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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

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Monday night that his committee will conduct oversight over the Defense Department’s investigation into the Air Force’s failure to report the Texas shooter’s criminal history to the FBI.

“The Air Force has acknowledged that after court-martialing and convicting the perpetrator on charges of domestic assault, it failed to report the conviction to the FBI,” McCain said in a statement. “The Senate Armed Services Committee will conduct rigorous oversight of the Department’s investigation into the circumstances that led to this failure. It’s critical that each of the military services take the steps necessary to ensure that similar mistakes have not occurred and will not occur in the future.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Armed Services Committee, also told CNN Tuesday morning that the Senate should investigate the Air Force’s failure and suggested that the reporting failure is part of a large problem.

“There are court-martials, thousands of them, every year, that involve very serious felonies as well as domestic violence misdemeanors. All of them should be reported,” Blumenthal said on CNN’s “New Day.” “The preliminary information available to me is they’re not being reported, and that is a major lapse in the system.”

The gunman in Sunday’s deadly shooting, Devin Patrick Kelley, had a history of domestic violence. He was discharged for bad conduct from the Air Force in 2014 over a 2012 assault on his ex-wife. Kelley choked his ex-wife and hit her son hard enough to fracture his skull, and served a year of confinement. The Air Force is required by law to report crimes like assault to the FBI but failed to do so.

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President Donald Trump argued Tuesday morning that tougher restrictions on buying guns could have actually made the Sunday shooting in Texas deadlier, given that a bystander with a gun helped stop the shooter.

During a press conference in South Korea, Trump was asked if he would support increased “vetting” for those looking to purchase a gun in the wake of the Texas shooting that left 26 people dead, including several children. The President suggested it may not be an “appropriate question” given that he is in South Korea but responded anyway.

“If you did what you are suggesting it would have made no difference three days ago. And you might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun or a rifle in his truck go out and shoot him and hit him and neutralize him,” Trump said. “And I can only say this, if he didn’t have a gun, instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead. So that’s the way I feel about it.”

The gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley, on Sunday opened fire in a Texas church, killing 26 and wounding about 20 others. After leaving the church, Kelley was confronted by a nearby resident with a gun, police said. He was found dead with three gunshot wounds, including at least one self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

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The British government’s communications regulator ruled on Monday that the Fox News programs anchored by Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson breached the UK’s impartiality rules in segments that aired earlier this year.

The regulator, Ofcom, found that the segments did not provide adequate view points even as opinion programs and therefore broke “due impartiality” standards.

The ruling comes as the British government considers 21st Century Fox’s — the parent company of Fox News — bid to buy British outlet Sky News. Fox has faced significant scrutiny from British regulators after top officials at Fox resigned amid sexual harassment allegations and Fox News faced a lawsuit alleging that the network worked with members of the Trump administration to push a conspiracy theory about a murder DNC staffer.

In September, Ofcom found that “alleged behaviors” at 21st Century Fox were “concerning,” but said that their findings did not warrant additional review. Ofcom also reviewed programs like “Hannity” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” due to complaints about the programs, but found that the shows did not have to meet a “due accuracy requirement” since they are not news programs. The British competition watchdog is now reviewing the proposed merger.

Fox News stopped airing its programs in the UK in August, but Ofcom said Monday that it reviewed outstanding complaints “to ensure there is a complete compliance record and to facilitate public understanding of the Code.”

The regulator found that Hannity’s January 31 segment on President Donald Trump’s travel ban “didn’t include a sufficiently wide range of views, and any alternative opinions put forward during the discussion were dismissed by the presenter.” Ofcom ruled that “Tucker Carlson Tonight” breached impartiality rules with a May 25 segment on the bombing at a concert in Manchester, England because a “discussion about the UK’s security policies did not include an adequate range of viewpoints.”

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White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Monday morning accused liberals of too quickly politicizing mass shootings but never doing anything to help victims.

During an interview on “Fox and Friends,” co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked Conway about tweets from comedian Chelsea Handler criticizing Republicans in the wake of the deadly shooting in Texas.

Conway first told Earhardt that she would not “dignify” Handler’s comment with a response because the tweet was “so beyond any type of reasonable response that anyone should have.” But Conway then proceeded to criticize liberals’ reactions to mass shootings, questioning why “people see politics immediately.”

“It’s just like I said in Las Vegas over a month ago. You had families literally still looking for their loved ones through the rubble and the remains in Las Vegas running from hospital to hospital. There were people who were were injured who then went on to pass away,” Conway said. “And yet people are taking to Twitter in the comfort of their very luxurious lives pointing fingers. And as far as can I tell never really help in between the tweet-storms, never really help charities, never help people to heal, never try to reach across for understanding.”

She blasted people who “see politics and Trump derangement in every single thing they do,” arguing that it’s “disrespectful to the dead.”

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Following the deadly shooting Sunday in Texas, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) issued a lengthy statement calling on Congress to enact gun control legislation.

Murphy, one of the most vocal gun control advocates in Congress, tore into Republican lawmakers who vote in favor of gun lobbyists.

“The paralysis you feel right now – the impotent helplessness that washes over you as news of another mass slaughter scrolls across the television screen – isn’t real. It’s a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby, designed to assure that no laws are passed to make America safer, because those laws would cut into their profits,” he said in a statement.

“My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach, once again, when I heard of today’s shooting in Texas,” Murphy continued. “My heart dropped further when I thought about the growing macabre club of families in Las Vegas and Orlando and Charleston and Newtown, who have to relive their own day of horror every time another mass killing occurs.”

He wrote that mass shootings are not “inevitable” and that the mass carnage from guns is unique to the United States.

“As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets,” he said in the statement. “Ask yourself – how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents.”

Read the full statement from Murphy:

The paralysis you feel right now – the impotent helplessness that washes over you as news of another mass slaughter scrolls across the television screen – isn’t real. It’s a fiction created and methodically cultivated by the gun lobby, designed to assure that no laws are passed to make America safer, because those laws would cut into their profits. My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach, once again, when I heard of today’s shooting in Texas. My heart dropped further when I thought about the growing macabre club of families in Las Vegas and Orlando and Charleston and Newtown, who have to relive their own day of horror every time another mass killing occurs.

None of this is inevitable. I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into the hands of dangerous people, these killings will not abate.

As my colleagues go to sleep tonight, they need to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets. Ask yourself – how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents.

My heart breaks for Sutherland Springs. Just like it still does for Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Charleston. And Aurora. And Blacksburg. And Newtown. Just like it does every night for Chicago. And New Orleans. And Baltimore. And Bridgeport. The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic. The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something.

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Kentucky Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover (R) on Sunday resigned from his position as speaker following a report that he settled a complaint from a staffer alleging sexual harassment.

Though Hoover resigned from his leadership position, he said that he will remain a state representative.

“To say that the past few weeks and days have been trying and difficult for me and my family would be an understatement,” he said at a press conference. “I ask for your forgiveness.”

The Courier-Journal reported last week that Hoover reached a confidential settlement with a female staffer who accused Hoover of sexual harassment. The allegation also involved Hoover’s chief of staff and three other state representatives, according to the Courier-Journal. The report prompted Republican Gov. Matt Bevin to call for any state lawmaker who had settled a sexual harassment claim to resign.

In the Sunday press conference, Hoover acknowledged that he received a complaint and reached a settlement following a mediation. He said that the settlement was confidential, barring him from addressing the situation at first. Hoover stressed that the complaint contained “allegations” and denied that he sexually harassed anyone.

“At no time did I engage in unwelcome or unwanted conduct of any kind,” he said.
“At no time were there any sexual relations.”

However, he did acknowledged that he sent “inappropriate” text messages.

“I did make mistakes, in that I engaged in inappropriate text messages. I engaged in banter that was consensual, yet no mistake, it was wrong on my part to do that. And for that I am truly sorry,” Hoover said.

He also suggested that there had been some kind of effort to force him out as speaker.

“I leave this speaker’s position with no animosity toward anyone. Not even those who have been working and conspiring for months for this result. Nor against those who have used this as an opportunity tot personal, selfish political gain,” Hoover said.

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President Donald Trump said Monday morning that the Sunday shooting in Texas is a “mental health problem,” signaling that the administration would again be unwilling to pursue gun control measures in the wake of another deadly mass shooting.

“I think that mental health is your problem here. This was a very — based on preliminary reports —very deranged individual. A lot of problems over a long period of time,” Trump said at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when asked about gun control.

“This isn’t a guns situation. I mean we could go into it, but it’s a little bit soon to go into it. But fortunately somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it would have been, as bad as it was, it would have been much worse,” he continued. “But this is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.”

A gunman on Sunday opened fire in a small church in southern Texas, killing 26 and injuring about 20 others. The alleged shooter, Devin Kelley, who has yet to be officially identified by police, received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force for assaulting his wife and child.

Trump’s comments Monday morning echo his administration’s response to the deadly shooting in Las Vegas in October. Trump at the time focused on the police response to the shooting and the gunman’s mental health issues, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was too early to talk about gun control the day following the shooting.

 

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After a military judge ruled Friday that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will not face prison time for walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009, President Donald Trump was quick to call the decision a disgrace.

The President’s criticism of the decision was one of many tweets he published while aboard Air Force One on his way to Hawaii.

Trump has called for Bergdahl to face significant punishment for leaving his post, a decision that led to injuries for his fellow soldiers as they searched for him. The judge in the case said that he would consider Trump’s harsh comments about Bergdahl as a mitigating factor in the sentencing.

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Friday introduced a resolution calling on special counsel Robert Mueller to step aside from the Russia probe, claiming that Mueller is “hopelessly compromised” because he ran the FBI when it was investigating a Russian nuclear energy company.

In his statement on the resolution, Gaetz appears to be referring to an October report in The Hill that the FBI was investigating a bribery scheme at a Russian nuclear energy firm and its arm in the U.S. A spokesperson for an unnamed informant who allegedly spoke to the FBI about this scheme told The Hill that the informant had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the FBI, barring him from talking to Congress. Gaetz also criticized Mueller for not bringing charges against the Russian firm while he was running the FBI.

“These deeply troubling events took place when Mr. Mueller was the director of the FBI. As such, his impartiality is hopelessly compromised. He must step down immediately,” Gaetz said in a statement.

The resolution itself also mentions donations to the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees received by former President Bill Clinton while the Obama administration was considering a deal to allow the Russian nuclear energy agency to acquire a stake in Uranium One, a Canadian company with uranium extraction operations in the U.S. President Donald Trump and conservatives have railed against Hillary Clinton over the Uranium One deal in recent weeks as Mueller’s Russia probe has intensified. Clinton was secretary of state when the deal was approved, but she did not have sole power over the deal.

In the resolution, Gaetz argues that Muller is compromised because he “has a personal or political relationship” with an “organization substantially involved in the conduct that is subject of the investigation” and argued that Mueller’s participation in the Russia probe “would create an appearance of conflict of interest likely to affect public perception of the integrity of the investigation.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) have joined Gaetz as co-sponsors of the resolution, according to Gaetz’s statement.

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President Donald Trump on Friday morning said that he does not “remember much” about a meeting during the 2016 campaign attended by George Papadopoulos, the former campaign aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Kremlin-linked individuals during the 2016 race.

“I don’t remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting. Took place a long time — don’t remember much about it,” Trump told reporters Friday morning outside the White House when asked about the Papadopolous meeting.

Trump does not clearly recall the meeting despite having “one of the greatest memories of all time,” as he boasted just last week.

Asked again about the Russia probe, Trump told reporters that there was “no collusion” and that the media should focus more on Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

Since Papadopoulos’ guilty plea was unsealed on Monday, Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have come under scrutiny for a meeting they attended with Papadopoulos and other advisers in March 2016. Papadopoulos says he suggested that Trump meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the campaign meeting, claiming that he had connections to help set it up.

CNN reported Wednesday that Trump did not agree to or reject the meeting when the idea was raised byP apadopoulos, citing an unnamed source in the room. CNN and NBC News both reported that Sessions rejected the idea during the March 2016 meeting.

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