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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

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) on Tuesday pushed back on White House chief of staff John Kelly’s comments about the Civil War and said there “was no compromise to make” about the conflict, which was fought over the legality of slavery.

“We need to stop relitigating and referencing the Civil War as if there was some moral conundrum,” Scott told TPM in a statement.

Kelly on Monday said that the Civil War stemmed from a “lack of an ability to compromise.”

“It was always loyalty to state first, back in those days, and now it’s different today,” Kelly said. “And men of women of good faith on both sides made their stand, where their conscience had them make their stand.”

“There was no compromise to make – only a choice between continuing slavery and ending it,” Scott said. “We need to move forward together, instead of letting the divisions of the past continue to force us apart.”

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Special counsel Robert Mueller will interview White House communications director Hope Hicks, and other members of President Donald Trump’s administration, after Trump returns from his upcoming trip to Asia, Politico reported Tuesday afternoon.

Politico reported, citing multiple unnamed sources familiar with the schedule, that Mueller’s team will interview “three or four other current White House officials,” possibly as soon as this week.

Mueller’s team will interview Hicks in mid-November, according to Politico, after Trump returns from a 12-day trip to Asia.

“Nothing about recent events alters the White House’s commitment to fully cooperate with the office of the special counsel,” Ty Cobb, a member of Trump’s legal team, told Politico on Tuesday.

Mueller has already interviewed former members of Trump’s administration, including former press secretary Sean Spicer and former chief of staff Reince Priebus.

On Monday, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates pleaded not guilty to 12 counts, including conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the U.S. and making false statements.

According to court documents that were unsealed Monday, Trump’s former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier in October to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian nationals, which he told members of Trump’s campaign about.

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Alice Ollstein contributed reporting.

Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore on Tuesday said he doesn’t “hate people” and doesn’t think there should be a religious test for candidates for office.

Walking through the U.S. Capitol to a lunch with Republican senators, Moore pushed back on questions from a Washington Post reporter and noted that the outlet endorsed his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones.

“Y’all endorsed my opponent already, so, you know, that’s a hard position to be in,” Moore said. “But all these newspaper reporters, I wish y’all would print me as I am, and not as other people say I am. That’s the only thing.”

“Okay. How are you? Who are you?” a reporter asked.

“Well, I’m a lot different than how the Washington Post is portraying me, that’s for sure,” Moore said. “I don’t hate people. I’m a Christian. I don’t hate people.”

Despite his claims, Moore has a long record of statements that suggest that, even if he doesn’t “hate people,” he certainly lacks tolerance for people whose identities and beliefs fall out of the parameters he deems acceptable.

Moore in 2005 said homosexual activity should be illegal and compared it to bestiality. In November 2016, he said a Supreme Court ruling that required states to license and recognize same-sex marriage was “even worse in a sense” than the notorious 1857 Dred Scott ruling that upheld slavery.

Earlier in October, Moore incorrectly claimed that it is “against the law” for football players to kneel during the national anthem to protest against racism and police brutality.

Moore said on Monday night that the federal judge who blocked President Donald Trump’s policy that would have excluded transgender people from military service “should be impeached.”

He incorrectly claimed the American Psychiatric Association considered “transgenderism to be a mental disorder” until 2013, though the association’s board of trustees significantly recategorized related subjects in late 2012.

In 2006, Moore said that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, should not be sworn in because Moore claimed the Quran was incompatible with the Constitution.

“Perhaps Ellison is confused about what he believes, or else he has another agenda,” Moore wrote. “Congress has the authority and should act to prohibit Ellison from taking the congressional oath today!”

On Tuesday, Moore said, “There should be no religious test.”

Asked to comment on the recent indictment of top members of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, he declined to answer by disappearing into an elevator.

Despite Moore’s controversial remarks and positions, Republican senators nevertheless appear to be embracing him as a prospective member of their caucus.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) suggested the Republican caucus is supporting Moore in order to keep control of the Senate seat Moore is running to fill in Alabama.

“He is the Republican nominee,” Shelby said. “I think most people would want him to win.”

This post has been updated.

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An attorney on President Donald Trump’s outside legal team on Tuesday claimed there was no proof of collusion in the case against Trump’s former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who earlier in October pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

“There’s no crime of collusion,” Jay Sekulow said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

He said Papadopoulos’ attempts to arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian officials, as revealed in court documents unsealed on Monday, were unsuccessful.

“The end result is, the meeting doesn’t take place,” Sekulow said. “The meeting that was being proposed did not take place, and that’s clear in the government’s submission that they filed in the federal court.”

Sekulow said Trump “has not indicated” to him “or to anyone else” that Trump has “any intent on terminating Robert Mueller” as special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“You could only terminate a special counsel for cause and we just don’t see any basis for cause,” Sekulow said.

Sekulow on Monday said he was “not concerned” that Papadopoulos’ guilty plea could imply possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“I’m not concerned about this at all and no one else is either on my side of things,” he said.

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Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was the “high-ranking campaign official” former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos emailed about arranging a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Washington Post reported late Monday.

“Have been receiving a lot of calls over the last month about Putin wanting to host him and the team when the time is right,” Papadopoulos wrote in April 2016 to a person identified only as “a high-ranking official of the Campaign” in court documents unsealed Monday.

The Washington Post reported, citing previously described emails that Trump’s campaign handed over to congressional committees, that the campaign official in question was Lewandowski.

Papadopoulos was arrested in July and pleaded guilty in October to lying to the FBI. The case against him was unsealed Monday.

In May 2016, according to the court documents, Papadopoulos emailed Lewandowski again to say the “Russian government” had “relayed” to him “that they are interested in hosting Mr. Trump.”

Lewandowski in June 2016 referred Papadopoulos to “the campaign supervisor,” according to court filings, a person Yahoo News identified on Monday as Sam Clovis, who joined Trump’s campaign in August 2015 as a co-chair and policy adviser. Clovis, a non-scientist and open skeptic of climate change, is Trump’s pick to be the USDA’s chief scientist.

According to the court documents, Clovis in August 2016 told Papadopoulos that he “would encourage” him to meet with Russian officials.

“Another high-ranking campaign official” named in the court documents matches the description of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair who surrendered to the FBI on Monday.

According to court documents, Manafort forwarded Papadopoulos’ email suggesting that Trump travel to Russia to “another campaign official.”

In an addendum to the email, Manafort suggested that “someone low level,” rather than Trump himself, should travel to Russia “so as not to send any signal.” According to the Washington Post, the other campaign official Manafort sent the email to was Rick Gates, his business associate.

Manafort and Gates on Monday pleaded not guilty to 12 counts against them, including conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, conspiracy against the U.S. and failure to file reports on foreign bank accounts.

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Facebook will tell lawmakers that approximately 126 million people may have seen content generated and promoted by a Kremlin-linked Russian troll farm, according to several reports published late Monday.

CNN and the Washington Post reported, citing drafts of Facebook’s written testimony before Congress, that the website’s general counsel Colin Stretch will tell lawmakers that 29 million people directly received content generated by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian firm.

Stretch will tell lawmakers that “approximately 126 million people” may have seen that content, according to CNN and the Washington Post, though Facebook does not know how many people actually saw the posts in question.

Earlier in October, Facebook estimated that 10 million people saw advertisements the Internet Research Agency bought on the website over the course of the 2016 campaign.

According to CNN and the Washington Post, that number did not account for posts the Russian firm did not pay to promote.

Facebook, Twitter and Google said last week that they will send representatives to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing scheduled to take place on Tuesday regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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Grant him the serenity to accept the things he cannot change; courage to change the things he can; and a pithy quote to tweet whenever a new political shoe drops.

Former FBI director James Comey, whose firing started this chain of events, on Monday turned to the American theologian who composed the Serenity Prayer to respond to news that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and a former campaign adviser have been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Comey posted the quote by Reinhold Niebuhr, an anti-Nazi Protestant theologian, from a rarely used Twitter account that reporter Ashley Feinberg identified in March.

The former FBI director’s friend Benjamin Wittes identified the account as Comey’s in October, on the same day that Comey posted a moody photograph of himself purportedly standing in the middle of an empty road in Iowa looking to the horizon.

Later Monday, Comey updated his Twitter account with a photograph of himself and the description: “Former FBI Director, current husband and father, writing and speaking about ethical leadership, wears running shoes to exercise, taller and funnier in person.”

According to a report Feinberg flagged in the College of William and Mary’s student newspaper, the Flat Hat, Comey wrote a senior thesis on Niebuhr and televangelist Jerry Falwell, hence his choice of moniker.

Comey’s abrupt termination in May led directly to Mueller’s appointment as special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, so Comey’s tweet brought things full circle in more ways than one.

Mueller filed charges that were unsealed on Monday against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, charging both with conspiracy to launder money, making false statements, conspiracy against the U.S. and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier in October, in a case that was also unsealed on Monday, to making false statements to FBI agents about his communications with Russian nationals.

Some found yet another level of irony in Comey’s tweet in light of his shock announcement, 11 days before Election Day in 2016, of the “existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server (Clinton has blamed her loss of the election in part on that announcement).

This post has been updated.

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Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Monday said the indictment of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a business associate demonstrates that the Department of Justice is “taking seriously its responsibility to enforce the Foreign Agents Registration Act” (FARA).

“While we don’t have any more information regarding the current status of the special counsel’s investigation other than what has already been made public, it’s good to see the Justice Department taking seriously its responsibility to enforce the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” Grassley said in a statement.

He said failure to register as a foreign agent under FARA is a “dirty little secret” for “lots of people across the political spectrum in Washington.”

“I’ve been raising concerns about lackluster enforcement of this foreign influence disclosure law for years now, regardless of administration or political party,” Grassley said. “It should be enforced fairly and consistently, regardless of politics or any other factor.”

Grassley said he has “been working on legislation to improve the Justice Department’s enforcement of FARA, and expect to introduce it very soon.”

“As always, it’s important to let our legal system run its course,” he said. “The Judiciary Committee is continuing its work to ensure that the Justice Department and FBI are functioning free from inappropriate influence, consistent with our constitutional oversight responsibility.”

An indictment was unsealed Monday charging Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates with 12 counts, including one of making a false and misleading FARA statement. Manafort and Gates were also charged with conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy against the U.S. and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier in October to making false statements to FBI agents about his communications with Russian nationals. That case was also unsealed on Monday.

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President Donald Trump’s private lawyer Jay Sekulow on Monday distanced Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign from new charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, along with a business associate, faces a 12-count indictment. And former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier in October to making false statements to FBI agents, according to documents unsealed Monday.

Sekulow on CNN said the allegations in the indictments against Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates “are focused on their business activities, not campaign activities, not campaign events.”

“The charges that have been leveled, Wolf, focus in on FARA registrations, tax evasion, money laundering,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, referring to the Foreign Agents Registration Act. “I mean, these are serious charges, no question, but they’re not charges that involve the campaign.”

Sekulow said he is “not concerned” that Papadopoulos’ guilty plea could imply possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“I’m not concerned about it because if you look at what, again, George Papadopoulos’s plea is, what the actual plea deal they entered into is, again, a false statement about timing as to when he talked to somebody about Russian activities,” Sekulow said.

“It wasn’t, by the way, these weren’t activities that were illegal. It wasn’t the conversation that they had,” he added.

Manafort and Gates were charged with conspiracy to launder money, false and misleading FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) statements, false statements, conspiracy against the U.S. and failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.

Papadopoulos earlier in October pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian nationals. According to Papadopoulos’ statement of guilt, he regularly informed other members of the Trump campaign about those communications, which continued through at least August 2016.

Sekulow on Monday distanced Trump’s campaign from Papadopoulos.

“George Papadopoulos served on a committee. As you know, campaigns have committees with various people on it,” he said. “He was not a senior adviser to the Trump campaign.”

“If a campaign adviser to the candidate is trying to get ‘dirt on Hillary Clinton’ from Russians, is there anything wrong with that?” Blitzer asked.

“It’s not illegal to get opposition research,” Sekulow replied.

“I’m talking about from Russia. That’s from foreign adversaries from the United States,” Blitzer pressed.

“I don’t know if it was from Russians,” Sekulow replied. “The only thing I know is about George Papadopoulos, frankly, is what’s in the actual indictment. I don’t know George Papadopoulos, I have not spoken with his lawyers, so I don’t know the nature and the scope of his full engagement with his lawyers, what they were dealing with.”

Sekulow repeated that he is “not concerned” about the charges.

“We are not, I’m not concerned about this at all and no one else is either on my side of things,” he said.

“Is there any chance at all that the President will try to fire Robert Mueller?” Blitzer asked.

“No. You know, I saw a couple of people talking about that this morning, and the answer to that is no,” Sekulow replied. “The President is not interfering with the special counsel Mueller’s position. He’s not firing the special counsel.”

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