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Esme Cribb

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Esme

After Democrats swept state-level elections on Tuesday night to win decisive victories from coast to coast, Fox News appeared to seek bliss in ignorance.

The network’s star host Tucker Carlson sounded maudlin as he announced that the network was calling Virginia’s gubernatorial race for Democratic candidate Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D), breaking the news without any of his usual abrasive bombast.

“We’ve got breaking news here. Okay. We are now reporting that Ralph Northam has won the Virginia governor’s race,” Carlson said. “Ralph Northam, the Democrat, beating Ed Gillespie. With 58 percent in, we are projecting that he is the winner tonight.”

Fox News host Sean Hannity promised to cover election results on his show, but ultimately did so for all of six seconds.

“Let’s talk about those results in Virginia, New Jersey, New York, by the way,” Hannity said, listing states that Democrats won, and added for the network’s most prominent viewer, “Not states Donald Trump won.”

Hannity then dropped the subject for the rest of his show.

Newly minted Fox News host and conservative radio host Laura Ingraham spared Republican nominee Ed Gillespie a brief mention, and somehow managed to bring up Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.

Clinton was not running for office on Tuesday, and has said she is “done with being a candidate.”

Shannon Bream, host of “Fox News Tonight,” similarly managed to bring up the firm behind the so-called Trump dossier that alleges ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, a document which played no part in Tuesday’s elections.

On Wednesday morning, the network continued its myopic focus on anything but the previous day’s elections.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Fox News’ homepage had just two references to the previous day’s elections, both relegated to the page’s periphery.

On top of it all, the cable network ran a chyron about Gillespie’s loss that was strikingly similar to President Donald Trump’s criticism of the candidate’s strategy.

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Top congressional Democrats on Wednesday said the party’s coast-to-coast victories on Election Day show that the “door is certainly open” for a similar triumph in the 2018 midterm elections.

“The door is certainly open for us,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters.

She compared President Donald Trump’s present approval ratings to former President George W. Bush’s job approval in 2005.

“In ’05, right now, we have President Bush down to 38 percent,” Pelosi said. “That’s approximately where President Trump is now. That opens the door. That means we get the fresh recruits and they get the retirements.”

Democratic candidates won the House, the Senate and a majority of state-level races in 2006, when Pelosi was nominated as her party’s candidate for House speaker.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Tuesday’s results should worry elected Republicans.

“In 2005, I was head of the DSCC,” he said, referring to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “And you could smell a wave coming. The results last night smell exactly the same way. Our Republican friends better look out.”

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Wednesday said Republicans are sticking with President Donald Trump and his policies, despite a thorough state-level rout Tuesday night as Democrats won coast-to-coast victories.

“Democrats are saying, this is the beginning of our turnaround. What do you take from Ed Gillespie’s significant loss yesterday?” Fox News host Brian Kilmeade asked Ryan on his radio show, referring to the Virginia gubernatorial race.

“Obviously, you know, Democrats are going to do that, and we would be saying the same kind of thing,” Ryan said. “That’s the way the spin works on these things.”

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) swept to a blowout victory in Virginia’s gubernatorial race over former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.

Ryan said the election results show that Republicans need to pass legislation.

“We’ve got to get our job done,” he said.

Asked whether elected Republican officials are having second thoughts about adopting Trump’s policies and positions wholesale after their Election Day rout, Ryan said Republicans “already made that choice.”

“Is it going to be a choice for Republicans, Bush or Trump?” Kilmeade asked, referring to former President George W. Bush.

“We already made that choice. We’re with Trump. We already made that choice. That’s a choice we made at the beginning of the year. That’s a choice we made during the campaign,” Ryan said. “We ran on a joint agenda with Donald Trump.”

Voters rejected that agenda on Tuesday, and Democratic candidates swept statewide offices, beating Republican candidates who adopted Trump’s rhetoric and policies as their own.

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President Donald Trump on Sunday said he was “monitoring the situation” at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a gunman opened fire and killed multiple people.

“May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas,” Trump tweeted. “The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.”

Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt on Sunday told the Wilson County News that the killer was “taken down,” and multiple people were killed and multiple people were injured.

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Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Sunday said Russia had “what appeared to be a fairly organized effort” to reach out to members of President Donald Trump’s campaign.

“What we did see this week, though, was one more example of at least where the Russians had what appeared to be a fairly organized effort in terms of trying to reach out to folks affiliated with the Trump campaign to share “dirt” or emails about Hillary Clinton,” Warner said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

“Have you interviewed George Papadopoulos?” Chuck Todd asked, referring to Trump’s former campaign adviser who pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI.

“Listen, I’m not going to talk about which witnesses that we’ve seen or not seen,” Warner said. “But the chairman and I did indicate that Mr. Papadopoulos had been on our screen for a long time.”

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Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez on Sunday said charges that Hillary Clinton was “incapacitated” by illness as the 2016 Democratic nominee are “ludicrous.”

“The charge that Hillary Clinton was somewhere incapacitated is quite frankly ludicrous,” Perez said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

Donna Brazile, the former interim chair of the DNC, on Sunday said she “was under tremendous pressure after Secretary Clinton fainted to have a quote unquote plan B” to replace Clinton as the party’s nominee.

“I don’t know what Donna Brazile fell for. But all I know is under the rules and bylaws of the Democratic National Committee, she couldn’t have done this,” Perez said. “Hillary Clinton was anything but incapacitated. She was tireless. She was a work horse.”

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Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross owns holdings in a shipping company that has business ties to a Russian gas company part-owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, according to several reports published Sunday.

The Guardian reported, citing documents and public filings from the Paradise Papers, a trove of 13.4 million files leaked from offshore law firm Appleby, that Ross has a stake in the shipping company Navigator, which operates a partnership with Russian gas company Sibur.

Putin’s son-in-law Kirill Shamalov is Sibur’s second-largest shareholder.

NBC News reported, citing documents from the Paradise Papers, that Sibur is Navigator’s second-largest client.

According to the Guardian, Ross retained his holdings in Navigator after joining Trump’s cabinet.

Ross in February did not answer questions from six Democratic senators who asked him to disclose “the full extent” of his “connections to Russia.”

Hours after Trump nominated Ross to his cabinet in November 2016, Navigator’s CEO David Butters said Ross assured him their interests were aligned.

“Your interest is aligned to mine,” Ross said, according to Butters’ account to Bloomberg Businessweek. “The U.S. economy will grow, and Navigator will be a beneficiary.”

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President Donald Trump on Saturday said he will likely meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his 12-day trip to Asia.

“I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah,” Trump told reporters, according to a pool report. “We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders.”

Asked whether he thinks North Korea will use his trip abroad as an opportunity to demonstrate a missile test, Trump said, “We’ll soon find out. Good luck!”

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Sunday said he doesn’t think special counsel Robert Mueller should step down from leading the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Will you pledge that you will not allow the Mueller investigation to be curbed or stopped?” Chris Wallace asked Ryan on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Yeah, I’ve said all along, we need to let these career professionals do their jobs, see it through,” Ryan said. “So no, I don’t think he should be stepping down and I don’t think he should be fired, and the President’s made it clear he’s not going to do that.”

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Sunday said Attorney General Jeff Sessions should testify again before the Senate panel about communications between members of President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

“I’m not going to say whether it was a lie or not,” Feinstein said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I think he should come back and clarify it,” she added. “At this stage, he’s got to narrow his recollections. When he comes before the committee again, he has to be precise, and it has to be accurate.”

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