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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The Woodhouse brothers are at it again.

It's not just voting rights advocates who were upset by a North Carolina Republican's memo to election boards officials pushing new voting restrictions. N.C. GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse's own brother called him out on it, blasting the memo as "blatantly racist and completely disgusting" on Twitter.

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Donald Trump's top lawyer had trouble stomaching a hard truth presented to him on CNN Wednesday.

When host Brianna Keilar brought up that new additions to Trump's staff were being perceived as a shake-up, given how poorly the GOP nominee was doing in the polls, Trump Organization special counsel Michael Cohen did not want to believe such polls existed.

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On the heels of appeals court ruling that restored a week's worth of early voting in North Carolina, the executive director of the state's Republican Party emailed a memo to members of local elections boards urging them to push for "party line changes" that cut back on early voting hours, The News and Observer reported.

The memo, sent by NCGOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse on Sunday, said that Republican board members "should fight with all they have to promote safe and secure voting and for rules that are fair to our side."

“Our Republican Board members should feel empowered to make legal changes to early voting plans, that are supported by Republicans,” Woodhouse wrote. “Republicans can and should make party line changes to early voting.”

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For the Hillary Clinton campaign, Donald Trump's most recent campaign shake-up only backed up what they've been telling Republicans: with Trump, what you see is what you get.

"What's become clear that no matter how much the establishment wants to clean Donald Trump up, get him on a teleprompter and get him on message, he has officially won the fight to let Trump be Trump," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters on a press call Wednesday. "He keeps telling us who he is, it is time we believe him."

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John Yoo -- a conservative lawyer and a George W. Bush administration alum who authored the so-called "torture memos" -- warned in an Los Angeles Times op-ed Tuesday that Donald Trump's promise to appoint conservative judges is not enough of a reason to support him. Yoo said the concerns raised about Trump's foreign policy proposals outweighed his vows on judicial appointments.

"While he is shaking up the world, Trump will also nominate conservatives to the federal courts — or so he says. But no one should rely on his vague promises," Yoo wrote. "He has already flip-flopped on numerous core issues, such as the minimum wage, tax rates and entitlement reform. Even when he announced his list of judges in May, Trump would not be pinned down."

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Aetna, a major insurer that announced that it was significantly scaling back its Obamacare exchange participation this week, warned in a letter to Department of Justice sent in July that it would pull out of a significant portion of the marketplaces if its proposed merger with Humana was blocked. The letter was obtained and first reported on by the Huffington Post.

The department had asked how its decision whether to block the merger would affect the insurer's presence on the marketplaces. Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini responded that "if the DOJ sues to enjoin the transaction, we will immediately take action to reduce our 2017 exchange footprint."

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News that Aetna, the county's third largest insurer, is slashing its Affordable Care Act participation is not the Obamacare-apocalypse that Republicans are making it out to be. But, coupled with similar moves by two other large insurance companies, the decision points to legitimate challenges some carriers are facing on the ACA exchanges, industry experts tell TPM.

The marketplaces are still working for other plans, and there's reason to believe the big insurers scaling back now might be willing to give the exchanges another try down the road, the analysts predict. Other issues might require the attention of lawmakers, and the hyper-partisan atmosphere that lingers around the law isn't helping.

Here are five points on what it means for Obamacare that Aetna is scaling back its involvement in the exchanges by 70 percent:

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Texas has decided that it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a major appeals court ruling against its voter ID law.

"To protect the integrity of voting in the State of Texas, our office will appeal the Voter ID ruling of the Fifth Circuit to the United States Supreme Court,” Marc Rylander, a spokesman for state Attorney General Ken Paxton, said in a statement Tuesday.

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It is likely that the judge presiding over a lawsuit Donald Trump brought against a high-profile Washington, DC restaurateur will release video of the deposition Trump gave in the lawsuit, Politico reported Monday. Trump is suing Geoffrey Zakarian over his withdrawal from plans to open a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in the Old Post Office, a decision the chef say he made because of Trump's anti-Latino rhetoric during the presidential campaign. Celebrity chef Jose Andres and Trump are also involved in a legal battle over Andres' decision to back out of his restaurant in the hotel.

The judge in the Zakarian case, D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman, turned down the Trump lawyers' request that video of the deposition he gave in June to Zakarian's lawyers be sealed. Unless Holeman shifts his approach or his decision is overturned by a higher court, the video could become public and thus be used by the Hillary Clinton campaign or Trump's other political rivals for anti-Trump campaign material.

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Call it the August awakening. Republicans are realizing Trump’s “general election” pivot isn’t coming and the damage he is doing is worse than expected.

It’s been months since Trump defeated his primary opponents, weeks since the party’s convention, and yet nary does a day go by that he doesn't engage in some sort of front-page controversy. You know the situation is dire when the Wall Street Journal editorial board is wondering whether it’s time for the GOP to dump its nominee. Vulnerable senators can’t step outside without Trump’s latest comment chasing them down the street.

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