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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Eric Trump offered vague explanations for the resignation of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, from his father's team Friday in which Eric alluded to a "distraction looming over the campaign."

"My father didn't want to be you know distracted by whatever things Paul was dealing with," the younger Trump said in a preview of a Fox News interview airing Sunday. The full interview will air on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures on Sunday.

In the preview, Eric Trump went on to praise the "amazing" Manafort for helping the campaign "get to the convention."

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North Carolina's Republican Party has had an interesting response to a recent appeals court ruling that said a number of voting restrictions passed by the state's GOP legislature were enacted with the intent to discriminate against minorities, specifically African Americans. In their scramble after the ruling, party operatives and local Republican officials have perhaps inadvertently provided more evidence that the restrictions were passed with the intent to discriminate.

The most egregious example was a memo sent by North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse to county election officials urging them to continue to push for reductions in voting access, in which he explicitly spelled out a partisan motivation.

The memo came as the state is asking the Supreme Court to reverse the appeal court ruling, and restore for November's election some of the restrictions the appeals court struck down. And it may provide additional fodder for the voting rights advocates fighting the state's restrictions.

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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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