grew up in Montana saying ‘good morning,’ saying ‘good afternoon,’ I think its an appropriate salute.”

When Zinke made the comment in March, Hanabusa corrected him in stride, saying she thought it was still ‘Ohayo gozaimasu,’ which means “good morning.”

Several Democratic senators jumped to Hanabusa’s defense after the exchange, decrying Zinke for what some called a racially charged remark.

During the Breitbart interview, the far-right publication called the debacle “one other fake controversy” perpetuated by CNN.

Hanabusa responded to Zenke’s comments Tuesday.

“Secretary Ryan Zinke continues to miss the point,”Hanabusa said in a statement provided to TPM. “This is racial stereotyping. And this is racial stereotyping that occurred while I questioned him about funding to preserve and protect Japanese internment sites in my capacity as a member of Congress. Does he greet other members of Congress in their ancestral language? This mentality led to a dark period in American history that saw 120,000 men, women and children, including my grandfathers, sent to internment camps during WWII.”

Read More →

President Trump’s reboot sitcom ally Roseanne Barr apologized on Tuesday for a tweet she posted making racist comments about Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Obama.

“I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks,” she tweeted. “I should have known better.”

Barr’s tweet about Jarrett’s “looks” was shared in response to an article posted by SGT Report, that claimed Obama used his CIA to spy on the French president during his tenure. SGT Report claims it is a “corporate propaganda antidote.”

Barr tweeted in response to a thread of comments about the article saying: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” a clear attack on Jarrett’s race as an African-American.  The tweet was flagged by attorney and AMERICAblog founder John Aravosis.

During the Obama administration, the far-right seized on Jarrett’s background — her parents were living in Iran when she was born and her family moved back to the U.S. when she was 5 — to fuel conspiracies about her having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Jarrett is not Muslim.

It’s not the first time — even over the weekend — that Barr used her Twitter feed to peddle conspiracy theories. On Monday evening, Barr tweeted suggesting that Chelsea Clinton was married to a nephew of George Soros and then declared hours later that she was “now leaving Twitter.”

Barr has reemerged into the spotlight in recent months after her ABC show “Roseanne” got a reboot, with a plot primarily focused on Barr’s political support of Trump, which earned her a tweet of thanks from the President.

Read More →

In a mystifying turn of events, President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed the team of federal investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, will themselves actually be “MEDDLING” in the upcoming midterm elections.

Apparently referencing special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators, Trump launched a series of tweets about the “13 Angry Democrats” early Tuesday who, he claimed, were taking great pains to keep Republicans from “taking the lead in the Polls.” He repeated his tired defense that there was “no Collusion” by anyone, “except by the Democrats!” and also said federal investigators should be spending their resources investigating his former political opponent and his predecessor.

Trump’s Tuesday tweets are just the President’s latest attempts to discredit the Russia probe by undermining his Justice Department for having, as he claims, a “deep state” political bias against him.

In recent weeks, Trump has become transfixed on reports that a government informant met with members of his campaign. He’s labeled the whole ordeal “spygate” and has peddled claims that the “spy” was dispatched by the Obama administration for political reasons.

Read More →

The lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels is reportedly stalling Manhattan federal prosecutors’ efforts to free Daniels’ former lawyer and manager to talk about a $130,000 payment President Trump’s personal lawyer gave Daniels before the 2016 election.

According to people familiar with the matter who spoke with the Wall Street Journal, Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, has not waived the attorney-client privilege that is preventing Daniels’ former lawyer, Keith Davidson, from discussing the agreement with federal prosecutors who are investigating Michael Cohen’s business dealings, including the $130,000 payment. Avenatti even went as far as sending Davidson a cease-and-desist letter in April to keep him from talking about his communications with Daniels over the $130,000 and non-disclosure agreement, which was reportedly enacted to keep Daniels quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.

Avenatti has also reportedly taken steps to keep Daniels’ former manager, Gina Rodriguez, from giving federal prosecutors information about her communications with Daniels until he has had the chance to review it, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to the WSJ. Rodriguez reportedly helped facilitate the $130,000 payment from Cohen just before the 2016 election.

Federal prosecutors now believe that Avenatti is stalling and the delays in responding to their requests to waive attorney-client privilege have “frustrated investigators,” per the WSJ.

Avenatti told the WSJ Monday that he and Daniels are still “ironing out the details” of whether they’ll agree to abandon some privilege so Davidson and Rodriguez can cooperate with the Cohen investigation.

Read the WSJ’s full report here.

Read More →