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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Michael Hayden, the ex-director of the National Security Agency and former head of the CIA, criticized Donald Trump on Tuesday for saying that "Second Amendment people" could stop Hillary from nominating Supreme Court justices. If someone "outside of the hall" said the same thing, Hayden argued, that person would "be in the back of a police wagon now, with the Secret Service questioning him."

"It suggests either a very bad taste reference to political assassination and an attempt at humor, or an incredible insensitivity," Hayden said on CNN's The Lead With Jake Tapper, via Media Matters. "It may be the latter, an incredible insensitivity to the prevalence of political assassination inside of American history, and how that is a topic that we don't ever come close to, even when we think we're trying to be light-hearted."

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The Donald Trump campaign offered an explanation of an allusion the GOP nominee made to "the Second Amendment people" preventing Hillary Clinton from appointing Supreme Court justices — a line widely interpreted to be a reference to assassination — by arguing that Trump actually meant that the political power of Second Amendment supporters would stop Clinton.

"It’s called the power of unification – 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump," Jason Miller, Trump's senior communications advisor, said in a statement to reporters Tuesday.

The statement was titled: "Trump Campaign Statement On Dishonest Media."

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A new study suggests that low-income people living in states with Obamacare's Medicaid expansion are healthier than those in states without it, the New York Times reported. The study's authors — who published their results in JAMA Internal Medicine Monday — were hesitant to say that Medicaid expansion prompted the results, the Times said, but the low-income people surveyed in expansion states Kentucky and Arkansas reported feeling healthier than those in Texas, a non-expansion state. The study comes as another report released Monday by the Urban Institute estimated that for every $1 state spends on its Medicaid expansion program, it brings in $7 to $8 in federal spending.

Currently, 19 states have refused to expand Medicaid.

The health survey found that respondents in Kentucky and Arkansas were, by nearly 5 percentage points, more likely to report being in excellent health than those in Texas. They were also less likely to skip taking medication due to costs, less likely to visit the emergency room and more likely to have access to primary care.

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Donald Trump’s delegitimizing attacks against Hillary Clinton may not help him win the White House, but they could lay a foundation for Republicans in 2017 and beyond to obstruct her agenda if she is elected.

Trump is borrowing a page from a Republican playbook, after all, that dates back to allegations against President Bill Clinton and, of course, claims that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and actually is Muslim. But while his tactics set the stage for a repeat of the Obama era of knee-jerk obstruction, Trump goes far beyond even birtherism, which he played a large part in stoking during the 2012 election cycle, when he suggests that a hypothetical victory for Clinton in November could only be the result of a fraudulent election.

"Much more alarming is the language about the election rigged," Theda Skocpol, a professor of government and sociology at Harvard University, told TPM.

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Under a seldom used provision of Kansas law, a local Democrat has successfully filed a petition with enough signatures to trigger a state grand jury investigation of Secretary of State Kris Kobach – though it's not clear whether the grand jury probe will proceed and it's universally agreed that there's no evidence Kobach committed any crimes.

The strange turn in Kansas comes as Kobach is fighting legal battles on multiple fronts to enforce stricter voting laws for this year's elections.

County officials in Kansas told the Associated Press Thursday that a petition to have Kobach investigated by a grand jury had attained enough signatures to allow a criminal investigation under Kansas law. The petition, filed by Democrat Steven X. Davis, who is a failed candidate for the state House, alleges that Kobach's office committed election fraud and voter suppression, though, even the civil rights groups critical of the restrictive laws pushed by Kobach said they did not believe he committed any crimes, according to the AP.

With Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew confirming with the AP that Davis' petition had received the number of required signatures, the matter will next be reviewed by the county's top judge. Kansas is one of six states that allows citizens to petition for grand jury criminal investigation, but the process is rarely used, the AP said.

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