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Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

President Donald Trump on Friday continued his grudge with the NFL over some players’ protests against racism and police brutality.

Retweeting his social media director, who had posted an article from Breitbart News about New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon kneeling during the national anthem, Trump lamented that the protests went “without penalty.”

Trump’s language recalled that of Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, who said in October, referring to protesting players: “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” He later said “I was not referring to our players,” with the remark, calling it “a figure of speech.”

Also on Friday, the President wrote that he would speak with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East,” shortly before promoting one of his South Florida golf clubs, the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter.

The White House on Wednesday told a pool reporter to correct her report that White House staff expected a “low-key day.”

“While the White House communications staff expects the press pool to have a ‘low-key day,’ the President will NOT have a low-key day and has a full schedule of meetings and phone calls,” the pooler wrote, correcting herself.

An hour later, the President arrived at another of his South Florida courses, the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

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Former congressman and current Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz said Tuesday that he feared some people “will want to take advantage” of the recent wave of reporting on workplace sexual harassment “and throw an allegation.”

On Fox News’ “Outnumbered Overtime,” host Melissa Francis asked Chaffetz if the stories about harassment felt “like a witch hunt.”

“I mean, a lot of men out there are worried that, even if they didn’t do anything, that women are going to come after them,” she said. “Is that a fear that you hear from other men? Do you feel that yourself?”

“Well, I do think it is mostly a gender issue,” Chaffetz replied. “I mean, it does happen against men as well. But, I’ve got to tell you, if you are not acting appropriately in the right setting, you should pay a consequence.”

He continued: “I fear, though, that there will be some people that will want to take advantage and throw an allegation. And then how do you get your reputation back? And so we’ve got to be very, very careful and make sure that it’s well-documented, and you’re going to have people say, ‘Hey, it’s not true.’”

Chaffetz announced in May that he would retire from Congress by the end of the following month, a full year and a half before his fifth term would have finished.

“I just turned 50,” he said by way of explanation at the time. “I’m sleeping on a cot in my office.”

Watch below via Fox News:

H/t Crooks and Liars

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Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, initially said Wednesday afternoon that he supported a “deliberate and thorough” investigation into “very disturbing” allegations of sexual harassment made against Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) by multiple women.

Later that day, he was quoted in the New York Times striking a decidedly different tone.

“You can’t jump to conclusions with these types of things,” Clyburn said. “For all I know, all of this could be made up.”

Clyburn’s communications director, Patrick Devlin, did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment (an email to him came back with a Thanksgiving “out of office” notice). But Clyburn’s comment is striking given the array of allegations faced by Conyers, the longest serving congressman currently in the House of Representatives.

BuzzFeed News reported Monday on one former staffer of Conyers’ who alleged she was fired for refusing his sexual advances, and on other claims that Conyers inappropriately touched and asked sexual favors of his staffers. The former staffer said she reached a $27,000 with Conyers.

The next day, the same outlet reported on another former staffer, unrelated to the previous article, who alleged in court documents earlier this year that Conyers made a habit of touching her inappropriately.

Conyers has denied all wrongdoing, but acknowledged reaching a settlement with a former staffer, though he said he did so without admitting guilt and primarily “in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation.”

BuzzFeed reported its first story on the Democratic congressman based on affidavits provided by the right-wing conspiracist Mike Cernovich, though the outlet said it confirmed the documents’ authenticity and further reported out the story. 

The House Ethics Committee announced it was launching an investigation into Conyers Tuesday.  

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The White House insisted on Wednesday that President Donald Trump had a “full schedule” of phone calls and meetings for the day, barely an hour before Trump arrived at a nearby golf course he owns, the Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Washington Post pool reporter Jenna Johnson sent out her first dispatch from West Palm Beach at 7:57 a.m. ET on Wednesday: The President had already been briefed on a Navy plane crash, she wrote, and White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters had told reporters that Trump “plans to make a number of calls his week, especially related to tax reform.”

“Otherwise, she expects a ‘low-key day,’” Johnson wrote, quoting Walters. “She is checking to see if the White House would like to add any context or additional information to the President’s tweets this morning.”

Ten minutes later, Johnson issued a correction: “While the White House communications staff expects the press pool to have a ‘low-key day,’ the President will NOT have a low-key day and has a full schedule of meetings and phone calls.”

Trump appeared to contradict his communications staff an hour later.

“At 9:26 AM the motorcade arrived at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach,” another pooler, the USA Today Network’s Ali Schmitz, wrote. “The pool will be holding at a public library across the street.”

Schmitz added: “The pool has not seen POTUS this morning.”

It’s not clear what the President is up to, nor whether he’s actually playing golf at the course he owns. As the Post’s Philip Bump noted: “He’s probably played golf 60 times, once every 5.1 days. We say ‘probably’ because Trump doesn’t like to admit when he’s playing golf, again because he wants to give the impression that he’s always working.”

The President’s official public schedule for Wednesday, emailed to reporters Tuesday night, was bare.

7:15AM          Out-of-Town Travel Pool Call Time

No public events scheduled

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Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) on Wednesday said he would support a bill that required members of Congress pay their own settlements, rather than having them paid by the U.S. Treasury, which is currently the law.

In an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Lance said “I think that all of that should be made public moving forward, and I believe transparency is the best way to proceed regarding these matters.”

“I was not even aware of this,” he said, referring to taxpayer-funded settlements.

The issue gained traction when several members of Congress spoke about their own experiences with workplace sexual harassment, and after the Washington Post reported on a “a special U.S. Treasury fund” that pays out settlements in legislative branch disputes — including claims of sexual harassment — after an arduous process of counseling and mediation.

That process, laid out in the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act, has come under fire in recent weeks for its lack of transparency and tax-funded settlement system. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) is leading an effort to address criticisms of that law with the Member and Employee Training and Oversight On Congress Act — the “ME TOO” Act — which, among other things, requires personal liability for members of Congress who reach settlements covered by the 1995 law.

Lance, a member of the House Ethics Committee, told Cuomo Wednesday that “yes,” he would support legislation to make members of Congress liable for their own settlements.

The Office of Compliance, which was established to handle the workplace dispute and settlement process mandated by the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA), last week released a breakdown of total settlement amounts by year since 1997: More than $17 million over two decades.

Executive Director Susan Tsui Grundmann noted in an accompanying statement that a “large portion” of the cases handled by her office “originate from employing offices in the legislative branch other than the House of Representatives or the Senate,” and many involve statutory provisions in the CAA other than those that deal directly with sexual assault — the Fair Labor Standards Act, for example, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Yet another former staffer of Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) alleged that the congressman regularly sexually harassed her, BuzzFeed reported Tuesday, a day after the same outlet reported on claims of harassment and wrongful termination made against the congressman.

The accuser, whose name BuzzFeed redacted from court documents listing her allegations, sought damages for Conyers’ actions in federal court but abandoned the effort when a judge denied her motion to seal the case. Her suit also listed as defendants Conyers’ chief of staff and district director, BuzzFeed reported.

The former scheduler alleged that Conyers touched her inappropriately and made repeated advances on her.

When his Washington, D.C. office’s chief of staff was put on administrative leave in March 2016, in one example, the court filing alleged “Defendant Conyers became more and more aggressive and continued to behave inappropriately towards the Plaintiff through the day by repeatedly coming to her desk, rubbing her shoulders, kissing her forehead, making inappropriate comments, covering and attempting to hold her hand.”

The filing was quickly deleted from BuzzFeed’s report after being initially included.

BuzzFeed quoted a spokesperson for Conyers who said of the accuser: “[The former staffer] voluntarily decided to drop her case.”

On Monday, BuzzFeed reported on affidavits from former Conyers staffers provided to the publication by the right-wing conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich. In them, the staffers alleged Conyers had made advances on and inappropriately touched his employees, and also that he had used taxpayer money to fly women into Washington, D.C.

Conyers denied wrongdoing in a statement following that report, but acknowledged reaching a settlement agreement — in which he admitted no guilt, the statement noted — with a former staffer who alleged she was fired for refusing his advances.

The House Ethics Committee announced it was launching a investigation into the allegations against Conyers on Tuesday following Buzzfeed’s first report.

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The House Ethics Committee on Tuesday launched an investigation into Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), following a BuzzFeed report that he had made sexual advances on staffers and reached a settlement with one former staffer who said she was fired for rejecting such advances.

“The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative John Conyers, Jr. may have engaged in sexual harassment of members of his staff, discriminated against certain staff on the basis of age, and used official resources for impermissible personal purposes,” the chairwoman and ranking member of the committee, Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Ted Deutch (D-FL), wrote in a statement Tuesday. “The Committee, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding these allegations.”

BuzzFeed reported Monday night on allegations that Conyers had made advances on and asked for sexual favors from staffers, in addition to using public funds to fly in women, with whom staffers believed Conyers was having affairs, to Washington, D.C.

Right-wing conspiracist Mike Cernovich provided BuzzFeed with the affidavits on which the reporting was first inspired. BuzzFeed also described a $27,000 settlement Conyers’ reached with a female staffer who claimed to have been fired for rejecting his advances.

Conyers vehemently denied wrongdoing in a statement Tuesday, but acknowledged that he had “resolved the allegations – with an express denial of liability – in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation.”

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Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) on Tuesday “vehemently” denied allegations of sexual impropriety published by BuzzFeed News Monday night, but he did acknowledge resolving allegations with one former staffer who accused him of firing her for refusing his advances.

“I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so,” Conyers said in a statement shared with TPM. (Read Conyers’ full statement below.) “My office resolved the allegations – with an express denial of liability – in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation. That should not be lost in the narrative.”

Earlier Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Conyers denied knowledge of the claims in the BuzzFeed story when approached by a reporter at his home.

“Conyers, who answered the door at his Detroit home Tuesday morning, says he knows nothing about any claims of inappropriate touching and learned of the story just hours earlier,” the AP wrote.

But a spokesperson for Conyers said, in the same email that included the congressman’s statement, that “Congressman Conyers was under the impression the reporter was speaking of recent allegations of which he was unaware of and denied,” when the AP made an “unannounced visit” to Conyers’ home.

BuzzFeed reported Monday night that Conyers had reached a $27,000 settlement with a former staffer who claimed she had been fired from his office for refusing his sexual advances.

Reporting out documents provided by the right-wing conspiracist Mike Cernovich, BuzzFeed confirmed the authenticity of four affidavit related to the case, including with the woman accusing Conyers of misconduct. The settlement was reportedly paid out of Conyers’ taxpayer-funded office budget.

BuzzFeed reported that at least one other former staffer reported sexual advances from Conyers in an affidavit. She also wrote: “I am personally aware of several women who have experienced the same or similar sexual advances made towards them by Rep[.] John Conyers.”

Read Conyers’ full statement below:

I have long been and continue to be a fierce advocate for equality in the workplace and I fully support the rights of employees who believe they have been harassed or discriminated against to assert claims against their employers.  That said, it is important to recognize that the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true.  The process must be fair to both the employee and the accused.  The current media environment is bringing a much-needed focus to the important issue of preventing harassment in workplaces across the country.  However, equally important to keep in mind in this particular moment is the principle of due process and that those accused of wrongdoing are presumed innocent unless and until an investigation establishes otherwise.   In our country, we strive to honor this fundamental principle that all are entitled to due process.  In this case, I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so.  My office resolved the allegations – with an express denial of liability – in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation.  That should not be lost in the narrative.  The resolution was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment.  There are statutory requirements of confidentiality that apply to both the employee and me regarding this matter.  To the extent the House determines to look further at these issues, I will fully cooperate with an investigation.

This post has been updated.

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The Democratic Senate candidate in Alabama is running a television ad featuring quotes from White House adviser Ivanka Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), each distancing themselves from the Republican candidate in the race, Roy Moore.

“On Roy Moore’s disturbing actions, Ivanka Trump says ‘There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children,’ and ‘I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts,’” a narrator says, as Trump’s quote appears over a bare black background.

The voice over continues: “Jeff Sessions says, ‘I have no reason to doubt these young women.’ And Richard Shelby says he will ‘Absolutely not’ vote for Roy Moore.”

As Trump’s quote re-appears on screen, the narrator concludes: “Conservative voices, putting children and women over party, doing what’s right.”

The ad was flagged by the Washington Post on Tuesday, in a report that noted it was “now in heavy rotation.”

Moore has been accused, on the record, by multiple women of sexual misconduct. Leigh Corfman told the Washington Post, in a Nov. 9 story, that Moore attempted to initiate sexual contact with her when she was 14. Beverly Young Nelson claimed in a press conference days later that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16. Moore has denied all wrongdoing.

The White House has refused to say, as many other Republican leaders and organizations have said, that Moore should step aside from the race, instead insisting that Alabama voters should decide whether Moore is sent to the Senate on Dec. 12.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway even said Monday that a vote for Jones would be a vote against President Donald Trump’s promised tax cuts.

Watch the ad below:

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Eight women have come forward to accuse television personality Charlie Rose of unwanted sexual advances over multiple decades in a Washington Post report published Monday.

CBS suspended Rose, who serves as an anchor on the network’s marquee morning news program. The production and distribution of his eponymous show were halted after the report, the Associated Press reported.

Three women went on the record with their stories to the Post, and five more described Rose’s behavior without being named. The Post said it corroborated the eight sources’ allegations, which spanned from the late 1990s to 2011, in interviews with “friends, colleagues or family members who said the women had confided in them about aspects of the incidents.”

Rose told the Post that “I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior” and “I am greatly embarrassed.” Still, he said he did not “believe that all of these allegations are accurate.”

“I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken,” Rose said.

Reah Bravo, an intern who became an associate producer on Rose’s show, told the Post about Rose’s “unwanted sexual advances” after she began working for him in 2007.

In one instance, she said Rose come up behind her and put his arms around her at his Bellport, New York home, where she was working and living for a week. In another instance, Bravo said, Rose “grabbed me by my hair, holding a fist of it at the base of my scalp” while they shared a car. More than once, she told the Post, “he would grip my head tightly while talking to me,” forcing her to “look at him or to let him talk directly into my ear.”

Bravo also described instances of Rose’s appearing nude before her. Once, on a small plane, Bravo described Rose pressing his body into hers.

Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, a former assistant of Rose’s, recalled t0 the Post “at least a dozen” instances where Rose walked nude in front of her in one of his homes in New York City, in addition to calling her and describing fantasies of seeing her swimming naked.

The Post reported that, according to Godfrey-Ryan, she was fired when Rose learned she had told a mutual friend about his behavior.

Godfrey-Ryan said she’d also told Rose’s executive producer, Yvette Vega, about the calls. Two unnamed women separately told the Post that they “repeatedly” reported Rose’s behavior to Vega. Vega told the Post, referring to women working on Rose’s show: “I should have stood up for them … I failed. It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them.”

Two unnamed former employees told the Post that the young women hired for Rose’s show were sometimes known as “Charlie’s Angels,” and that Rose gave “unsolicited shoulder rubs” to “several” of them, in what was known as “the crusty paw,” according to one unnamed former employee.

One unnamed job applicant described an overnight trip to the Bellport home that she agreed to take after Rose suggested, according to the Post, “they see how they traveled together.”

Eventually, Rose appeared before her nude but for an untied bathrobe at around 2 a.m. He attempted to put his hand down her pants, she told the Post. Her memories of what happened next were “hazy,” she said, but she ended up with Rose in his bedroom, where he tried reached down her pants. She resisted again, crying. Rose eventually appeared to fall asleep, and she left the room.

The unnamed woman said that the next morning, when she described the previous night as “a bit of a disaster,” he responded: “What do you mean?” She didn’t get the job, she told the Post.

Read the Post’s full report here.

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