Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

Republican Ed Gillespie’s loss in the Virginia gubernatorial race Tuesday night left some Virginia Republicans concerned about the party’s future, but Steve Bannon insisted Wednesday night that Democratic gains in Virginia don’t spell trouble for the GOP as a whole.

“Virginia, because of northern Virginia, is really not a purple state anymore. It’s a blue state,” Bannon told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “When Donald Trump wins 304 electoral votes and wins states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, and comes in one point in Minnesota, when he loses Virginia by five points, it shows you how blue it is.”

Bannon said he never had “confidence” that Trump would win in Virginia in the 2016 election.

Though he suggested that a Republican didn’t have a chance of winning a statewide vote in Virginia, Bannon also argued that Gillespie would have performed better had he embraced Trump more. He said that Corey Stewart, a Trump-aligned Virginia Republican who lost to Gillespie in the gubernatorial primary, would have had a better shot.

“What we had is an establishment candidate. Ed Gillespie won a primary, a very hard-fought primary, versus Cory Stewart, and then really didn’t try to embrace President Trump or really the Trump program until very late when he just kind of basically talked about some of the issues, which I thought he should try to do more of,” Bannon told Hannity, adding that Gillespie never campaigned with Trump or Stewart.

“Gillespie needed to embrace Trump much more,” Bannon added later.

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Although several women had accused then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment, forcing him to pay out large settlements to his accusers, Fox News stood by O’Reilly, one of the network’s most prominent figures, until April of this year.

A document published by the British government on Wednesday revealed that O’Reilly’s contract with Fox News barred the network from firing O’Reilly over sexual harassment accusations unless the allegations were proven in court. Fox News had to stand by O’Reilly for the remainder of his contract unless one of his accusers won in court.

Jacques Nasser, an independent director on the board of 21st Century Fox, told the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority about the contract provision, according to a summary of his remarks at an October hearing published by the authority.

The Competition and Markets Authority is reviewing 21st Century Fox’s bid to acquire British news outlet Sky News. Fox has seen scrutiny from British regulators over the way the company handled sexual harassment claims against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and O’Reilly.

Nasser said that 21st Century Fox’s board was aware of the settlements O’Reilly paid to his accusers, though not the specific sums, and that the board did not act on the allegations against O’Reilly in part due to the contract provision. Nasser said that some board members wanted to fire O’Reilly immediately, while others wanted to wait for his contract renewal. Ultimately, the board made sure that when O’Reilly’s contract was renewed, it did not include a clause barring the company from firing him over allegations, Nasser said.

A few months later, O’Reilly left the network. He was ousted from Fox News after the New York Times revealed in April that O’Reilly or the company had paid settlements to five women who accused him of sexual harassment. The Times then reported in October that O’Reilly had paid a $32 million settlement to a former Fox News analyst who accused O’Reilly of sexual misconduct in January, only about a month before Fox renewed his contract.

The Competition and Markets Authority is reviewing the possible merger following a review from the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom. In an August letter, Ofcom wrote that its review of Fox found “significant corporate failures” when it came to “alleged behaviors.” The letter did not specify the allegations, but it’s possible Ofcom was referring to the way Fox handled sexual harassment allegations.

H/t Bloomberg News

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Diverse Democratic candidates scored wins on Tuesday night in cities and states across the country, with female, transgender, and minority candidates making history by winning public office.

Take a look at some of the Democrats who made history Tuesday night with their election victories:

Danica Roem

Democrat Danica Roem (pictured above) became one of the first openly transgender women to win public office when she unseated incumbent Virginia Republican state Del. Robert Marshall, who drafted a “bathroom bill” in the state.

Roem will be the first person to campaign as an openly transgender person to take a seat in a statehouse. Stacie Laughton was the first openly transgender woman to win a seat on a state legislature in a 2012 New Hampshire race, but she never took office. Althea Garrison, a transgender woman served a term in the Massachusetts state legislature but did not run as an openly transgender person.

“To every person who has ever been singled out, who has ever been stigmatized, who has ever been the misfit, who has ever been the kid in the corner, who has ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own,” Roem told supporters Tuesday night. “This is for you.”

Joyce Craig


Democrat Joyce Craig became the first female mayor of Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire, when she defeated incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas. Manchester saw its largest election turnout this decade, helping propel Craig to victory, according the Union Leader.

Vi Lyles

Charlotte, North Carolina elected Vi Lyles mayor on Tuesday, making her the first female African-American mayor of the city. The Democrat defeated Republican Kenny Smith by more than 15 points, according to unofficial returns.

“With this opportunity you’ve given me, you’ve proven that we are a city of opportunity and inclusiveness,” Lyles said Tuesday night, according to the Charlotte Observer. “You’ve proven that a woman whose father didn’t graduate from high school can become this city’s first female African-American mayor.”

Andrea Jenkins

Deebaa Sirdar (left) and Sara Lopez (right) took a selfie with Andrea Jenkins. Jenkins, is the first transgender woman of color elected to public office. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com - November 2, 2017, Minneapolis, MN - Third Ward city council race -
Deebaa Sirdar (left) and Sara Lopez (right) took a selfie with Andrea Jenkins. Jenkins, is the first transgender woman of color elected to public office. CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com

Andrea Jenkins became the first openly transgender black woman to win public office on Tuesday when she won a seat on the Minneapolis City Council.

Jenny Durkan

Seattle voters on Tuesday night elected the city’s first openly lesbian woman to be the city’s mayor, Jenny Durkan. The Democrat is also the first woman to serve as Seattle mayor since 1926.

Justin Fairfax

Democrat Lt. Gov.-elect Justine Fairfax addresses the Ralph Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Democrat Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax addresses the Ralph Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Democrat Justin Fairfax became the second African-American man to win statewide office in Virginia when he won the lieutenant governor race. Former Gov. Doug Wilder was the first African-American to hold statewide office in Virginia.

Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman

Virginia also elected its first two Latina state delegates when Democrats Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman won their elections.

Sheila Oliver

New Jersey voters elected their first female African-American lieutenant governor Tuesday night, Sheila Oliver. The Democrat was also the first black woman to serve as the New Jersey state assembly speaker.

“This may not be the first glass ceiling I have broken, but it is certainly the highest,” Oliver said Tuesday night, according to the Huffington Post. “And I hope somewhere in this great state of New Jersey, a young girl of color is watching tonight and realizing that she does not have a limit to how high she can go.”

Tyler Titus

Pennsylvania elected its first openly transgender person to public office when Tyler Titus won a seat on the Erie School Board.

Ravi Bhalla

Hoboken, New Jersey elected its first Sikh mayor Tuesday night, Ravi Bhalla. He is one of the first Sikhs to win a mayoral race in the U.S., following in the footsteps of former Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja.

Bhalla faced racist flyers in the last days of the campaign that read, “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town.”

Wilmot Collins

Wilmot Collins became Montana’s first black mayor when he won the mayoral race in Helena Tuesday night. Collins came to the U.S. in 1994 as a refugee from Liberia and now works for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Melvin Carter

St. Paul, Minnesota, elected its first black mayor Tuesday night, Melvin Carter.

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday called into a meeting between two White House aides and a group of Senate Democrats to attempt to assure the Democrats that the Republican tax cut bill will not benefit him or other rich Americans, according to reports from NBC News and the Washington Post.

Trump told those present at the meeting that he had spoken with his personal accountant about the legislation, who told the President that he would suffer financially as a result of the bill, people in the room told the Washington Post and NBC News.

“My accountant called me and said ‘you’re going to get killed in this bill,'” Trump said, according to NBC News.

Trump also claimed that the legislation will hurt rich people in general, despite analysis from experts indicating that the plan will benefit wealthy Americans and corporations.

“The deal is so bad for rich people, I had to throw in the estate tax just to give them something,” he said, according to the Washington Post.

Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, was present at the meeting and confirmed Trump’s general comments to NBC News. Short told NBC that Trump was discussing individual tax rates and that the repeal of the estate tax is a separate issue.

Trump’s call to the Democrats came as they huddled with Short and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, to discuss the tax bill.

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Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, said on Tuesday night that he now remembers receiving an email from Carter Page about a trip to Moscow despite claiming in March that he did not grant Page permission to take the trip.

Page told the House Intelligence Committee last week that he informed Lewandowski in an email about his plans to travel to Moscow in July 2016. Page said that Lewandowski approved of the trip as long as Page did not go as a representative of the Trump campaign.

Back in March, Lewandowski distanced himself from Page when the former campaign adviser first claimed that the Trump campaign had approved the Moscow trip. Lewandowski told Fox News in March that he had never met Page and told USA Today that he did not grant anyone permission to travel to Russia.

“I’m very clear about this,” he told USA Today. “I granted nobody permission to do that.”

He was less sure whether he emailed with Page, telling USA Today in March, “I can’t say unequivocally I’ve never responded to an email to somebody.”

Lewandowski changed his tune slightly on Tuesday night.

Fox News’ Martha MacCallum asked Lewandowski to “reconcile” Page’s testimony with his claims from March.

“There is no reconciliation necessary,” Lewandowski replied. “To the best of my recollection, I don’t know Carter Page. To the best of my knowledge, Carter Page never had a DonaldTrump.com email address, had no formal role in the campaign that I’m aware of, was never compensated by the campaign.”

He then appeared to say that he did allow Page to take the Moscow trip.

“And so when a low-level volunteer decides that they want to take a trip overseas and doesn’t report to me or work for the organization, what jurisdiction would I potentially have of telling him or her they can or could not travel overseas?” Lewandowski told MacCallum. “All I was clear about was, if you are going to travel, please do not pretend to be part of the campaign and say that you are part of the campaign.”

MacCallum asked Lewandowski to confirm that he does remember the email from Page. In response, Lewandowski said that his memory has just been “refreshed” but that he was too busy at the time to pay much attention to the email.

“Well, no — you have to remember, in the context of the campaign world – now, my memory has been refreshed — but to be clear, from what I understand and what I recall, that email was sent on June 19th of 2016, so about 18 months ago,” he said. “It also happened to be Father’s Day on a Sunday, and it also happened to be the day prior to me being terminated from the campaign, so with all due respect, there were many other things on my mind that day other than trying to understand why a volunteer was telling me he may or may not be traveling outside the country.”

MacCallum asked once more if Lewandowski remembered the email. In response he said that he did not remember the email “at the time” but now recalls seeing it.

“What I recall is now seeing that email has been brought back to my attention. I didn’t recall it at the time,” Lewandowski said.

Watch the interview via Fox News:

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After Democrat Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor race on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump wasted no time in noting that Gillespie did not fully embrace the Trump administration during the campaign.

Trump suggested that the distance Gillespie kept from the administration cost him the governor’s mansion. The President also noted that Republicans won four special elections for House seats this year in an apparent attempt to paint the results in Virginia as a fluke.

Trump backed Gillespie during the Virginia gubernatorial race in several tweets, but he did not hit the campaign trail for the Virginia Republican. Gillespie did not run explicitly as a pro-Trump candidate but employed some ads touting policies favored by Trump.

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Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) told the other lawmakers of the Arizona congressional delegation that she will run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republic and Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The Hill’s Scott Wong confirmed that McSally told her colleagues about her plans to enter the GOP primary.

Flake announced in October that he will not seek re-election in 2018, saying that there “may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party.”

McSally will face off against at least one other Republican in the primary, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, and other Republicans are likely to announce primary bids now that Flake has ducked out. Ward had already announced a primary challenge to Flake in the Republican primary and declared his retirement a “victory.”

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President Donald Trump has brought his love of fast food into the White House.

Trump asked Keith Schiller, his former body man, to get him a meal from the local McDonald’s when the kitchen in the White House was unable to make a burger and fried apple pie to his liking, according to a Politico report out Monday night.

Schiller, a longtime confidante who left the White House in September, acted as a gatekeeper for Trump in the West Wing. While working in the White House, he was often the first person to see Trump in the morning and last to see him at night, insiders told Politico. He also hand-delivered a Trump’s termination letter for former FBI Director James Comey to the bureau’s headquarters. Comey was in California at the time and learned of the firing on TV.

Schiller will sit for an interview with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, where he will face questions about a 2013 trip to Moscow. Schiller accompanied Trump to Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe Pageant while he was the director of security for the Trump Organization. The committee will reportedly ask Schiller about the dossier alleging ties between Trump and Russia — the dossier claims that Russia obtained compromising information about Trump during that 2013 trip.

Correction: This post originally reported that Schiller delivered Trump’s termination letter to Comey. Schiller delivered the letter to the FBI headquarters, but Comey was in California at the time.

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Three former aides to Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) told Politico that the congresswoman ignored complaints from them about her chief of staff’s treatment of women.

The three unnamed ex-staffers, who are all women, told Politico that they did not use the term “sexual harassment” when speaking to Lawrence about their concerns, but said that they told the congresswoman that women in the office were not comfortable around Dwayne Duron Marshall and that he treated women differently than he did male staffers. One aide told Politico that she told the congresswoman about “inappropriate” comments and physical contact from Marshall. The aides said that Marshall often commented on female staffers’ appearance, and one aide said that Marshall would come up behind her and start rubbing her shoulders, per Politico.

Lawrence denied to Politico that she received any sexual harassment complaints, but she said that she did attempt to address concerns about “management-style issues” with “individual personnel actions.”

“I want to be very clear, very firm, that I had no knowledge of any allegations of sexual harassment in my office, and when I say none, I mean none,” Lawrence told Politico. “I have had individual conversations with some of my employees when they had exit interviews. I’ve had one-on-ones and we have discussed things in the office that they felt we could do better. I have implemented training and other positive forms of correction. … But I have not, and I want to be very clear, have not ever, had an employee — former or present — talk to me about sexual harassment in my office.”

Lawrence is a former sexual harassment complaint investigator and recently introduced legislation to require staffers in Congress to take a sexual harassment training course.

Read Politico’s full report here.

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Two top Trump administration officials will head to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet with a group of Senate Democrats about the Republican tax cut plan, according to reports from the Washington Post and CNN.

Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, will discuss potential changes to the Republican tax plan, unnamed people familiar with the meeting told the Washington Post. Short confirmed the meeting to CNN.

He told CNN that Tuesday’s meeting is not the first time the White House has reached out to Democrats about tax reform. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) organized the meeting, both CNN and the Washington Post reported.

At least eight Democrats will attend the meeting, including Manchin and several moderate Democrats up for re-election next year, according to the Washington Post. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will attend the meeting, per the Post.

House Republican leaders unveiled their tax cut legislation last week, and some Republicans in blue states have already balked at a provision that would repeal a deduction for people who live in states with high local taxes, such as New York and California.

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