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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

A trade group that represents several big-name media outlets like The New York Times and USA Today told the National Rifle Association on Tuesday that it is encouraging violence against journalists in its most recent member recruitment video.

The trade group sent a letter to the NRA Tuesday, criticizing the advocacy group’s most recent aggressive video that appears to threaten the New York Times.

The letter was signed by Digital Content Next’s Senior Vice President Chris Pedigo, who called out the hypocrisy of disrespecting the First Amendment when the NRA was founded to staunchly defend the Second Amendment.

Pedigo said it’s the role of the press to “afflict the powerful,” including large organizations like the NRA.

Knowledge is gained through healthy debate. That’s why it’s your equal right to express your disagreement with viewpoints expressed by The New York Times or any other news organizations. The Constitution and its amendments are not ripe for cherry picking,” Pedigo wrote in the letter shared with TPM. “However, when you use such incendiary language as ‘we’re coming for you,’ it is our right to suggest in the strongest terms that your behavior is blatantly irresponsible as it may incite violence against journalists.”

He said it is “un-American” to threaten journalists and even invited NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch — to whom the letter was addressed — to a press freedom event at the Newseum this month so “you can reacquaint yourself with the importance of a free press as well as the real threats faced by journalists.”

Clearly, our Founding Fathers understood the value of a free press and sought to shield journalists from political pressure. As such, we encourage you to focus on defending the Second Amendment. We’ll take care of protecting the First,” he said.

The letter comes after the NRA published its second aggressive video last month.

The most recent video criticized the New York Times for its “pretentious, tone deaf assertion that you are, in any way, truth- or fact-based journalism,” Loesch said in the video. She said the NRA was going to “fisk” the newspaper and declared: “We’re coming for you.”

In June, the NRA released another video in which Loesch seemingly advocated for fighting the left and its “violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth.”

Civil rights groups as well as propaganda experts viewed the video as —at worst — a call for actual violence against Democrats and, at best, the use of violent rhetoric to recruit new members.

Read the full letter below:

H/t CNN

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While Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “disagreed” with former President Barack Obama’s “unilateral action” on introducing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program through executive order in 2012, he said Tuesday that ending the program now is the “wrong approach to immigration policy.”

“I strongly believe that children who were illegally brought into this country through no fault of their own should not be forced to return to a country they do not know,” he said in a statement following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the administration was ending the program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.

“The 800,000 innocent young people granted deferred action under DACA over the last several years are pursuing degrees, starting careers, and contributing to our communities in important ways,” he said.

McCain, a longtime champion of increasing border security and reformation of the country’s immigration system, said that rescinding DACA at this time “is an unacceptable reversal of the promises and opportunities that have been conferred to these individuals,” he said.

“The federal government has a responsibility to defend and secure our borders, but we must do so in a way that upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation. I will be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to devise and pass comprehensive immigration reform, which will include the DREAM Act,” he said, referencing legislation that was first introduced in the Senate in 2001 and has been brought back for debate several times, but has never passed.

The DREAM Act looked at granting conditional, and eventual permanent, residency to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors, by attending college or serving in the military. 

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A GOP sponsor of a bill that would protect undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children said Republicans like Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach are part of a “fringe” group who like to use immigrants as a scapegoat for economic struggles.

Appearing on MSNBC Tuesday just after Kobach gave an interview saying DACA recipients should go back to their home country and “get in line” before coming back to the U.S., Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) called Kobach’s opinions “regrettable.”

“It’s regrettable that some fringe elements in our politics have a sick obsession with scapegoating immigrants, for blaming them for all our economic struggles in this country,” he said, adding if that group wants a “culprit” for “stagnant economic growth,” Kobach and others should look at the country’s tax code and education system.

He also called out Kobach for blaming immigrants for struggles young Americans face when it comes to finding a job after college.

“It’s young Americans who overwhelmingly support the Dreamers’ cause and want to see Congress take action to afford them a permanent solution,” he said. “Why? Because they understand that these young people went to school with them, grew up in this country.”

Curbelo’s remarks came just minutes before Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially announced the DACA program would be “rescinded.” President Donald Trump made it clear early Tuesday that he expects Congress to come up with a legislative solution to the issue.

 Curbelo is one of several members of Congress who have already started crafting legislation to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

His bill, called Recognizing America’s Children Act, will reflect the idea that the majority of Americans believe dreamers are “de facto” Americans. He said he knows even “the President of the United States does not think that these young people should leave the country.”

He said his bill has bipartisan support and alluded that another Republican from the state of New Jersey had signed on as a co-sponsor for the bill.

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The wife of the U.S. Treasury secretary, Louise Linton, has called the Instagram picture she posted last month and the subsequent comments-section argument she got into with a follower “indefensible.”

In August, Linton posted on Instagram bragging about flying on a government plane to Kentucky with her husband, and she tagged high-end fashion brands — like Hermès, Tom Ford and Valentino — in her photo. Followers quickly posted comments on the post, calling Linton distasteful and questioning why taxpayers were funding a trip for her and her husband.

Linton fired back, attacking one specific commenter who she called “adorable” for thinking the trip to Kentucky was personal and claiming she and her husband “sacrifice” more than the average taxpayer.

“Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country? I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours,” she wrote in the comments.

She apologized through her publicist a day later and said in a recent interview with Washington Life magazine that she “concede(s) completely to the comments” of her critics.

“My post itself and the following response were indefensible. Period. I don’t have any excuses, nor do I feel any self-pity for the backlash I experienced,” she said. “I sincerely take ownership of my mistake. It’s clear that I was the one would was truly out of touch and my response was reactionary and condescending.”

The Scottish actress, who is married to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acknowledged she had “no place” talking about sacrifice.

“My husband is very fortunate to be part of the government. It is a great honor and privilege and in no way is his work, or my part in this, any kind of sacrifice,” she said in the cover story interview, where she posed in a series of ball gowns. 

She said she understood why the post became newsworthy, admitted it was “boastful and materialistic” and said she made the post because she was trying to create “this public image that was elegant and stylish.” She said she regretted what she said and should have stuck with posting about the causes she cares about on social media, like animal rescues.

“I feel like I deserved the criticism and my response is ‘thanks for waking me up quickly and for turning me back in the right direction.’ My response is ‘I’m sorry,’” she said.

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Just hours before a scheduled press conference in which Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to announce the administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months, President Trump indicated called on Congress to come up with a legislative solution.

In a short tweet, Trump said called on Congress to “get ready to do your job” when it comes to DACA.

Politico was first to report that the Trump administration was planning to announce Tuesday that he will end DACA, a move that has seen bipartisan pushback.

A few GOP members of Congress, like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said they would be supportive of the President’s plan to end the program if it meant the anticipated six-month delay in ending the program was put in place to give Congress time to come up with a solution to help the “dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors.

The DACA program was introduced through executive order by former President Barack Obama in 2012 and is designed to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation.

The announcement coming Tuesday is in response to threats made by several states to sue Trump if he didn’t make moves to end the program by Tuesday.

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Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer will continue his career in front of the podium, but on a different stage.

While Spicer officially resigned in light of the hiring of quickly-ousted communications director Anthony Scaramucci in July, his last official day at the White House was Aug. 31.

Now he’s headed to a new speaker job with Worldwide Speakers Group, according to Politico. Spicer’s first paid speech will be on Sept. 11 in New York City at an annual gathering for Rodman and Renshaw bank.

“We are thrilled to provide Sean for our major trade association, corporate, university and public lecture series customers around the world,” a spokesperson for the organization told Politico in a statement. “With his well-known candor and extensive experience, Sean is uniquely qualified to help audiences understand how the political environment will impact them now and in the future.” 

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to hold a press conference Tuesday at 11 a.m. where he will reportedly announce the administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, with a six months delay.

Sessions will not take any questions from reporters following the briefing, according to the Department of Justice’s schedule.

Politico was first to report that President Donald Trump was planning to announce Tuesday that he will end DACA, a move that has seen bipartisan pushback. Sessions will face the cameras instead.

The DACA program was introduced through executive order by Former President Barack Obama in 2012 and is designed to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation.

The six month delay will reportedly give Congress time to pass legislation to remedy the issue. Several states have threatened to sue Trump if he didn’t make moves to end the program by Tuesday.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will support President Donald Trump’s plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that he reportedly plans to announce Tuesday, according to a statement from Graham’s office.

But only if the reported six-month delay to ending the program is put in place to give Congress time to come up with a legislative solution for the program, he said.

“If President Trump chooses to cancel the DACA program and give Congress six months to find a legislative solution, I will be supportive of such a position,” Graham said in a statement Monday. “I have always believed DACA was a presidential overreach. However, I equally understand the plight of the Dream Act kids who – for all practical purposes – know no country other than America”

Politico was first to report that Trump is planning to announce Tuesday that he is ending DACA in six months. The program grants legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

Graham said he and other members of Congress are already working on bipartisan legislation to help the “dreamers,” as the undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors have been labeled.

“I have introduced legislation to solve this problem along with Senator Durbin,” he said. “I look forward to working with President Trump and my colleagues in Congress to find a fair solution to this difficult problem.”

Former President Barack Obama launched the program through an executive order in 2012.

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Former President Barack Obama is planning to speak out if President Donald Trump announces his intentions of ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Politico reported.

Obama’s current plan is to post a statement on Facebook and Twitter, a source close to Obama told Politico.

Politico was first to report that Trump is planning to announce Tuesday that he is ending DACA in six months. The program grants legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

Obama launched the program through an executive order in 2012 and suggested at his final press availability as president that he may speak out if Trump decided to end the program.

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Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) joined several other GOP members of Congress in breaking with President Donald Trump over reports that he plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

In a statement released Monday, Lankford said the U.S. “must confront the nation’s out-of-date” immigration system, but that children shouldn’t be held accountable for the actions of parents who immigrated to the U.S. illegally.

“It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally,” Lankford said in a statement, according to The Hill. “However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents.”

His statement comes after reports that Trump plans to end the DACA program, with a six month delay. DACA temporarily prevents the children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors from getting deported while they pursue work permits in the U.S.

Lankford said the U.S. immigration system needs to be reformed, but said that change should be made through Congress.

“We must confront the nation’s out-of-date immigration policy and finally resolve the issues of strong border enforcement and merit immigration,” Lankford said.

“We must confront the nation’s out-of-date immigration policy and finally resolve the issues of strong border enforcement and merit immigration,” he said. “Policy reform must come from the American people through Congress. The Legislative and Executive Branch should put aside passivity and partisanship and finally modernize our immigration laws.”

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