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

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has turned over more than 20,000 pages of documents the Senate Judiciary Committee requested concerning the campaign’s attempts to receive information about Hillary Clinton from Russia and affiliated sources, Bloomberg News reported.

That request includes all documents related to the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and a Kremlin-linked lawyer.  The committee also said it wants all documents related to Russia’s attempts to influence the election and asked for Manafort’s registration filings and his contacts with the Justice Department.

The committee asked the parties to start producing the documents by Aug. 2.

In addition to the 20,000 pages of documents from the campaign, Trump Jr. turned over about 250 pages on Aug. 4 and Manafort gave the committee 400 pages on Aug. 2, a committee spokesman told Bloomberg.

The company the committee thinks was behind a mostly unverified dossier on Trump — Fusion GPS and CEO Glenn Simpson — has not turned over any documents yet. The committee wants to know if Fusion GPS was paid by the Russians to produce the dossier.

The committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said public hearings with Trump Jr. and Manafort may be held in late September.

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The President is scheduled to stay at his New York City Trump Tower for three nights starting Sunday, according to a schedule given to New York City law enforcement and obtained by Politico.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to leave Bedminster, N.J., where he has been staying this week, Sunday afternoon and head straight to his 66th floor penthouse.

He will hold internal meetings there on Monday and Tuesday, according to the schedule. He is set to go back to his golf club in New Jersey on Wednesday.

Trump has only been back to New York once since inauguration for a dinner at the Intrepid aircraft carrier, but he didn’t make a stop at Trump Tower.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the schedule to Politico and said the President has avoided visiting to “not disrupt things in Manhattan.”

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Speaking to reporters during a surprise visit to Guam Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reassured Americans that they should not be concerned about North Korea’s most recent threats of attack against Guam and defended the President’s “fire and fury” comments.

He said President Donald Trump is just “sending a message in language Kim Jong-un can understand.”

“The global community has expressed its view that North Korea needs to stand down this program. I think in response to that the North Korean’s rhetoric has ratcheted up louder and louder and more threatening,” he said. “So I think what the President is doing is sending a strong message in language that Kim Jong-un can understand because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language.”

Tillerson’s comments come after reports surfaced that North Korea now has a nuclear warhead small enough to fit into a ballistic missile.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Trump said North Korea’s threats of nuclear warfare would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Jong-un then responded with threats of attack against Guam.

But Tillerson defended the President’s message, saying Trump was just trying to be clear to the North Korean regime that “the U.S. has an unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies. I think it’s important he deliver that message to avoid any miscalculation on their part.”

He also said that there is nothing to indicate that the situation in North Korea has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours and that “Americans should sleep well at night.”

I have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days. I think the President again, as commander-in-chief, he felt it necessary to issue a very strong statement directly to North Korea,” he said.

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Even before tensions between the U.S. and North Korea escalated to new levels on Tuesday, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker told Politico he “of course” is concerned about North Korea directing a missile attack at his state.

U.S. intelligence officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency have concluded that North Korea has created a nuclear weapon small enough to fit in a missile, according to The Washington Post. The country has been launching test ICBM missiles that experts say could reach parts of the U.S., including the state of Alaska.

The President told reporters Tuesday that the threat would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” which prompted North Korea to threaten to attack the American territory of Guam.

In an interview with Politico before tensions rose this week, Walker said he is concerned about being in the “trajectory zone” between the U.S. and North Korea and that the country’s ability to strike the U.S. has come to fruition much quicker than anticipated.

“It’s actually, in some respects, gotten here sooner than we thought,” he said. “We thought that the trajectory would be sometime in 2020. So we’re earlier than anticipated and we want to make sure that we’re well protected and everything.”

He said no one is panicking yet, but Walker said he would like to be prepared.

“No one’s hiding under the desk that I know of at this point,” he said. “But we do have to make sure we have the technology and awareness of what could happen.”

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Speaking to a Kentucky Rotary Group Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claimed Congress is is operating the way it should and said the President’s critiques of the legislative process are producing an inaccurate picture of how Congress works.

“Our new President, of course, has not been in this line of work before. I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process,” McConnell said, according to a CNN affiliate.

He said there have been “too many artificial deadlines” created in the public sphere, which has caused confusion over how Congress operates.

“Part of the reason I think people think we’re under-performing is because of too many artificial deadlines unrelated to the reality of the legislature, which may have not been understood,” he said.

McConnell’s comments come a few weeks after his party failed to produce a simple majority to pass a skinny Obamacare repeal bill before the start of the August recess.

The President tweeted after the repeal vote failure, saying Republicans should change Senate rules to allow legislation to pass with 51 votes. McConnell later dismissed President Donald Trump’s tweets, saying he “didn’t have 50 Republicans” to push through the bill.

“The votes are simply not there,” he said at an Aug. 1 press conference.

Back home in Kentucky Monday, McConnell also said he wished the President wouldn’t tweet so much.

“I’ve been, and I will be again today, not a fan of tweeting and I’ve said that to him privately. I think it would be helpful if the President would be a little more on message,” he said.

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Pat Robertson, the televangelist who ran for president in 1988 and founded the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), is not buying the latest sexual harassment claim against a Fox News host.

In fact, he doesn’t believe any of the network’s previous sexual harassment claims against top Fox News affiliates ever actually happened. It’s all a conspiracy to “destroy the Fox News,” he said.

“If you wanted to destroy the Fox News, you really wanted to destroy them, what would you do? Well you would send some salacious material, ostensibly from one of their popular co-hosts or hosts and you’d send it out and then get it publicized and then you have some woman complain that she had gotten this salacious material from this particular co-host,” he said Monday in a monologue on CBN, referring to the latest sexual harassment scandal involving Eric Bolling, the co-host of “Fox News Specialists” and “Cashin’ In.”

Bolling has been suspended indefinitely while an outside law firm — the same firm that investigated sexual harassment allegations against former Fox chairman Roger Ailes and former host Bill O’Reilly — looks into whether he sent photos of male genitalia to female colleagues, a Fox News spokesperson told TPM.

The news came from a scathing Huffington Post report published Friday, which reported that at least a dozen sources linked to Fox News confirmed that Bolling sent the lewd photos to at least three female colleagues. 

But Bolling is just the latest victim of a conspiracy to destroy the network, according to Robertson, who called Bolling a “straight arrow,” a “dedicated Catholic” who “goes to mass every day” and a “very nice man.”

“Fox is so averse to any kind of legal action that they immediately take the person off the air, so before long you would have decimated the prime time line up of all the Fox hosts. Easy to do? Absolutely. Is it being done? Probably,” he said.

Robertson, who admitted he didn’t “have a lot of firsthand information, so I may be off the wall on it,” said the same thing happened to get rid of O’Reilly, “who was the top getter of audience, the most popular host they had,” and Ailes.

Anybody can make charges, but ladies and gentlemen, if this is going on… I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but it’s so easy to see what’s being done. I think it’s a terrible shame. Fox had better synch up, gird up their loins, people are going after them and know this is a game people are playing,” Robertson said.

Bolling spoke out against the allegations on Twitter Monday, saying he is looking “forward to clearing my name asap.”

Watch the full monologue below, tweeted by Huffington Post reporter Yashar Ali, who broke the Bolling story:

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After facing backlash from President Donald Trump and a Pro-Trump group over his sometimes-critical stance on the Senate Republican’s Obamacare repeal and replace bill, Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) now has a GOP challenger for his seat in 2018.

Danny Tarkanian announced on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning that he is running for Heller’s seat. The Nevada Republican said he plans to campaign on the promise of supporting Trump’s agenda, which he claims Heller hasn’t done.

Heller is widely considered the most vulnerable Republican in 2018 after a pro-Trump group called America First Policies aired a critical television advertisement in Heller’s home state in June. The group attacked Heller for his opposition to Senate Republicans’ health bill. Heller eventually voted to begin debate on Obamacare repeal, as well as a “skinny” repeal bill that failed in the Senate.

“I have so many people that are contacting me over the past couple months saying ‘You gotta run against Dean Heller.’ They understand, as I do, that we’re never going to make America great again unless we have senators in office that fully support President Trump and his America first agenda,” Tarkanian said Tuesday.

Calling Heller one of the “first never-Trump-ers” in Nevada, Tarkanian said Heller helped democratic candidate Hillary Clinton win the state of Nevada. 

“I fully supported Donald Trump until the end of the campaign and now even after President Trump has been elected, Dean Heller has obstructed his agenda,” Tarkanian said. “We need people who are going to support the America first agenda and I will be that person.”

This isn’t Tarkanian’s first bid for a seat in Washington. He’s run several unsuccessful campaigns, including a 2010 bid for Senate and a recent failed run against current Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

Watch the interview below:

Correction: This post originally misidentified Danny Tarkanian as Jerry Tarkanian.

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Responding to a new report from the New York Times that reveals the Earth has been rapidly warming since 1980, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday that climate protection is important, but it shouldn’t take priority over American jobs.

The draft report was compiled by 13 federal agencies and has been approved by the National Science Foundation, but it has not yet been approved for publication by President Donald Trump.

The report found that human activities are primarily responsible for global climate change.

Appearing on the “Today” show Tuesday, Haley was asked if the administration would embrace the results of the study, which was obtained by the New York Times.

Haley said that Americans shouldn’t think that just because the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, “doesn’t mean we don’t believe in climate protection.”

“I think we’re very aware that we need to do that. What we’re saying is, we’re not going to sell out American businesses to do that,” she said, adding she hasn’t seen the report but “I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t” embrace it.

“I think a lot of this, we’re not saying that climate change is not real, it is real. It’s how do you have that balance between making sure you have jobs and businesses moving and also making sure you protect your climate. The answer is in the middle.”

Watch the interview below:

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is a fan of reforming the U.S. immigration system to a merit-based program, but said the White House-backed plan that would cut legal immigration and favor English-speaking green card applicants is “not going to pass” in the Senate.

“The bill’s not going to pass,” he said during an interview with Florida’s CBS 4 station Sunday. “I think the White House knows that you don’t have 60 votes for that in the Senate.”

The RAISE Act, which was announced last week Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) and backed by President Donald Trump, would create a points-based immigration system that favors green card applicants who demonstrate skills, education and language ability over immigrants who have relationships with people already living in the U.S.

It also seeks to cut legal immigration in half over the next decade, which is the piece of the bill that’s kept Rubio from endorsing the plan.

“I don’t want to limit legal immigration, I certainly want to change the way we conduct it,” he said. “Where I probably have a big difference of opinion with this bill is that it sets an arbitrary cap on the number of people that are able to come through with a green card. I don’t think that should be an arbitrary cap, that number should be driven by demand.”

Rubio is not the first prominent Republican member of the former, unsuccessful “Gang of Eight” bipartisan reform effort to come out against the new plan.

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have also expressed similar opposition to curtailing legal immigration.

The group of eight senators attempted to pass legislation in 2013 that looked at enhancing border security and a path to citizenship, as well as visa reform.

Watch the full interview below:

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The latest Fox News personality to be accused of sexual harassment spoke out on Twitter Monday after being suspended from the network, pending the results of an investigation.

Fox News announced Saturday that it had suspended Eric Bolling, co-host of “Cashin’ In” and “The Fox News Specialists,”  after The Huffington Post reported Friday that Bolling had sent photos of male genitalia to female colleagues.

HuffPost reported that at least three of Bolling’s colleagues had received the unsolicited lewd photos via text message from the host.

Bolling tweeted Monday morning saying he was “overwhelmed by all the support” he had received from fans and that he “look(s) forward to clearing my name asap.”

Rotating substitutes will fill in for Bolling on both shows until the investigation is complete, according to the network. The probe is being conducted by Paul Weiss, the same law firm that looked into allegations of sexual harassment against former Fox chairman Roger Ailes and former host Bill O’Reilly, Fox told TPM on Saturday.

Bolling has been working at Fox News and Fox Business since 2007.

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