Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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To hear Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach tell it, President Trump’s move to dissolve his voter fraud commission and shift its work to the Department of Homeland Security was actually an own on the libs — who effectively sued the commission into oblivion.

“The investigations will continue now, they won’t be able to stall it through litigation,” Kobach bragged to Breitbart. However the DHS itself is distancing itself from Kobach, who as vice-chair of the commission sought to continue his crusade to gin up fears of mass voter fraud, and the White House hasn’t be able to supply much information in terms of next steps.

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An effort by conservatives to move states away from drawing districts using total population — with a lawsuit civil rights advocates said was designed to dilute the political power of minorities — seemed all but dead a year ago, after the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 against their argument.

However, should the Trump Justice Department get its way in a new push to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, it could breathe new life into the effort. The result could be that some states draw their legislative districts in ways that reduce the voting power of minority communities and boost the power of white ones

As first reported by ProPublica, the Justice Department in a letter last month asked the Census Bureau to include a question about citizenship on its questionnaire. Civil rights groups, social scientists and even Census Bureau officials themselves have said that doing so threatens to depress census participation in immigrant communities. Undercounting those populations will bring about a host of repercussions, given the various uses of census data.

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The hard-line Kansas Secretary of State who led President Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission says its work will be taken over by the Department of Homeland Security, in what he calls a “tactical shift.”

“What’s happening is a tactical shift where the mission of the commission is being handed off to Homeland Security without the stonewalling by Democrats,” Kris Kobach, a champion of restrictive voting laws, told Breitbart News.

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In a surprise move, President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he was dissolving the bogus voter fraud commission he created after claiming without evidence that “millions” of people voted illegally in 2016.

“Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry,” Trump said in a statement via the White House press secretary. “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”

The commission had faced numerous lawsuits, including from one of its own commissioners, since its creation last May. It was vice-chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), who is known for pushing restrictive voting laws.

Civil rights groups worried that it would be use as a pretext to push for voting restrictions that would disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters, while privacy groups object to Kobach’s request for state voter roll information.

The commission met publicly only twice, in July and in September, while Democratic commissioner Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap alleged in a lawsuit that he had been cut out of its internal operations.

Read the full executive order below:


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     By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

     Section 1.  Executive Order 13799 of May 11, 2017 (Establishment of Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity), is hereby revoked, and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is accordingly terminated.

     Sec2.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

     (b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

     (c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party (other than by the United States) against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

                                DONALD J. TRUMP


    January 3, 2018.




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Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Justice Department, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, claiming that Mueller’s investigation had overstepped its authority.

Manafort and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates are currently faced charges of money laundering, tax evasion and failure to disclose foreign lobbying as a part of Mueller’s probe. They have pleaded not guilty.

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A report on HealthCare.Gov enrollment released by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Thursday showed the final number of sign-ups on the federal Obamacare exchanges to be about 100,000 fewer than the numbers released last week.

According to the final HealthCare.gov enrollment report released Thursday, 8.7 million people signed up for or re-enrolled in Obamacare plans on the federal exchanges. That number does not including enrollees in states that operate their own exchanges. CMS said it would be releasing a more detailed report on this year’s enrollment period in March that would include the data from state-based marketplaces.

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A federal judge’s evident annoyance that Rick Gates participated, via a pre-taped video statement, in a fundraiser last week did not stop the organizer of the fundraiser from taking a swing at the judge.

“The actions by this judge to curtail First Amendment free speech rights are nothing short of Stalin-esque,” GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman, who is known for inserting himself in conservative causes célèbres, said in a statement Thursday. “I stand by what I said that night and my inalienable right to be able to say it.”

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Rick Gates’ attorneys argued in a court filing Wednesday that the former Trump campaign aide’s appearance, via a pre-taped video statement, at a fundraiser for his legal defense fund last week was not a violation of a federal judge’s gag order in his criminal case.

The filing also stressed that the fundraiser’s host, Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman, was not speaking on Gates’ behalf when he criticized the prosecutors in the case. It suggested that there would be more fundraisers for Gates’ legal fees to come and that those fundraisers will require “similar sentiments of gratitude” from Gates.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has begun interviews with Republicans National Committee staffers about the committee’s digital operations during the 2016 election, Yahoo News reported Wednesday.

According to Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff, Mueller’s team is examining whether the joint digital operation between the RNC and President Trump’s campaign “was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate.”

The report is based on two sources familiar with Mueller’s investigation.

The RNC did not to TPM’s inquiry, while a spokesperson for the special counsel declined to comment.

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What President Trump suggested is an embattled FBI official’s suspicious run for the exits may actually be a fairly typical career step for the FBI’s upper management, former officials at the bureau told TPM.

Reports over the weekend that Andrew McCabe — the FBI deputy director who has become a target of conservative criticism — is expected to depart early next year drove Trump to weigh in on Twitter.

As the reports mentioned, McCabe will become eligible for a full retirement package in March, and is expected to step down then.

The FBI did not return TPM’s request for comment.

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