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Nicole Lafond

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.

Articles by Nichole

President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning questioned whether he should “take away credentials” for the “fake news” media who publish negative stories about his administration.

In the same Wednesday morning tweet he also suggested any “negative” news about him was actually “fake.”

The tweet came nearly two hours after President’s favorite show “Fox and Friends” reported that the majority of media coverage about Trump was negative.

Screenshot of “Fox and Friends” on May 9, 2018.

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump blocked certain news outlets from covering his press conferences — like the Washington Post — and has said in the past that he “should” revoke The New York Times’ credentials.

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Senior FBI and national intelligence officials warned the White House last week that the documents House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) has requested could endanger a U.S. citizen who shared intelligence with the FBI and the CIA, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

According to multiple people familiar with the discussions who spoke with the Post, White House officials, as well as President Donald Trump, agreed to side with the Justice Department in its decision to not release some of the information sought by Nunes. It was not clear whether Trump was made aware that some of the information developed by that intelligence source was shared with special counsel Robert Mueller, according to the Post.

Nunes, in turn, has become increasingly agitated, publicly claiming that the Justice Department is attempting to “evade congressional oversight while leaking information to The Washington Post ostensibly about classified meetings.”

According to the Post, intelligence officials are hesitant to share even a redacted version of the document for fear it could expose the source. Conservative Republicans have seized on the document refusal to shed light on their claims of bias, overreach and misuse of surveillance powers within the Justice Department.

Nunes and his committee have requested several documents related to the Russia probe and other federal investigations, like the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Last month, the House Freedom Caucus drafted articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to use as a last-ditch attempt to obtain the records. Over the weekend, Nunes suggested he may try to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt for refusing to comply with the request.

Read the Post’s full story here.

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Republican Ohio State Sen. Troy Balderson pulled off a slim victory over a local township trustee in the state’s 12th Congressional District GOP primary Tuesday evening.

Balderson — who was backed by GOP establishment groups and the former lawmaker who held the seat up until January — finished out the race with 29 percent of the vote, compared to Liberty Township Trustee Melanie Leneghan’s 28 percent. The race between them unfolded as a traditional Republican proxy war, with Leneghan gaining support from conservative groups like the House Freedom Fund.

Balderson will face Democrat Danny O’Connor, the Franklin County Recorder, in an August special election for former Rep. Pat Tiberi’s (R-OH) seat. O’Connor won 41 percent of the vote in the seven-way Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Voters in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District voted for candidates to face off in two elections later this year — the Aug. 7 special election for the remainder of Tiberi’s term and the general election in November. Voters chose Balderson and O’Connor for both races.

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President Donald Trump is expected to make an announcement regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal at the White House at 2 p.m. EST Tuesday.

The New York Times reported Tuesday morning that Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron he will pull out of the agreement.

Watch live below:

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Longtime Trump confidante and political consultant Roger Stone said Tuesday that Rudy Giuliani’s explanations of the timeline surrounding a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels were “a little disjointed.”

“His handling of the Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels matter I found a little disjointed, meaning I had trouble following largely what he was trying to say,” he told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday. “I don’t believe Mr. Cohen’s payment, just an opinion, is illegal.”

Stone’s rare criticism of a Trump associate isn’t entirely surprising as reports surface that Trump is frustrated by Giuliani’s wildly conflicting claims about Trump’s personal lawyer’s handling of a hush payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

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The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will probe the allegations of domestic abuse and assault against former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which led to his resignation just hours after they surfaced Monday evening.

“Our office has opened an investigation into the recently reported allegations concerning Mr. Schneiderman,” Danny Frost, communications director for the Manhattan DA, told TPM in a statement Tuesday.

The announcement of the investigation into allegations of abuse and intimidation comes just days after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed Schneiderman to probe Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office for its handling of a 2015 investigation into accusations of sexual assault against move mogul Harvey Weinstein, whom more than 50 women have accused of sexual harassment or assault in the past year.

Schneiderman — who has a history of activism surrounding women’s rights — resigned just three hours after the New Yorker reported on allegations from four different women on patterns of abuse and assault that allegedly included choking and slapping, intimidation, death threats and demeaning behavior.

In a resignation statement Monday evening, Schneiderman said he “strongly” contested the allegations. 

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President Donald Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron that he is going to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, the New York Times reported Tuesday morning.

It was widely expected that Trump would pull out of the nuclear deal, which he has called the “worst” deal the U.S. has ever agreed to and has spent the past several days tweeting criticism of former Secretary of State John Kerry, who brokered the deal.

Trump is set to officially announce his decision at 2 p.m. ET Tuesday.

According to a person briefed on the conversation who spoke with the Times, Trump will announce Tuesday afternoon that the U.S. will renew all of its former sanctions against Iran, which were waived as part of the 2015 deal. Trump plans to levy new economic sanctions against the country as well, according to the Times.

Talks to keep the deal in place fell through primarily because of Trump’s insistence that fuel production limits stay in place post 2030, a second person familiar with the matter told the Times.

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An ex-official in former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration said Tuesday that some of Giuliani’s recent remarks to the media have been “jarring.”

Susan Del Percio, a New York-based Republican strategist, told CNN that Giuliani has behaved like “a different person than what we all knew 20, 25 years ago” and suggested the shift in demeanor is likely because of Trump.

“I think he’s kind of moved into the Trump model, which is exactly what you don’t want from someone who’s your spokesperson,” she told CNN Tuesday. “You’re suppose to compliment and temper them, not do — not play into their worst attributes. … What we see now, so many years later, it is jarring.”

Del Percio said she could not “guess the state of mind” of Giuliani right now, but offered that he’s likely navigating a new state of transition as a recent addition to Trump’s legal team.

Elected officials are very ego driven,” she said. “It’s usually about them, of course, it’s how they get up every day and face the negative stuff as well as the positive, but it is very hard to make that transition and most of them really just want to stay relevant in the conversation.”

In a series of stunning interviews in recent days, Giuliani has compared the FBI to a military wing of the Nazi party, criticized former FBI director James Comey and made wildly conflicting claims about Trump’s knowledge of the $130,000 payment his personal attorney made to porn actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election.

Del Percio is not the first former Giuliani associate to criticize the ex-mayor for his recent comments to the media. Former Justice Department inspector general and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Michael Bromwich called his “stormtrooper” remarks “unhinged.”

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President Donald Trump’s personal attorney is reportedly most concerned about how the FBI raid of his house, hotel and home last month is impacting his family, Vanity Fair reported Monday evening.

According to friends of Michael Cohen who spoke with Vanity Fair, Cohen is concerned the raid and subsequent media attention is “ruining their lives.”

“I live for my wife and my kids,” he has reportedly told friends in recent weeks. “I’d die for my wife and my kids. And this is all ruining their lives.”

Cohen has called the situation a “nightmare” and is reportedly struggling as he’s become isolated from Trump and others in Washington, D.C., who he reportedly claims have treated him like he’s “disposable.”

That sense of isolation has increased since Trump’s new lawyer Rudy Giuliani has started making media appearances, spreading confusion and fanning the flames of inquiry surrounding a $130,000 payment Cohen made to porn actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election, reportedly to keep her quiet about an alleged affair she had with Trump a decade ago.

Cohen has told friends that he’s had no peace since Buzzfeed published the Christopher Steele dossier, which made multiple claims about Cohen interacting with Russians throughout the 2016 campaign. Cohen filed a defamation lawsuit against Buzzfeed, but recently dropped the suit after the FBI raid.

Last month, the FBI seized at least eight boxes of physical documents from Cohen’s house, hotel and office, according Vanity Fair. The agents obtained a warrant to seize records related to the Daniels payment and documents about Karen McDougal, a former Playboy playmate who allegedly had an affair with Trump. Among other items, they also seized documents related to taxi medallions Cohen owns in New York and his communications with the Trump campaign.

Read Vanity Fair’s full piece here.

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Several fair housing advocates plan to file a lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Secretary Ben Carson on Tuesday for suspending a 2015 rule that requires housing developments to desegregate their communities in order to receive federal funds.

According to the Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the lawsuit, the 2015 Obama-era rule requires public housing developments to assess and develop plans to end racial segregation within their communities or risk losing federal housing funding. The rule, which allowed for enforcement of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, also required communities to submit plans every five years.

But HUD, under Carson, suspended the rule in January, arguing the rule was unnecessarily burdensome on public housing communities and that HUD was devoting too many resources to helping the developments revise their desegregation plans, according to the Post. Carson has also been vocal about his opposition to the use of federal dollars to desegregate communities, calling the efforts “failed socialist experiments.”

The three fair housing advocates that plan to file the lawsuit Tuesday argue the law was suspended illegally because no advance notice was given to the public before it was suspended. In a statement shared with TPM Tuesday, the president and executive director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the lead counsel in this case, said the group hopes the suit will hold Carson and HUD accountable for the rule suspension.

“With this lawsuit, the civil rights community is standing up to Secretary Ben Carson and fighting back against an egregious attempt to roll back a hard fought victory,” the group’s President Kristen Clarke said in the statement. “The 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule is a critical part of ongoing work to address structural racism and inequality today. Through this lawsuit, we are taking action to hold HUD accountable and ensure that HUD fulfills its mission of addressing ongoing racial segregation and housing discrimination which persist across the country today.”

Read the Post’s full story here. Read the complaint shared with TPM below:

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