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 nonprofit group filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department Wednesday seeking records of any communications between President Trump’s transition team and federal investigators about potential investigations into Trump-tied individuals.

“The suit was filed after DOJ refused to reveal whether Trump-Pence transition officials sought information from federal prosecutors regarding politically sensitive investigations being conducted during the transition,” the group Democracy Forward Foundation said in a press release announcing the lawsuit Thursday.

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A report from the New York Times reveals new details about what preceded Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ offer in May to resign — an offer first reported by Politico in June. Sessions penned the ultimately-rejected resignation letter after President Trump tore into him in the middle of a meeting in the Oval Office, the Times reporting Thursday.

Trump hurled a litany of insults at Sessions, including calling him an “idiot,” for his decision to recuse himself from the FBI’s Russia investigation, according to the Times. Trump also said that appointing Sessions as attorney general was one of the biggest mistake he’s ever made.

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The Twitter account for President Trump’s new pick for the Federal Election Commission was reportedly made private Tuesday evening after other Twitter users began noticing some of the nominee’s past sharing of anti-Protestant posts.

The White House announced late Tuesday night that Trump was nominating Trey Trainor, a Texas lawyer who repeatedly clashed with the state’s campaign finance regulators, to serve on the Federal Election Commission. Trainor is being picked to serve the remainder of a six-year term that expires in 2021, according to the White House announcement Tuesday night, but it is not entirely clear which current commissioner he will be replacing.

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Kris Kobach may have thought he had a slam dunk case when he showed up in New Hampshire Tuesday to claim mass voter fraud. Instead, he found himself getting dunked on — by both the members of the voter fraud commission he’s leading, and the witnesses who testified at its meeting — who bashed him for screwing up basic facts of New Hampshire’s elections law and accused him of jumping to conclusions.

Kobach, a leading proponent of restrictive voting laws who is the Republican secretary of state in Kansas and the vice chair of President Trump’s voter fraud commission, recently claimed New Hampshire was the site of enough voter fraud to have potentially swung the state’s 2016 election results. That didn’t play well in New Hampshire, where the commission’s second meeting happened to be held.

Before the start of the day’s second panel, Kobach attempted to tamp down some of his initial allegations, which came in the form of a Breitbart op-ed where he wrote that “Now there’s proof” of significant voter fraud in New Hampshire. But even before that, Kobach’s claims had been undercut by the testimony of a witness during the first panel who explained New Hampshire’s requirements to vote.

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John Lott, a pro-gun rights writer who 10 years ago also wrote an article about voter fraud, appeared in front of the President Trump’s voter fraud commission Tuesday to promote an idea that appeared to be a troll of Democrats concerned that the commission would lead to restrictive elections laws that would suppress voting.

To quell Democrats’ concerns about anti-fraud measures leading to voter suppression, Lott suggested that the background check system that is used to clear gun purchasers should be used on those seeking to vote, as was hinted in a copy of his presentation posted online by the White House last week:

Democrats have long been concerned about voter suppression but they’ve also long lauded the background check system on guns, saying it’s simple, accurate, in complete harmony with the right of people to go and defend themselves,” Lott said, while referencing a quote from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) praising the use firearm background checks.

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President Trump’s voter fraud commission holds its second meeting Tuesday, with members meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire to discuss “Historical Election Turnout,” “Election Integrity Issues” and “Public Confidence,” according to an agenda for the meeting posted last week.

It is being vice-chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), an immigration hardliner known for pushing restrictive voting laws. The commission’s chair, Vice President Mike Pence, is not expected to attend.

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The Justice Department is siding with Joe Arpaio in asking a federal judge to toss the criminal contempt case that spurred President Trump’s pardon of the former Arizona sheriff, who had been found in contempt of court for violating a court order.

“The President’s decision to grant Defendant a ‘[f]ull and [u]nconditional [p]ardon [f]or [h]is [c]onviction’—and Defendant’s decision to accept it—ends this prosecution,” the DOJ said in a court filing Monday. “The presidential pardon removes any punitive consequences that would otherwise flow from Defendant’s non-final conviction and therefore renders the case moot.”

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White House counsel Don McGahn and former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus have hired a prominent white collar attorney in Washington to advise them on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, which reportedly is turning its focus to decisions made in the White House related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

An unnamed source told Law360 that William Burck, a partner at the firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, has been brought on by both McGahn and Priebus.

Burck is a former assistant U.S. attorney and was a deputy counsel to President George W. Bush, according to the Law360 report. He also defended former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) in a high-profile corruption case that went to the Supreme Court, where McDonnell’s convictions were overturned.

According to reports in the Washington Post and the New York Times, the Mueller probe has sought interviews with McGahn, Priebus and other current and former aides to President Trump. The probe is said to be examining Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, as well as the White House’s initial response to the revelation that Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met with Kremlin-linked figures during the presidential election.

Hope Hicks, a top Trump aide and the interim White House communications director, has also hired a private attorney to represent her in the probe, Politico reported over the weekend. 

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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) generated a bevy of criticism for the voter fraud commission that he’s vice-chairing last week by jumping on a wildly speculative claim that New Hampshire’s 2016 presidential and Senate elections may have been swung by nonresidents pouring into the Granite State to take advantage of its same-day voter registration.

When President Trump’s so-called “elections integrity” commission gathers in New Hampshire on Tuesday for its second meeting, it appears ready to double down on those widely-mocked allegations, judging by presentations planned for the meeting and posted by the White House on Friday evening.

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President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. released a statement Thursday via Twitter after his five-hour closed-door interview with Senate Judiciary Committee that said he answered “all” the questions the committee and staff posed, “until both sides had exhausted their lines of questioning.”

“I trust this interview fully satisfied their inquiry,” Trump Jr. said.

Democrats on the committee have indicated they’d like the President’s son to also testify in a public setting.

A statement Trump Jr. offered during the committee interview that leaked earlier Thursday detailed his account of the Trump Tower meeting he attended in June of 2016 with Kremlin-linked figures.

“I did not collude with any foreign government and do not know of anyone who did,” Trump Jr. said in the statement to the committee.

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