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

House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on Wednesday afternoon called out the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for their failure to fully respond to the committee’s document requests regarding air travel by Trump administration officials.

Cummings said in a letter to the committee’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) that the White House has failed to respond to the committee’s request by the Oct. 31 deadline and said that HHS did not completely fulfill the committee’s document request.

“By now, the White House and HHS should have produced complete manifests with lists of all passengers who joined these flights, as well as the full costs of each flight,” Cummings wrote. “Unfortunately, the White House has provided no response whatsoever to the Committee’s bipartisan follow-up request on October 17, 2017. We have received no manifests, destinations, dates of use, purposes, or costs of trips. We have received no information on why the White House has failed to respond to this Committee’s second request for these documents.”

Without documents from the White House, the Oversight Committee cannot determine how often White House counselor Kellyanne Conway joined former HHS Secretary Tom Price on non-commercial flights, Cummings said. Conway joined Price for several flights on private planes, according to Politico.

While HHS did submit documents to the Oversight Committee, the documents were “so highly redacted that it is impossible to tell which other government officials or non-government officials joined Secretary Price on his charter flights,” Cummings wrote.

“For example, if Ms. Conway in fact joined any of these trips, it appears that her name has been intentionally concealed from these documents to eliminate any public reference to her participation,” Cummings said in the statement.

In the letter to Gowdy on Wednesday, Cummings called on Gowdy to issue subpoenas to the White House and HHS for the documents requested by the committee.

After several Cabinet officials came under scrutiny for using non-commercial planes, the Oversight Committee asked the White House and all departments to turn over their air travel records to the committee. Gowdy threatened to subpoena the Justice Department and Agriculture Department for not complying with the request, extending the deadline until the end of October. It’s not clear if those two agencies have yet to comply with the request. Gowdy also warned several agencies, including HHS, that they had not fully complied with the request.

Price pledged to repay the government for his seats on the non-commercial flights, but Cummings said in his Wednesday letter that neither HHS nor the Treasury Department have provided the committee with a copy of the check.

Check out an example of the documents redacted by HHS published by Cummings:

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CNN host Jake Tapper on Wednesday tore into Fox News for a misleading tweet and headline that took a comment he made about the terrorist attack in New York City out of context.

On Tuesday afternoon, Tapper addressed reports that the suspect yelled “Allahu Akbar” after exiting his vehicle.

“The Arabic chant ‘Allahu Akbar, ‘God is great.’ Sometimes said under the most beautiful of circumstances and too often we hear of it being said in moments like this,” Tapper said on his CNN show.

Fox News pounced on Tapper’s description of the phrase as “beautiful” without noting that Tapper said that it was used in a different way during the Tuesday attack.

Fox News Insider published the headline, “CNN’s Jake Tapper: ‘Allahu Akbar’ Can Be Said Under ‘Most Beautiful’ of Circumstances.” The body of the article uses Tapper’s full quote, but the context is not noted in the headline.

The network promoted the story with a since-deleted tweet that read, “@CNN’s Jake Tapper Says ‘Allahu Akbar’ Is ‘Beautiful’ Right After NYC Terror Attack,” according to the Huffington Post. Fox also shared the story on Facebook with a description that reads, “CNN anchor Jake Tapper said the Islamic phrase ‘Allahu akbar’ can be said ‘under the most beautiful of circumstances’ just minutes after a terrorist attack in New York City.” That social media post is still up.

Tapper tore into Fox News for “lying” and argued that Fox News is transforming into a right-wing outlet similar to InfoWars.

Tapper noted that the misleading headlines started with a post in the Daily Caller.

Fox News updated its story to include an apology from former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who criticized Tapper for calling the phrase “beautiful” on Fox News’ “The Five.”

The network also included a comment from Fox’s Dana Perino, who said that Tapper was trying to point out that terrorists pervert their religion to justify violence.

“I do think it’s important that we don’t talk about the suspect as deranged or mentally ill. He is evil,” Perino said. “And this is about good vs. evil. It’s not about religions vs. religions.”

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday night called for the suspect in Tuesday’s attack in New York City to face the death penalty, continuing his calls for the perpetrator to face harsh consequences for the attack that left eight dead and 11 injured.

Since the attack, Trump has been quick to call for changes to immigration procedures, as well as swift punishment for the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old who came to the U.S. legally from Uzbekistan in 2010.

On Wednesday afternoon, Trump told reporters in the White House that there should be “punishment that’s far quicker, and far greater, than the punishment these animals are getting right now.” Asked if he would consider sending the suspect to Guantanamo Bay, Trump said he would “certainly” consider it.

The President was also quick to blame the attack on the immigration system in the U.S., targeting the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. He called for an end to that program and has called several times for more intense “vetting” of immigrants.

Trump’s speedy reaction and calls for harsh punishment and policy changes differs from the tack he took in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. In that instance, Trump often focused on the law enforcement response to the attack that left nearly 60 people dead. The White House also said it was “premature” to discuss changes to gun control policy a few days after the shooting.

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As GOP leaders in the House have struggled to devise legislation to cut taxes that can win over a majority of their members, House Republicans have also apparently had some trouble naming the bill.

President Donald Trump has pushed to name the bill “The Cut Cut Cut Act,” an unnamed senior administration official told ABC News.

Politico Playbook later reported that Trump wants to name the bill “Cuts, Cuts, Cuts,” and that congressional leaders are not fans of that name.

House leaders initially tasked Trump with naming the bill, but both House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) have both pushed back against the bill name favored by Trump, according to ABC News. Despite this pushback, Trump still wants to name the legislation “The Cut Cut Cut Act,” per ABC News.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, the bill still had not name, and the House Ways and Means Committee will have the final say over the bill name, the senior administration official and a congressional aide told ABC News.

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning suggested using the tax reform bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, echoing comments Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) made earlier this week.

A spokesperson for Cotton confirmed to TPM that the senator spoke with Trump about the proposal over the weekend and that Trump indicated support for the measure.

Cotton told reporters Monday night that he is leading a push to use the tax bill to nix the individual mandate, working with the House and Senate committees leading the process. The senator said that several lawmakers are supportive of the provision.

The senator claimed that repealing the individual mandate would save the federal government $300 billion over 10 years without causing any Americans to lose their health insurance. As TPM has pointed out, the Congressional Budget Office found in 2011 that nixing the individual mandate would save the government money because fewer people would purchase health insurance. Healthy people would leave the insurance market, causing premiums to rise and leaving insurance coverage unaffordable for sicker Americans, that same report found.

Trump published the tweets on nixing the individual mandate on the first day of open enrollment during his presidency. The administration plans to promote open enrollment by sending notices and text messages encouraging people to enroll or re-enroll and staffing call centers at the same level the government did last year. However, the administration has axed partnerships with outside groups to promote open enrollment and has made significant cuts to the Health and Human Services’ overall budget for Obamacare promotion and education.

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President Donald Trump will meet with a handful of Republican senators on Thursday to discuss legislation to restore the protections in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Politico reported Tuesday.

Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told Politico that it’s not yet clear how many senators will attend the meeting at the White House.

“The purpose of the meeting is for us to hear from the President his views of some of the thoughts that we have,” Grassley told Politico. “I can’t say there’s much progress being made, because we’ve got to sit down with the Democrats. There’s no way a partisan bill is going to pass.”

The Trump administration announced in September that it would roll back DACA in March and called on Congress to come up with a legislative fix by then. Members on both sides of the aisle have begun discussing proposals, but there’s not yet any clear consensus plan on either side.

Though Trump initially signaled he would be willing to sign a bill restoring DACA without funding for his border wall, the administration has since sent mixed signals, leaving it unclear what kind of bill Trump would sign.

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In a new filing Tuesday, special counsel Robert Mueller argued that Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign aides indicted recently, are a flight risk given the serious nature of the charges, the wealth of the two men, and their extensive travel history.

“As explained below and at the initial appearance in this matter on October 30, 2017, the defendants pose a risk of flight based on the serious nature of the charges, their history of deceptive and misleading conduct, the potentially significant sentences the defendants face, the strong evidence of their guilt, their significant financial resources, and their foreign connections,” the court filing reads.

The document also reveals what federal investigators know about the assets held by Manafort and Gates. Manafort has given various estimates of his wealth between 2012 and 2017, between $19 million and $136 million, with the number fluctuating several times between 2016 and 2017. Most recently, Gates listed his personal liquid assets at $25 million in February 2016 and at $2.2 million in March 2016.

Mueller noted that both have traveled abroad extensively and revealed that Manafort currently has three U.S. passports with different numbers. Manafort has applied for a passport ten times in the last ten years, per the court filing.

Both Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty on Monday to all 12 counts handed down in the indictment alleging a money-laundering scheme. Both have been placed in home confinement with bond set at $10 million for Manafort and $5 million for Gates.

Correction: This post originally referred to the bail filing as unsealed on Tuesday. Mueller filed it Tuesday, but it was never sealed.

Read the court filing:

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote in a letter to the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday that Congress should make sexual harassment training mandatory for all new employees and those who have not received it.

“I am convinced that sexual harassment training is vitally important to maintaining a respectful and productive work environment in Congress,” he wrote in a letter obtained by Politico.

Some offices require staffers to attend the training, but it’s not mandatory for all staffers on Capitol Hill.

Grassley’s push for mandatory sexual harassment training comes after Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) complained last week about the process for reporting sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill.

The congresswoman shared in a video that she was the victim of an unwanted sexual advance by another staffer senior to her. She also told Politico last week that she plans to introduce legislation to change the process for reporting sexual misconduct, arguing that the system in place now is “toothless” and “a joke.”

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Following an attack in New York City on Tuesday that left eight people dead and 11 injured, President Donald Trump quickly called for the Department of Homeland Security to intensify its vetting procedures for immigrants.

Trump also linked the attack to the Islamic State, even though authorities had yet to determine that the suspect has any ties to the terrorist group. NBC News reported that law enforcement found a note from the suspect indicating he carried out the attack on behalf of the Islamic State, but that report surfaced after Trump published his tweet.

Trump did offer his condolences to the victims of the attack, but only after linking the attack to the Islamic State.

Authorities have identified the suspect in the attack as Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old man from Uzbekistan who immigrated to the U.S. legally. Uzbekistan is not one of the countries listed in the Trump administration’s travel ban targeting majority Muslim countries.

Saipov drove a rented truck down a bike path in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, mowing down people before exiting the vehicle. He then pulled out two handguns and yelled “God is great” in Arabic, according to law enforcement.

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday afternoon indicated that the administration will stand by Sam Clovis as the nominee to be the top scientist at the Agriculture Department, even though court documents and subsequent news reports revealed that Clovis encouraged a Trump campaign staffer to travel to Russia to meet with government officials.

“I’m not aware that any change would be necessary at this time,” Sanders told reporters at the daily press briefing when asked about the status of Clovis’ nomination.

Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts (R-KS), who oversees USDA nominations, told Politico that his plans to hold Clovis’ confirmation hearing on Nov. 9 has not changed.

“I don’t think he’s a target of any investigation,” Roberts said.

Court documents from the guilty plea of George Papadopolous, a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, revealed that a “campaign supervisor” encouraged Papadopolous to travel to Russia. The Washington Post identified the “campaign supervisor” as Clovis, and his attorney, Victoria Toensing, confirmed it. Toensing told the Post that Clovis “always vigorously opposed any Russian trip for Donald Trump and/or the campaign” and that his emails to Papadopoulos were the result of him being “a polite gentleman from Iowa.”

Since the release of court documents on Monday, the White House has downplayed Papadopolous’ role in the campaign. On Tuesday, Sanders told reporters that Papadopolous lied to federal investigators, which should reflect on him, not on the campaign. She added that the Trump campaign cooperated with the federal probe and handed over Papadopolous’ emails to investigators.

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