Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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A report on HealthCare.Gov enrollment released by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Thursday showed the final number of sign-ups on the federal Obamacare exchanges to be about 100,000 fewer than the numbers released last week.

According to the final HealthCare.gov enrollment report released Thursday, 8.7 million people signed up for or re-enrolled in Obamacare plans on the federal exchanges. That number does not including enrollees in states that operate their own exchanges. CMS said it would be releasing a more detailed report on this year’s enrollment period in March that would include the data from state-based marketplaces.

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A federal judge’s evident annoyance that Rick Gates participated, via a pre-taped video statement, in a fundraiser last week did not stop the organizer of the fundraiser from taking a swing at the judge.

“The actions by this judge to curtail First Amendment free speech rights are nothing short of Stalin-esque,” GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman, who is known for inserting himself in conservative causes célèbres, said in a statement Thursday. “I stand by what I said that night and my inalienable right to be able to say it.”

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Rick Gates’ attorneys argued in a court filing Wednesday that the former Trump campaign aide’s appearance, via a pre-taped video statement, at a fundraiser for his legal defense fund last week was not a violation of a federal judge’s gag order in his criminal case.

The filing also stressed that the fundraiser’s host, Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman, was not speaking on Gates’ behalf when he criticized the prosecutors in the case. It suggested that there would be more fundraisers for Gates’ legal fees to come and that those fundraisers will require “similar sentiments of gratitude” from Gates.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has begun interviews with Republicans National Committee staffers about the committee’s digital operations during the 2016 election, Yahoo News reported Wednesday.

According to Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff, Mueller’s team is examining whether the joint digital operation between the RNC and President Trump’s campaign “was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate.”

The report is based on two sources familiar with Mueller’s investigation.

The RNC did not to TPM’s inquiry, while a spokesperson for the special counsel declined to comment.

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What President Trump suggested is an embattled FBI official’s suspicious run for the exits may actually be a fairly typical career step for the FBI’s upper management, former officials at the bureau told TPM.

Reports over the weekend that Andrew McCabe — the FBI deputy director who has become a target of conservative criticism — is expected to depart early next year drove Trump to weigh in on Twitter.

As the reports mentioned, McCabe will become eligible for a full retirement package in March, and is expected to step down then.

The FBI did not return TPM’s request for comment.

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An appeals court Tuesday said that a privacy group suing President Trump’s so-called voter fraud commission was not itself a voter, and thus could not bring a claim alleging that the commission had failed to protect voters’ privacy in seeking states’ voter roll data.

“As we read it, the provision is intended to protect individuals—in the present context,
voters—by requiring an agency to fully consider their privacy before collecting their personal information,” the appeals court said, in denying the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s request to halt the commission’s data collection operation.

“EPIC is not a voter and is therefore not the type of plaintiff the Congress had in mind,” the court said.

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Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates has until Wednesday to satisfy a federal judge that his participation, via a Facebook Live video, in a fundraiser for his legal defense fund was not a violation of the court’s gag order in his pending criminal case.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued the show cause order Friday, after GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman held the fundraiser Tuesday in a hotel just outside Washington, D.C. According to the accounts of reporters there, members of the media nearly outnumbered the half-dozen attendees and it was unclear how much money Burkman raised for the fund, Defending American Rights Legal Fund.

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A federal judge Friday sided with a Democrat on President Trump’s voter fraud commission in his request that the commission turn over documents it had been withholding from release.

U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued a preliminary decision backing the Democrat, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap in his claim that he was entitled to view internal communications and other records that the commission has resisted releasing publicly.

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The creation and funding of a foundation ostensibly seeking to lax Russia’s ban on U.S. adoption is being examined by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Rinat Akhmetshin — a Russian-American lobbyist with ties to Russian intelligence who attended the 2016 Trump Tower meeting — is a registered lobbyist for the foundation, the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative. Another employee at the foundation, Robert Arakelian, has testified in front of Mueller’s team, Bloomberg reported.

The foundation was reportedly part of a larger crusade to roll back a U.S. sanctions program known as the Magnitsky Act. Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who also attended the Trump Tower meeting, was part of that endeavor on behalf of one of her clients, Denys Katsyv, who is listed on the lobbying registration documents for the foundation.

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Another day, another debate waged in court filings over whether the bail assets being proposed by Rick Gates are worth what Gates says they are.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in a court filing Wednesday, questioned the value of assets Gates offered in a bail proposal last week. In particular, Mueller expressed skepticism over how Gates assessed the value of a commercial property included in the package.

The details of Gates’ bail proposal were mostly obscured by redactions, but his lawyers claim that the package is worth $5.8 million — well over the $5 million in secured bail the judge in the case said she would need to see before approving Gates’ release from house arrest.

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