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

The Secret Service is reportedly set to begin safeguarding White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at her home as soon as this week, NBC was first to report.

Two sources familiar with the matter who spoke to CNN confirmed the news but didn’t say how long the additional protective measure would last or why Sanders needed the additional security.

The uptick in security for the press secretary comes days after Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia because the staff wasn’t comfortable serving her. Sanders claimed she was asked to leave because she works for President Donald Trump.

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Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is escalating efforts on behalf of the House GOP to demand documents from the Department of Justice related to the Russia probe.

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday will advance Jordan’s resolution — which requests that the DOJ turn over records related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — forcing the House to consider the request this week, Politico reported. Jordan’s measure asks the DOJ to hand over the requested documents by July 6.

The measure is unenforceable, but would “for the first time put the Republican-led House on record demanding sensitive documents,” in Politico’s words.

A coalition of House Republicans have been demanding documents related to the Russia investigation for months, a request they think the DOJ is steamrolling in order to protect Mueller. The DOJ has been hesitant to hand over the whole trove of records in order to protect classified information and government sources.

Read the full Politico report here.   

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After facing significant blowback for wearing a jacket that said “I don’t really care, do u?” to and from her first visit to a migrant children’s detention center in Texas last week, first lady Melania Trump plans to make a second trip.

ABC News was first to report that the first lady was planning to visit another detention center, but her spokesperson did not offer further details about the date and location of the next visit.

Last week, Trump traveled to McAllen, Texas and toured a facility that’s housing children who were separated from their parents under her husband’s immigration policy of prosecuting anyone caught illegally crossing the border.

Trump was widely criticized after images of the words splashed across the back of her jacket surfaced. First lady spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham initially told TPM that the jacket had no hidden message, but President Donald Trump later tweeted that the jacket was a message to the “fake” news media.

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Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday evening told “The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah that he “respect(s)” the way White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders handled getting booted from a Virginia restaurant over the weekend.

“She was very dignified, she didn’t chew them out, she didn’t pitch a fit, she didn’t call them ‘immigrant loving thugs’ or whatever,” he said. “She just got up and left and offered to pay, so maybe what I’d like to see is this be the beginning of something where it would be better if we started talking to each other again.”

Clinton said it would have been “better” if the owner of the rural eatery, Red Hen, hadn’t asked Sanders to leave, but he said he also respected the way the owner handled the situation. He added that that kind of demonstration can sometimes be effective on a policy level, recounting a time when a man began protesting at church because Clinton hadn’t budgeted enough funding to combat AIDS.

“And he was absolutely right,” he said.

While he said he thought Sanders handled the situation well, he said the heckling of those who work for President Donald Trump will likely continue.

“It’s hard to pour that poison down people’s throats and not have some of it come back and bubble up,” he said. “You can’t foment as much hatred as been’s fomented by the administration without having a blowback, so if they want to have more civility, they need to take the lead and stop the name calling.”

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After the stunning primary defeat of prominent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump mused on Twitter that perhaps the incumbent lawmaker wouldn’t have lost if he had been “nicer, and more respectful,” to Trump.

The only fault in the President’s logic? The fourth most powerful Democrat in the House lost to a 28-year-old progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was backed by the Democratic Socialists of America and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

“Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place, just LOST his primary election,” he tweeted late Tuesday. 

Minutes later he piled on Democrats further, seizing on his own assumption that there’s a “red wave” coming to Congress and claiming the Democratic Party is in “Turmoil” because of its policies.  

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday reacted to news that the Supreme Court voted to uphold a third, diluted version of his travel ban, calling the ruling the “final word,” despite his initial irritation with the more muted measure.

Proclaiming it a “big victory for our country,” Trump answered a reporter’s questions on whether the decision was “final.” He said it was “pretty much” final and claimed that the administration was just “waiting” for the Supreme Court to make a decision, despite being forced by federal courts to change the executive order several times after facing a slew of legal challenges.   

“Well I think it is pretty much the final word, it’s the Supreme Court, ya know?” he said. “We went up, we’d win it, we’d lose it, we just waited for the Supreme Court, so yeah, that’s the final word, that’s Supreme Court.

“Now, do I want to go in with a different one, maybe a different variety? I don’t think there’s any reason,” he continued. “That’s a very strong victory.”

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled to uphold a thinner version of Trump’s original travel ban. The current iteration bans immigrants and refugees from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela and Chad.

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Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) lamented the “mischaracterization” of the travel ban as a “Muslim ban,” telling reporters on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling to uphold a version of the ban that President Donald Trump is just “trying to keep the country safe.”

“This is part of the ‘Never Trump Resistance’ to mischaracterize this as being a Muslim ban,” he said Tuesday in response to questions about SCOTUS’ 5-4 ruling to uphold it. “This is not a Muslim ban, not anything that President Obama didn’t do when he was president, so I’m not surprised the Supreme Court ruled the way they did.”

The ban will uphold Trump’s latest iteration of the ban, which focuses on immigrants and refugees from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela and Chad.

Conservatives have regularly pointed to claims that former President Barack Obama “identified” the seven countries included in Trump’s travel ban, which has been repeatedly debunked. The Obama administration did enact visa restrictions on Iraq for six months in 2011 and Congress passed laws during his administration to complicate visa applications for people from several of those countries in order to tighten travel security screenings.

Per the Washington Post’s fact check on Republicans’ claims:

“So while the Obama administration expanded the list of countries, it sought to keep the focus on travel, not nationality. Trump, by contrast, has taken the opposite approach — keeping the focus on a person’s nationality.”

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened that Harley Davidson “will be taxed like never before” after the iconic American brand announced it would move some motorcycle production overseas to quell the sting of Trump’s new tariffs.

The President also predicted the company’s demise — “they surrendered, they quit!” — and said their “Aura will be gone.”

Trump made the assertions in a string of tweets attacking Harley-Davidson on Tuesday, claiming the company had already planned to move some of their operations from Kansas City, Missouri to Thailand and suggesting they lied about why they’re moving some operations overseas.

Harley-Davidson has denied that the company is planning to move jobs from the closing Kansas City plant to Thailand, according to the Associated Press.  

He again suggested that it would be expensive for the motorcycle company to “sell back” into the U.S. if it attempted to return. 

Trump has previously pointed to Harley-Davidson as an example of a company that’s been abused by trade barriers — and even invited executives to the White House last winter — yet the company warned the President that tariffs would be harmful to sales. Harley announced on Monday that it would have to move its production of motorcycles that will be sold in Europe to factories overseas, thanks to Trump’s tariffs on European steel and aluminum and the European Union’s retaliatory measures.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller is preparing to focus his investigation on possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russians in the 2016 election, with hopes of concluding that aspect of the probe by this fall, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.

According to a person familiar with the probe who spoke to Bloomberg, Mueller plans to make probing possible collusion his sole focus in coming weeks. He is currently working to wrap up other aspects of the investigation, like whether Trump obstructed justice when he fired former FBI director James Comey.

The news comes amid emerging reports that longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone spoke to a Russian during the election, a conversation he said he forgot to disclose during conversations with investigators. Stone is just one of at least a dozen other Trump campaign associates who had contacts with Russians during the election, including his eldest son Donald Trump Jr. 

Read Bloomberg’s full report here.

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Nine House Republicans have asked deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to deliver them with a list of everyone who has worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the election, Fox News reported.

According to a copy of the letter obtained by Fox News and the Washington Times, the lawmakers said they were “disturbed” by reports of the appointment of investigators — like agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page — who were found to have exchanged anti-Trump text messages.

“We know that these biases were shared among multiple people at the FBI and could be easily uncovered by Mr. Mueller with simple vetting,” the letter says, according to Fox. “These individuals should not have been given an opportunity to influence – directly or indirectly – this special counsel investigation.”

The letter is signed by some of the most vocal Trump allies in the House: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Andy Harris (R-MD), Jody Hice (R-GA), Scott Perry (R-PA) and Ralph Norman (R-SC).

Both Page and Strzok were dismissed from working on the Mueller probe last year after the special counsel was made aware of the texts.

Not long after Fox News reported on the letter to Rosenstein, Trump tweeted a mirrored call for transparency, claiming Strzok’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee should be televised live.

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