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Trump in tweet: Clinton colluded to beat Sanders

Donald Trump is pictured.

"Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude," Trump said. | AP Photo


America’s 11 Most Interesting Mayors

America’s 11 Most Interesting Mayors

At a time when one yellow-haired, Twitter-happy personality dominates American discourse, it’s easy to forget how much political energy—and important new thinking—emanates not from the nation’s capital but from city hall. We surveyed dozens of national and local political junkies, and came up with 11 leaders who are compelling for the fights they are waging, their personal backstories and how they are transforming their cities, often without Washington. Plus: Seven more to watch.

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Eric Garcetti | Los Angeles, California
The mayor who would be president
By Edward-Isaac Dovere

Back in 1984, when he was mayor of San Antonio and a rising star in the Democratic Party, Henry Cisneros got a final-round interview to be Walter Mondale’s presidential running mate. Mondale decided against it: It was a little too much for a local official to make the leap right onto the national stage.

It’s early still, but many top Democrats have started assuming Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will skip that step entirely and run for president himself in 2020. Garcetti has helped fan that speculation, already talking to strategists and big donors about the prospect. And it helps that, as cities step up their resistance to President Donald Trump, Garcetti has been able to jump into the national debate on issues like immigration, health care and infrastructure.

“My main job, and my overwhelming job, starts with my family, my street, my neighborhood and my city,” Garcetti told Politico ’s Off Message podcast in May. “But I’m playing too much defense in my backyard to not get involved in the national discussion.”

If Garcetti runs for president, he wouldn’t just make history as a rare sitting mayor to do so. He also has the potential to be the first Hispanic and the first Jewish president. Garcetti is the 46-year-old grandson of an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, and the son of a former L.A. district attorney—Gil Garcetti, of O.J. Simpson trial fame—and a mother whose parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. The mayor can order his bagel and lox, which he loves, in fluent Spanish. He was also a Rhodes Scholar and a Navy Reserve intelligence officer, and likes to tell stories about the time in high school when he traveled to Ethiopia to deliver medical supplies.

As mayor, Garcetti has successfully pushed for tax increases to fund a mass transit plan and more housing for the homeless, and he won a second term this year with 81 percent of the vote. His big project over the next few months is landing the Olympic Games in 2024 or 2028. The choice is expected in September, and Garcetti is putting off any decision about his political future until after that. There’s an open governor’s race in California next year, but people close to Garcetti don’t think that’s where his heart is, especially if he can go straight to a White House run. There’s also the chance of an open Senate seat if Dianne Feinstein retires, but that job doesn’t seem to


I Found Trump’s Diary—Hiding in Plain Sight

Lots of people want President Trump to stop tweeting. Mitch McConnell wants him to stop tweeting. Carly Fiorina wants him to stop tweeting. Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins and other Republican members of Congress and some Democrats in Congress and Jeb Bush and many of Trump’s advisers and attorneys and even some of his supporters (although not all of his supporters) want him to stop tweeting. His wife wants him to stop. A majority of business leaders want him to stop, and a majority of millennials , and a majority of voters , period. His tweeting, they all believe, is unseemly and incendiary, legally risky and chaotic, undiplomatic, demoralizing, destructive, and distracting, too—for everybody, but especially for Trump.

The people, though, who want Trump to keep tweeting are the people who rely on his words to do their jobs—reporters, biographers, political scientists and strategists, and presidential historians. They often are appalled by the content of the tweets, just plain weary like everybody else of the volume and pace of the eruptions and deeply worried about their consequences as well—but still, they say, the more Trump tweets, the better.

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Trump’s Twitter timeline is the realest, real-time expression of what he thinks, and how he thinks. From his brain to his phone to the world, the “ unfiltered ” stream of 140-character blurts makes up the written record with which Trump is most identified. “I think Twitter,” one White House official told POLITICO, “is his diary.”

It is, presidential historian Robert Dallek told me, “a kind of presidential diary.”

“A kind of live diary,” Princeton University political scientist Julian Zelizer said.

His version of a diary,” said Douglas Brinkley, the editor of The Reagan Diaries .

Many modern presidents have kept a diary of some sort—that no member of the public sees until long after the author has left the Oval Office. The White House didn’t respond to four requests for comment on whether Trump is following suit, but people who know him well say it’s all but impossible to imagine him sitting down with a pen and paper in a quiet moment. “Absolutely zero chance,” one of them said. In the presumed absence, then, of a more traditional version of the form, Trump’s collected tweets comprise the closest thing to a diary this presidency will produce. And that is what makes the messages from @realDonaldTrump , almost 800 and counting since January 20, 2017, such a prize to those who care the most about lasting insight into the president and this administration. If @realDonaldTrump was to go dark, and Trump stopped tweeting to his more than 32 million followers, humans and bots alike, the loss from a historical standpoint would be acute. What else would there be to memorialize the breathtaking bluntness of the 45th president of the United States? But can the nation weather the daily injury of Trump’s epistolary eye-pokes?

Diaries, presidential or otherwise, typically are private and contemplative, and Trump’s Twitter feed is on


Freedom Caucus holds fire on Senate Obamacare repeal bill

The most hardline conservatives in the House are taking an unusually cautious approach to the Senate's Obamacare replacement, promising to keep an open mind about whatever their colleagues across the Capitol send back.

It’s a change in strategy for the House Freedom Caucus.

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When House leaders first released a health care bill in February, for instance, group members took to television talk shows to pan the plan as “Obamacare lite,” furious that it didn't, in their eyes, do enough to unravel the 2010 health care law.

They also threatened to withhold their support until changes were made, and later won concessions.

For now, those hardball tactics have disappeared. As the Senate looks to pass its own health care legislation this week, those same House conservatives are taking a more measured approach — even as several conservatives in the Senate are currently balking at the bill.

"I would like it to be better but if this is the best we can do across the whole conference and the whole Congress, I have to respect that," said Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), a Freedom Caucus member.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said last week that he — and the majority of the group — would likely back the Senate measure if it includes a few changes offered by conservative ally Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). And he's signaled in recent weeks a willingness to bend on other Freedom Caucus priorities, including state waivers for Obamacare regulations that were essential to winning over the hard-liners’ support in the House just a few weeks ago.

As senators began negotiating, the Freedom Caucus refrained from taking formal positions on ideas floating around the upper chamber that many in their ranks would have once rushed to oppose. And Freedom Caucus vice chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Thursday said it’s unlikely that they’ll weigh in on the plan soon.

It's a notable change in tone from the typically rigid negotiating tactics of the Freedom Caucus. And it’s all aimed squarely at allowing their Senate colleagues breathing room to conduct difficult negotiations.

"I'm optimistic that in the effort to find 51 votes in the Senate and 218 votes [in the House], that some of those compromises are being made," Meadows told reporters Thursday, hours after the Senate released its initial health care plan.

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Since the House passed its bill in May, the Freedom Caucus has kept a low profile, freeing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to find consensus without conservative House members blasting his every move.

In an interview late last month, Meadows even joked that his involvement would probably just tank the Senate process: “Leader McConnell doesn’t need Mark Meadows to tell how to get consensus in the Senate. And quite frankly, the more that Mark Meadows tries to help


Trump allies push White House to consider regime change in Tehran

As the White House formulates its official policy on Iran, senior officials and key Trump allies are calling for the new administration to take steps to topple Tehran’s militant clerical government.

Supporters of dislodging Iran’s iron-fisted clerical leadership say it’s the only way to halt Tehran’s dangerous behavior, from its pursuit of nuclear weapons to its sponsorship of terrorism. Critics say that political meddling in Iran, where memories of a 1953 CIA-backed coup remain vivid, risks a popular backlash that would only empower hardliners.

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That’s why President Barack Obama assured Iranians, in a 2013 speech at the United Nations, that “we are not seeking regime change.”

But influential Iran hawks want to change that under Trump.

“The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who speaks regularly with White House officials about foreign policy. “I don’t see how anyone can say America can be safe as long as you have in power a theocratic despotism,” he added.

Cotton advocated a combination of economic, diplomatic and covert actions to pressure Tehran’s government and “support internal domestic dissent” in the country. He noted that Iran has numerous minority ethnic groups, including Arabs, Turkmen and Balochs who “aren’t enthusiastic about living in a Persian Shiite despotism.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to endorse subverting the Iranian regime during recent testimony about the State Department’s budget when Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) asked the diplomat whether the Trump administration supports “a philosophy of regime change” in Iran.

Susan B. Glasser’s new weekly podcast takes you backstage in a world disrupted.

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Noting that Trump’s Iran policy is still under review, Tillerson said the U.S. would work with Iranian opposition groups toward the “peaceful transition of that government.”

In response, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif lashed out on Twitter, saying that the U.S. was “reverting to unlawful and delusional regime-change policy” towards his country.

“US officials should worry more about saving their own regime than changing Iran’s,” he added.

On Wednesday, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations filed a formal protest over Tillerson’s statement, saying it revealed “a brazen interventionist plan that runs counter to every norm and principle of international law,” and a group of prominent Iranian reformists wrote a public letter condemning Tillerson’s “interventionist” stance.

A State Department spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

NSC spokesman Michael Anton said that manipulating Iran’s internal politics is not currently a U.S. goal—nor among the “objectives” set in the initial stage of the White House’s routine Iran policy review. “An explicit affirmation of regime change in Iran as a policy is not really on the table,” Anton said.

As a candidate, Trump was sharply critical of U.S. efforts to topple dictators in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, though each of those instances involved the use of military power, which virtually no Iran hawks currently

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