Summer Concepcion

Summer Concepcion is the front page editor of Talking Points Memo based in New York City. Previously, she covered the 2016 presidential election for Fusion and worked as a researcher at The Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. She's an LA native and former Chicago transplant. Reach her at

Articles by Summer

In a Saturday morning tweet, President Donald Trump continued railing against former-FBI director James Comey and his “minions” Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in the wake of the Justice Department inspector general releasing a report Thursday on the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Trump tweeted that the IG report — which concluded that Comey and other FBI officials pivoted from agency norms in some of their actions, but were not politically motivated — shows that Comey’s “Witch Hunt” will “go down as a dark and dangerous period in American History!”

Trump’s Saturday morning tweet piggybacks off of his comments during a Friday interview with “Fox and Friends” outside the White House where claimed what Comey did was “criminal,” but stopped short of suggesting he should be “locked up.”

“I would never want to get involved in that, certainly, they look like criminal acts to me,” Trump said. “What he did was criminal. What he did was a terrible thing to the people. What he did was so bad in terms of our Constitution, in terms of the wellbeing of our country. What he did was horrible. Should he be locked up? Let somebody make a determination.”

While speaking with “Fox and Friends” Friday, Trump also questioned why FBI official Peter Strzok — who sent the text saying “we’ll stop” Trump from getting to the White House — was still working at the agency and called his “vicious” text messages a “criminal” offense.

Additionally, Trump’s Saturday tweet against Comey echoed his Friday morning tweet saying that the DOJ IG’s report is “a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI” amid bragging about his  “great service to the people in firing (Comey).”

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President Donald Trump kicked off his weekend by attempting to dispel the G-7 summit drama last week when he refused to sign a previously agreed-upon joint statement authored by all seven nations.

In a series of photos posted to Twitter Friday evening, Trump insisted that the “Fake News Media” showed “bad photos (implying anger)” at the summit despite his “great relationship” with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other G-7 leaders.

Trump announced in tweets following his early departure from the summit that he would refuse to sign the agreed-upon joint G-7 communiqué as a result comments by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a press conference. However, Trudeau had simply reiterated points he’d made before: that Canada planned dollar-for-dollar retaliatory tariffs in response to Trump’s new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Merkel found Trump’s “withdrawal via Twitter” from the joint G-7 communiqué to be “of course sobering and a little depressing” in an interview following the summit.

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Sounds like President Donald Trump’s lawyer struck out at the ball game on his 74th birthday.

Rudy Giuliani hit a foul ball with fellow Yankees fans Monday when the team wished him a happy birthday.

“The New York Yankees wish a very happy birthday to Mayor Giuliani,” an announcer said during the game, prompting Yankees fans to boo the former New York City mayor.

Giuliani wasn’t the only one unable to score a home run — the Yankees lost 5-1 on their home turf to the Houston Astros.

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The beef between The White House and the press only fired up the Twitter grill over Memorial Day weekend.

White House correspondent April Ryan found herself in a crossfire with First Lady Melania Trump’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham after tweeting the link to The Root’s sarcasm-tinged post “Is the Trump Administration Running a Child-Trafficking Ring or Nah? Follow Me Down the Rabbit Hole” Saturday night.

Ryan responded to Grisham the following day by pressing her on how the Trump administration “works to discredit the press.”

Grisham’s “have a lovely weekend” reply didn’t seem to ensure a ceasefire, however, as Ryan went on about how “not cool” it was for Grisham to go after her.

Ryan excoriated Grisham and a “fake news story” from Fox News for “creating an atmosphere of hate” against her.

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The White House buckled down on President Donald Trump’s claim that Democrats are to blame for his own administration’s policy of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents arrested at the border, according to an email statement Monday.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley ripped into what he calls the Democratic Party’s “cruel and inhumane open borders policies” that are “responsible for encouraging mass illegal migration, enabling horrendous child smuggling, and releasing violent MS-13 gang members into American communities.”

“Their lawless policies spread human suffering and finance criminal cartels,” Gidley said. “These Democrat policies lead to the temporary separation of illegal alien families, because they refuse to close border loopholes that prevent those families from being swiftly returned home.”

Gidley said that Democrat policies also “result in the permanent separation of American families” who have to “bury loved ones because of the criminals Democrat policies allow in to this country.”

“Sadly, Democrats openly oppose simple fixes to federal law that would stop the illegal migrant crisis and end the magnet for unlawful migration,” Gidley said.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions flagged the immigrant children separation policy in a speech when he pledged to criminally prosecute as many illegal border crossing cases “as humanly possible.”

“If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” Sessions said. “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen responded similarly to the issue in a congressional testimony a week later.

“Our policy is if you break the law, we will prosecute you,” Nielsen said. “You have an option to go to a port of entry and not illegally cross into our country.”

HHS admitted last month that nearly 1,500 unaccompanied minors were unable to be accounted for during a recent survey.

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Donald Trump Jr. reportedly met with an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes three months before his father won the 2016 presidential election.

The New York Times reported Saturday that the small group who met with Trump Jr. Aug. 3, 2016 at Trump Tower included Arab princes’ emissary George Nader, Israeli social media specialist Joel Zamel and former Blackwater head Erik Prince.

The meeting “convened primarily to offer help to the Trump team” was arranged by Prince. Nader reportedly told Trump Jr. that the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates crown princes were “eager” to help his father win the election. Zamel also boasted about his firm after it had already “drawn up a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort” to help elect Trump.

Although it’s “unclear whether such a proposal was executed” and “the details of who commissioned it remain in dispute,” Trump Jr. reportedly “responded approvingly” and Nader was quickly embraced as a Trump ally who began meeting frequently with Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn. NYT notes that Nader at the time was also “promoting a secret plan to use private contractors to destabilize Iran, the regional nemesis of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.”

After the election, Nader reportedly paid Zamel up to $2 million for unclear reasons, but NYT notes that a Zamel-tied company provided Nader with an “elaborate” presentation about the significance of social media campaigning to Trump’s win.

As Nader continues to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, the newly reported meetings are the first sign that countries besides Russia may have aided the Trump campaign.

Trump Jr. lawyer Alan Futerfas told NYT that “prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump Jr. recalls a meeting with Erik Prince, George Nader and another individual who may be Joel Zamel. They pitched Mr. Trump Jr. on a social media platform or marketing strategy. He was not interested and that was the end of it.”

Zamel’s lawyer Marc L. Mukasey denied to NYT that there was “any involvement whatsoever in the U.S. election campaign.”

Nader lawyer Kathryn Ruemmler insisted to NYT that her client “has fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation and will continue to do so.” A senior official in Saudi Arabia who spoke to NYT said Nader was never employed in any capacity or authorized to speak for the crown prince.

Prince declined to provide comment to NYT. The White House did not return NYT’s request for comment.

Read the New York Times’ full report here.

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A perk to being inside the Interior Secretary’s circle? Personalized tours through National Park Service sites perhaps.

According to Freedom of Information Act records, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his wife Lola requested VIP tours of national parks for their friends and acquaintances, the Washington Post reported Friday.

In the past 14 months, FOIA documents show the Zinkes have arranged for acquaintances and administration officials to get special tours of the Lincoln Memorial that include areas not open to the public.

Taxpayers’ money also funded a work trip to California’s Channel Islands National Park for a yacht broker who once sold Lola Zinke a boat. A Zinke aide told WaPo that the interior secretary described the yacht broker as one of three guests who were “subject matter experts” and could offer “personal testimony” about the area.

Other VIP tours included the interior secretary’s personally arranged two custom White House tours for friends affiliated with the Navy SEAL program and Lola Zinke’s “two friends from England” getting a guided tour of Joshua Tree National Park in California.

Interior spokesperson Heather Swift said in an email to WaPo Thursday that Zinke “uses his own personal time to give tours of the Lincoln Memorial to employees, reporters, and the general public several times per month because he believes the more people who experience our parks, the better.”

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The unnamed FBI source that President Donald Trump hopes to hunt down reportedly met with another Trump campaign adviser as a government informant in 2016.

The Washington Post reported Friday that in addition to Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, which the New York Times first reported Wednesday, the FBI informant also met with campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis.

The informant reportedly met Clovis for coffee in Northern Virginia in the summer of 2016 and offered to provide foreign policy expertise to the Trump campaign.

Described by WaPo as a “retired American professor” and a “longtime U.S. intelligence source,” the FBI informant began working for the agency as it “investigated Russia’s interference in the campaign” and “aided the Russia investigation both before and after special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s appointment in May 2017,” people familiar with his activities said.

However, it’s unknown when exactly the informant began working on the case.

Although Trump took to Twitter Friday to rail against the “all time biggest political scandal” of an FBI informant “implanted” into his campaign, WaPo reports there is “no evidence to suggest someone was planted with the campaign” and that “the source in question engaged in a months-long pattern of seeking out and meeting three different Trump campaign officials.”

WaPo notes that despite confirming the identity of the FBI informant, his name is not being reported in light of the FBI taking steps to protect the informant if their identity is revealed.

Read the full Washington Post report here.

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Michael Cohen fired back Friday on why Michael Avenatti should stay out of his federal court hearing next week.

U.S. Judge Kimba Wood ruled Wednesday that Cohen had to respond to Avenatti’s motion to intervene at a status conference related to the criminal investigation into Cohen’s financial dealings. Wood wrote that Cohen “should include citations to any legal authorities that support his position.”

Citing Avenatti’s “tangential relationship” to the legal dispute, Cohen’s legal team argued in a court filing Friday that Avenatti should be barred from the court hearing due to the “inaccurate statements” he has said about Cohen in violation of court rules.

Although Avenatti publicly released “factually accurate information” on Cohen’s confidential banking transactions, Cohen’s legal team said Avenatti “had no lawful source.”

“Avenatti appears to be primarily focused on smearing Mr. Cohen publicly in his efforts to further his own interest in garnering as much media attention as possible,” Cohen’s lawyers said in the filing, citing Avenatti’s numerous national television appearances.

Shortly after Cohen’s filing, Avenatti responded Friday night on MSNBC that Cohen is only complaining because his team has been making “considerable inroads” on Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against him.

“Of course they want to bar me from the courtroom in the proceeding because we’ve made considerable inroads over the last eight weeks,” Avenatti said. “We’ve disclosed some damaging, accurate information relating to Michael Cohen and his activities. And we’re not going anywhere.”

Read the filing below:

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