Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

Scandal-plagued Republican Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was charged with a second felony Friday night for allegedly illegally obtaining a donor list from a charity and using it for fundraising efforts in his gubernatorial campaign.

“St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner reviewed the evidence turned over to her by my office and determined that there is probable cause to file criminal charges against the Governor,” Attorney General Josh Hawley said in a statement. “The Office stands ready to assist the Circuit Attorney’s Office where appropriate and if needed. These are serious charges—and an important reminder that no one is above the law in Missouri. Like all criminal defendants, Governor Greitens is presumed innocent under the law until proven guilty.”

The computer tampering charge came after Hawley announced earlier in the week that investigators had discovered evidence that Greitens obtained the donor list from the veterans charity he ran, the Mission Continues, and sent it to his campaign.

Greitens denied any wrongdoing in a Friday night statement.

“In the seven years I ran that organization, we helped thousands of veterans, won national awards for excellence, and became one of the finest veteran’s charities in the country. Those were some of the best years of my life, and I am grateful every day for the chance to help the men and women I served with,” he said. “I stand by that work. I will have my day in court. I will clear my name.”

A grand jury previously indicted Greitens in February with an invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a nude photo of a woman with whom he was having an affair in 2015. The governor has admitted to the affair but has denied the woman’s allegations of blackmail, violence, and sexual coercion.

Hawley, a Republican candidate for Senate, and other prominent Republicans have called for Greitens to step down as they worry that the embattled governor could weigh the entire party down. However, Greitens has refused to step aside and insists that the allegations made about him are all part of a witch hunt.

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President Donald Trump on Friday night tried to use the release of former FBI James Comey’s memos and the revelation that they contained classified information to question special counsel Robert Mueller’s jurisdiction over the Russia investigation.

Trump has been using the memos released this week to cast doubt on the Russia probe. In tweets Friday morning, Trump said that the memos showed that there was “NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION” and called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt,” as he often does.

The President has been particularly sensitive about the investigation since the FBI raided the home and office of his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. The raid reportedly made Trump more hesitant to sit with Mueller’s team for an interview and caused him to consider firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, though Trump has apparently backed off his urge to oust Rosenstein.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions told White House Counsel Don McGahn last weekend that he would consider resigning if President Donald Trump fires Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Washington Post reported Friday evening, citing sources familiar with the conversation.

Sessions’ call with McGahn came at the height of Trump’s rage over the FBI raid on his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen. Sessions called McGahn not to threaten his resignation, but to inquire about a meeting between Trump and Rosenstein, according to the Washington Post. Sessions was relieved that the meeting was not contentious and said that Trump firing Rosenstein would force him to consider leaving as well, per the Washington Post.

Rosenstein reportedly told Trump in that meeting that he was not the target of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe or the Cohen investigation, prompting Trump’s anger with Rosenstein to cool off.

Read the Washington Post’s full report here.

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The New York Times hit a nerve with its Friday afternoon report that President Donald Trump does not treat his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen very well.

Trump fired off a Saturday morning tweet storm blasting the New York Times report and one of its authors, Maggie Haberman. The President claimed that he has always treated Cohen well and predicted that Cohen will not cooperate with investigators for their probe into his business dealings, as the Times report suggested.

Trump also appeared to diss former aide Sam Nunberg, who was quoted in the New York Times story, by calling him “a drunk/drugged up loser.”

Trump originally misspelled Haberman’s name in the tweet, but he deleted and retweeted his rant with the correct spelling of her name.

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Rudy Giuliani, the latest addition to President Donald Trump’s personal legal team, believes that with his help, special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation could come to a conclusion within the next two or three weeks.

The former New York City mayor and Trump surrogate told the New York Post that he is going to work with the special counsel’s office to negotiate the compliance from the White House they need to end the investigation.

“I don’t know yet what’s outstanding. But I don’t think it’s going to take more than a week or two to get a resolution. They’re almost there,” he told the New York Post. “I’m going to ask Mueller, ‘What do you need to wrap it up?’”

Giuliani told CNN that he plans to ask Mueller’s team for a list of what they need in order for Trump to comply, and that the compliance could take as little as “a couple of weeks.” He said that Mueller’s probe “needs a little push” to come to a conclusion and that will be Giuliani’s role on the legal team handling the Russia investigation.

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The Environmental Protection Agency spent $45,000 to send two staffers and three security agents to Australia in August to conduct advance work for Administrator Scott Pruitt’s planned meetings with Australian officials, but the meetings were later cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey, Reuters reported Thursday.

The news of the EPA’s spending on the advance work comes as Pruitt is under fire for taking first class domestic flights, building an expensive sound booth in his office, and renting a room in a lobbyist’s condo.

The EPA staffers’ business class flights to Australia were permitted as aides can fly business class for long flights. EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told Reuters that the flights were “not news” and that the staffers were “adhering to the federal government’s travel policy.” Wilcox told Reuters that they have not yet rescheduled the meetings because they must take place while the Australian parliament is in session.

Read Reuters’ full report on the trip here.

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The memos written by former FBI Director James Comey reveal just how hellbent President Donald Trump is on cracking down on leaks to the media from his administration.

Trump bashed the media throughout his campaign and has continued to try to delegitimize coverage of his administration now that he’s in the White House, but the memos released Thursday night show that Trump wanted to throw journalists in jail.

During a conversation with Comey in February 2017, Trump allegedly complained about leaks on his calls with foreign leaders and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials. Comey wrote in a memo that he told Trump he would like to go after leakers and “nail one to the door as a message.”

In response, Trump suggested the FBI go after reporters and noted that reporters used to go to jail, according to Comey’s memo. Trump returned to the topic of jailing reporters later in the conversation, and he suggested that investigators jail reporters in order to extract information from them, according to Comey.

“They spend a couple days in jail, make a new friend, and they are ready to talk,” Trump told Comey, according to the memo.

Comey wrote that he laughed in response to that comment from Trump.

Read part of the memo on jailing reporters:

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Following the release of ousted FBI Director James Comey’s memos Thursday night, President Donald Trump responded with indignation, insisting that that the memos vindicate him and complaining that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s life was “destroyed.”

In a tweet published shortly after the memos were released Thursday night, Trump claimed that the memos show there was “NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION” and called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt.”

Trump followed up Friday morning with a tweet suggesting that Flynn was treated unfairly while Comey faced few consequences for actions that angered Trump. The President tweeted his defense of Flynn even though the memos allege that Trump told Comey he believed Flynn had “serious judgment issues.”

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The Justice Department’s inspector general has referred his findings on former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe to the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. for possible criminal charges, CNN and the Washington Post reported Thursday afternoon.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that McCabe misled investigators several times about his role in leaking information to the media. The inspector general sent the criminal referral to the U.S. attorney “some time ago,” according to the Washington Post.

The referral does not ensure that McCabe will face criminal charges, and it is not yet clear how the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. responded to the referral.

McCabe’s attorney Michael R. Bromwich noted in a statement that the bar for an IG referral was “very low,” while arguing that the reported referral was nonetheless “unjustified.”

“We have already met with staff members from the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Bromwich, a former DOJ inspector general himself. “We are confident that, unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the Administration, the US Attorney’s Office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute.”

The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General released its report on McCabe’s conduct to Congress last week. The inspector general found that McCabe lacked candor in four separate conversations with investigators about his involvement in a Wall Street Journal story about the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Three of those conversations took place under oath.

McCabe was fired from the FBI shortly before he was eligible to retire, ostensibly over his conversations with investigators about the Clinton email investigation story. McCabe disputes some of the report’s findings, and his lawyer said in a statement last week that McCabe’s “treatment was far more harsh and far less fair than he deserved.”

This story has been updated to include a statement from McCabe’s attorney

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Former Playboy model Karen McDougal reached a settlement with the publisher of the National Enquirer on Wednesday releasing her from her hush agreement, but her lawyer said Thursday morning that McDougal will still defend herself if President Donald Trump goes after her credibility.

“If Donald Trump tweets tomorrow and starts saying that she’s a liar, I feel pretty confident that action will be taken. She is going to defend herself, but she also cares about her privacy and her life” McDougal’s lawyer, Peter Stris, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Part of getting out of this contract is feeling like if she needs to defend herself, she can.”

Stris also said Wednesday night during Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show that while McDougal has settled her issues with American Media, Inc. (AMI), he believes that Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson, the lawyer who represented her while negotiating the contract with AMI, may still face consequences for their alleged involvement.

“Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen are carved out of this lawsuit. We’ll see where things go,” Stris told Maddow. “I’m very confidant that Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson will have to account for the things they have done.”

McDougal sued AMI in March demanding to be released from the contract she signed with the Trump-friendly media company shortly before the 2016 election. The agreement barred McDougal from sharing her story about her alleged affair with Trump in other publications, but AMI never ran a story on the alleged affair. In the lawsuit, McDougal alleged that Cohen was secretly involved in negotiating her contract with AMI. Cohen and Davidson were also involved in negotiating the hush agreement barring porn actress Stormy Daniels from discussing her alleged affair with Trump.

Watch Stris’ interview on MSNBC:

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