Lauren Fox

Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.

Articles by Lauren

The leader of the Oregon militia standoff at a wildlife refuge says his group has a new name: Citizens for Constitutional Freedom.

The group announced it will not stand down until the government stops violating the Constitution.

"We have allowed our federal government to step outside the bounds of the Constitution. They have come down upon on the people," Ammon Bundy said in a press conference Monday. “They are coming down into the state and taking over the land and the resources, putting the people into duress."

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It's been two days since roughly a dozen armed men took over an unoccupied headquarters building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon's vast eastern desert near the small town of Burns.

It started as a planned protest in Burns over the impending imprisonment of local father-and-son ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond who were convicted of starting fires on public lands. But it quickly escalated into a full-on takeover of the federal facility 30 miles away with the armed group hunkering down and refusing to leave.

The Hammonds quickly distanced themselves from the brigade that includes two sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, a folk hero of sorts among western anti-government types after his standoff with the federal government in 2014.

Who exactly are these men? The exact number and identities of all the militia members at Malheur is not known, but here's a rundown on what is known about the men identified so far who are holed up at the wildlife refuge.

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It is as if Donald Trump just walked into a 40-year conversation on conservatism and instead of standing there, nodding his head politely as he got acquainted with the topic at hand, began shouting over the crowd.

It is essentially what Trump has done to conservative policy gurus this year. Trump has reached over anti-abortion diehards, foreign policy neocons, and supply siders to tell base voters directly what he thinks they want to hear and it's working. But he still doesn't have a grasp on how what he's promoting fits into long-term movement conservatism objectives -- nor does he seem to particularly care. Not only is Trump not beholden to the conservative movement, he seems more or less indifferent to it. And that as much as anything strikes fear deep in the hearts of longtime conservatives who see 2016 as a generational opportunity to control Congress and the White House simultaneously.

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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) has issued an executive order to remove county clerk names from marriage certificates in an effort to guard individuals like Kim Davis from violating their religious liberties.

According to the Associated Press, Bevin announced Tuesday that the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives will print a new certificates without county clerk names.

This all comes after Davis was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because she claimed it violated her religious rights.

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In his 2014 re-election, Mitch McConnell wasn't running on his personality, nor was he trying to make the case he was the most homespun Kentucky senator there ever was. On the campaign trail, everything McConnell said and did came down to one essential truth: a vote for Mitch McConnell was a vote for a Republican Senate majority.

Now, however a volatile and unpredictable presidential cycle could throw that majority into jeopardy and all of the building blocks McConnell's been laying through his three-decade career could fall apart if a bombastic or unpredictable GOP presidential candidate -- Donald Trump? Ted Cruz? -- wins the nomination and threatens his carefully-crafted majority.

"McConnell could orchestrate the perfect Senate race, but if the Republican presidential candidacy is a bust all of those candidacies could be washed away," said Kyle Kondik, an expert on congressional elections with the University of Virginia. "It would be interesting that here you have a man of the party establishment who played by the rules and at the time of what could be his ultimate triumph, the party establishment is thrown aside and all his work could be undone."

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Bernie Sanders says there is one group who won't be feeling "the Bern" if he wins the WhiteHouse: corporate America.

"The CEOs of large multinationals may like Hillary. They ain't going to like me," Sanders said. "And Wall Street is going to like me even less. And the reason for that is we've got to deal with the elephant in the room, which is the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street. "

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Post updated at 12:09 p.m. ET. Congress easily passed the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending package Friday that will fund the government through most of 2016.

The House passed the omnibus as a standalone bill by a vote of 316 to 113. Soon after, the Senate passed the omnibus and the tax extenders package by a vote of 65 to 33.

President Obama is certain to sign the bill before the current funding extension runs out Dec. 22, bringing an end to budget brinksmanship for this fiscal year.

Republican presidential contenders Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul(R-KY) voted against the bill. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was absent.

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