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

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said a report by the Washington Post that he considered reversing his decision to nominate Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court was “fake news” based on sources that “don’t exist.”

“I never even wavered and am very proud of him and the job he is doing as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court,” Trump tweeted. “The unnamed sources don’t exist!”

The Washington Post reported Monday night, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the discussions, that Trump was irked by reports that Gorsuch told Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that Trump’s attacks on the federal judge who blocked his travel ban were “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”

According to the report, Trump told several aides that he was tempted to reverse Gorsuch’s nomination over what he perceived as a lack of personal loyalty.

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President Donald Trump has privately told advisers and confidants that he expects to be fully exonerated by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, CNN reported on Monday.

CNN reported, citing multiple unnamed sources who have spoken to Trump, that he has seemed less frustrated by the federal probe in recent weeks, despite his longtime insistence that the investigation is a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

Trump has bragged to friends and advisers, CNN reported, according to unnamed sources familiar with those conversations, that he expects Mueller to “clear him of wrongdoing” and has told associates that he expects the special counsel to put that exoneration in writing.

CNN reported, citing multiple unnamed sources, that despite his newly rosy outlook Trump has also dismissed the investigation as “bulls—” and asserted, “I don’t know any Russians!”

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A former staffer on MSNBC host Chris Matthews’ talk show left the company after accusing Matthews of sexual harassment.

The Daily Caller first reported on Saturday, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the situation, that Matthews paid the “Hardball” assistant producer $40,000 as a settlement after she made the allegation. A spokesperson for MSNBC told the Daily Caller that the company paid a much smaller amount as severance pay.

A spokesperson for MSNBC told TPM that the employee alleged that Matthews made inappropriate remarks about her, and that Matthews was formally reprimanded. According to the spokesperson, the company concluded that Matthews’ remarks were inappropriate, but not intended as propositions.

Matthews would not be the first anchor to face such newly resurfaced allegations in recent months. NBC News in November fired Matt Lauer as host of the “Today” show amid allegations of misconduct, and CBS, PBS and Bloomberg fired Charlie Rose the same month amid allegations of sexual misconduct and unwanted advances.

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Senator-elect Doug Jones (D-AL) on Sunday said “we need to move on and not get distracted by” numerous women’s allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump.

Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether Trump should resign because of the allegations, as some senators have called on him to do, Jones said, “I think we need to move on and not get distracted by those issues. Let’s get on with the real issues that are facing people of this country right now.”

“Where I am on that right now is that those allegations were made before the election, and so people had an opportunity to judge before that election,” Jones said. “I don’t think that the President ought to resign at this point. We’ll see how things go.”

He said the misconduct allegations, which at least 15 women have detailed and which span four decades, “are not new.”

“He was elected with those allegations at front and center,” Jones said, mirroring an argument that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made last week in Trump’s defense.

“I guess the question is, why should Al Franken resign if there are even more horrific allegations about President Trump and no one is calling for him to step down?” Jake Tapper asked.

When numerous women accused Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of misconduct, Jones called on Franken to resign, and said the allegations were “not a partisan issue.”

“Well, again, I go back to the fact that those allegations were made, and he was elected President of the United States,” Jones said. “I think at this point we need to move on and try to work with some real issues that are facing the country and not worry about getting at odds with the President any more than we have to.”

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Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin on Sunday said special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is “a giant distraction” that “should be over quickly.”

“We’ve got to get past this investigation. It’s a giant distraction. Nobody has said that, in any way, this impacted the outcome of the election,” Mnuchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“When you say you’ve got to get past it, do you think it should run its course?” Jake Tapper asked.

“I think it should be over quickly, since I think there is nothing there,” Mnuchin replied. “It should be over quickly and people want to focus on other things.”

“But does that include the President firing Mueller, when you say you want it over quickly, or should it be allowed to run its course?” Tapper pressed.

“I don’t have any reason to think the President is going to do that, but that’s obviously up to him,” Mnuchin replied.

President Donald Trump has called the federal investigation into Russian election meddling a “witch hunt.” On Saturday, lawyers representing his transition accused Mueller of improperly obtaining transition emails as part of his investigation.

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Lawyers representing President Donald Trump’s transition on Saturday accused special counsel Robert Mueller of improperly obtaining emails and documents as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to several reports.

Fox News first reported that Kory Langhofer, the attorney for the President’s Trump for America transition team, sent a letter to the Senate Homeland Security Committee and House Oversight Committee accusing staff at the General Services Administration (GSA) of “unlawful conduct” for giving Mueller the documents.

He claimed that Mueller’s office asked the GSA for “copies of the emails, laptops, cell phones, and other materials” of 13 members of Trump’s transition, four of whom Langhofer claimed were senior members.

Langhofer also accused GSA officials of giving Mueller “tens of thousands of emails” without giving the transition “any notice.” He claimed some of the documents Mueller obtained were “susceptible to privilege claims.”

According to Langhofer, Richard Beckler, the late general counsel of the GSA, “assured” the Trump transition’s legal counsel that “any requests” for materials from the transition would “be routed” to them. Beckler died in September.

Langhofer claimed that Lenny Loewentritt, deputy counsel for the GSA, was present for Beckler’s conversations with the Trump transition’s legal representation, and accused Loewentritt of “working with” the GSA staffers who gave Mueller the materials.

Both Mueller’s team and Loewentritt pushed back on Langhofer’s accusations.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Loewentritt said Beckler “never made that commitment” to Trump’s transition and said members of the transition were informed that if they used GSA devices or materials, those “would not be held back” in the event of law enforcement action.

“Therefore, no expectation of privacy can be assumed,” Loewentritt said.

“When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process,” a spokeperson for the special counsel told CNN and Fox News.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday said there are “a lot of different protocols” that explain why Omarosa Manigault Newman is still getting paid by President Donald Trump’s administration despite her resignation.

“Why are the taxpayers continuing to pay her salary for another month if she’s no longer here at the White House?” CNN’s Jeff Zeleny asked Sanders during her daily briefing.

“I’m not going to weigh in any further, as we often do,” Sanders said. “The President likes Omarosa, thanked her for her service, and again she’ll be here later this afternoon, so she’s resigned from her position, but there’s really nothing else to add on that front.”

“If she’s resigned, though, why is she on the payroll for another month? Is that normal?” Zeleny pressed.

“Look, there is a lot of different protocols that take place in the government. That’s part of the process. If you want to reach out to HR, they might be able to walk you through that in a more detailed way,” Sanders said. “Thankfully I haven’t been through the process myself so I can’t speak to it from firsthand knowledge.”

The White House on Wednesday announced that Manigault Newman resigned “to pursue other opportunities” and said her departure “will not be effective until January 20, 2018.”

American Urban Radio Networks’ April Ryan reported later Wednesday that Manigault Newman, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” spoke with White House chief of staff John Kelly about her departure and subsequently “tried to go into the residence.”

“And mind you, Gen. Kelly has cut off her walk-in access to go into the Oval Office and things of that nature,” Ryan said. “She was escorted off the property.”

Ryan in February said that Manigault Newman “physically intimidated” her at one point and claimed the White House had “dossiers” of negative information on journalists, including Ryan.

Sanders ended her briefing with a quip that appeared to reference Ryan’s reporting on Manigault Newman’s departure and their previous animosity.

“April, I’m looking forward to having some pie with you here momentarily,” she said, to laughter, before leaving the room.

Trump offered his own summary of Manigault Newman’s tenure during a photo opportunity Thursday afternoon: “I like Omarosa. Omarosa is a good person.”

This post has been updated.

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The Times, it is a’changing.

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., who has been the publisher of the New York Times since 1992, on Thursday announced that his son will take over the job in the new year.

The New York Times reported that Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, referred to by his father as “A.G.” in a note announcing his succession, will take over his father’s job 14 months after he was named deputy publisher of the newspaper. The company also announced Sulzberger Jr.’s retirement in a statement.

“This isn’t a goodbye,” Sulzberger Jr., who will stay on as chairman of the company, said in a note to New York Times staff on Thursday. “But, beginning in the new year, the grand ship that is The Times will be A. G.’s to steer.”

According to the New York Times, the younger Sulzberger will be the sixth member of his family to serve as publisher of the newspaper.

Sulzberger’s succession of his father will come amid turmoil in the news industry as other newsrooms seek to unionize, undergo new rounds of layoffs, shut down entirely or seek to become employee-owned and member-funded.

President Donald Trump’s election made its own set of waves in the media, and little has changed a month before the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. Trump has spent much of his first year in office attacking the media as “fake news” while praising his favorite news sources.

Ironically, though Trump prefers to deride the New York Times as “failing,” the company experienced record subscription growth in the months after his election.

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The Secret Service on Wednesday said it was not involved in Omarosa Manigault Newman’s departure from the White House.

“Reporting regarding Secret Service personnel physically removing Omarosa Manigault Newman from the @WhiteHouse complex is inaccurate,” the agency tweeted.

The Secret Service said it “was not involved in the termination process of Ms Manigault Newman or the escort off of the complex.”

“Our only involvement in this matter was to deactivate the individual’s pass which grants access to the complex,” the agency said.

American Urban Radio Networks’ April Ryan reported earlier Wednesday, citing unnamed sources, that the Secret Service “escorted” Manigault Newman “off the property” after she “tried to go into the residence” to see President Donald Trump.

“And mind you, Gen. Kelly has cut off her walk-in access to go into the Oval Office and things of that nature,” Ryan said on CNN, referring to White House chief of staff John Kelly. “Security alerted Gen. Kelly, he came back down, told the Secret Service to take her out of there.”

The White House on Wednesday said that Manigault Newman “resigned yesterday to pursue other opportunities.”

“Her departure will not be effective until January 20, 2018,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service.”

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