News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Will Trump Tap Out of the Iran Deal and Much, Much More

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a signed proclamation as First Lady Melania Trump looks on during the Launch of First Lady Melania Trump's Initiatives on May 7, 2018 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Photo by Olivier Douliery/ Abaca Press(Sipa via AP Images)

Good Tuesday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • The president meets with Republican members of the Senate
  • President Trump has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and the secretary of Homeland Security
  • The president gives remarks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
  • President Trump gives remarks at the Federal Judges Association reception

There are primary elections today in Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Trump to announce Iran deal decision today

Today, President Trump will announce if the U.S. will continue with the Iran deal (JCPOA) or tap out. He’s expected to tap out.

President Trump is expected to announce on Tuesday that he is withdrawing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, European diplomats said after concluding that they had failed to convince him that reneging on America’s commitment to the pact could cast the West into new confrontation with Tehran.

The New York Times tells us that a European diplomat thinks the chances Trump will decide to stick it out are “very small.”

Mr. Trump has insisted that “sunset clause” simply put off the day when Iran would become a nuclear-armed state. The agreement, he has said, failed to address Tehran’s growing missile capability and expanding influence in the Middle East — all funded, he insisted, from cash that was returned to the Iranians as a part of the deal, as well as its resumed oil trade.

It’s unclear how the president’s (presumed) decision to jettison the deal will affect our European allies, who enjoy doing busine$$ with Iran. Former Secretary of State John Kerry is conducting some shadow diplomacy of his own to salvage the flagship deal of the Obama administration, raising questions about violating the fashionable Logan Act. Has anyone seen James Taylor recently?

“If the President decides to leave the deal, it’s hardly the end of the world — or even bad,” said Jim Phillips, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. “Instead, it should be seen as a necessary step to confront one of the deadliest threats Americans, Israelis, and Gulf Arabs face.”

French President Macron warned leaving the deal “would open the Pandora’s box. There could be war.” He added, “I don’t think that Donald Trump wants war.”

Iran says it will not negotiate. “Iran will not renegotiate what was agreed to years ago and has been implemented,” Javad Zarif said in a YouTube video on Thursday. “We will neither outsource our security nor will we renegotiate or add on to a deal we have already implemented in good faith.”

Stay tuned.

NY Attorney General has his #metoo moment

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned yesterday after four women came forward to say he had abused them.

Four ex-girlfriends of Schneiderman, two of whom chose to be named — Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam — told The New Yorker that Schneiderman abused them after drinking and often while in bed.

Neither woman went to police but told the magazine they did seek medical attention.

“After I found out that other women had been abused by Attorney-General Schneiderman in a similar manner many years before me, I wondered, who’s next, and knew something needed to be done,” Selvaratnam said in a statement obtained by ABC News. “So I chose to come forward both to protect women who might enter into a relationship with him in the future but also to raise awareness around the issue of intimate partner violence.”

Schneiderman denies the allegations. “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity,” Schneiderman said in a statement earlier Monday. “I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is I line I would not cross.”

The Daily Caller writes, “The women claimed that he slapped and choked them, threatened to kill them if they broke up with him and even warned them that he could have their phones tapped.”

And then there’s this:

Developing…

Gina Haspel confirmation hearing tomorrow

USA Today predicts her hearing will be “bruising.” In that last few days there was some chatter that Haspel had offered to withdraw her nomination due to her controversial secret past, but she will be moving forward and has been working the Senate to win over some of her naysayers.

The usually press-averse Haspel entered the Senate Hart building in full view of waiting cameras and had a uniform message throughout the day. “Hi everyone. Looking forward to Wednesday,” she said to reporters before heading into her first meeting with Senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia.

Over the course of the afternoon, she also visited with Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-California and Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, and is expected to return to Capitol Hill to meet with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, on Tuesday. All are crucial votes in a confirmation effort the White House has acknowledged is “close,” and likely to come down to a 50-49 margin, with Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, absent.

Haspel’s career is mostly classified as she worked covertly for years. The CIA dropped off some files for the senators to browse yesterday in preparation for the hearing.

“As Acting Director Haspel promised, CIA delivered a set of classified documents to the Senate today so that every Senator can review Acting Director Haspel’s actual, and outstanding record,” said CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani. “These documents cover the entirety of her career, including her time in CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center in the years after 9/11. We encourage every Senator to take the time to read the entire set of documents.”

Haspel is controversial because she purportedly oversaw a black site in Thailand where there may have been some torture or “enhanced interrogation” used. Also, “her involvement in ordering the destruction of 92 videotapes – some of which documented the interrogations – while serving as chief of staff to then-Director of the clandestine service, Jose Rodriguez, in 2005.”

Some of the senators are unsatisfied with the newest batch of unclassified documents. “I’ve received the entire file, have reviewed everything that they have made available…This is self-serving declassification,” Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) told CBS News. He said it’s “a cover-up from A to Z.”

On the other hand, More than 50 intel, security officials from both parties back Gina Haspel as CIA turns over files.

More than 50 former top national-security and intelligence officials who know her directly, including six former CIA directors, three former directors of national intelligence and two former secretaries of state, signed a letter supporting her nomination, The Wall Street Journal reported. The group includes former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as well as John Brennan, who led the CIA under President Barack Obama.

Brennan? Yuck. My sources say Haspel is a Brennan protege, which does not win her any points in my book.

Stay tuned.

Historical picture of the day:

Richard Dawson, foreground, is in his familiar role as host of “Family Feud” when the casts of ABC’s comedy series “Eight is Enough,” “The Love Boat,” “Soap,” and “Three’s Company” compete to benefit charity Monday May 8, 1978. (AP Photo/ho)

Other morsels:

Melania Trump lays out first-lady agenda: ‘Be Best’ agenda to safeguard well-being of kids

Melania Bullied For Her Looks, Accent After Anti-Bullying Speech

Sessions unveils ‘zero tolerance’ policy at southern border

ABC Covers ‘Star Wars Day’ More Than 3.9 Percent Unemployment

McCarthy, Scalise just stop short of calling for Sessions to be held in contempt

Oliver North picked to be next NRA president

Mueller rejects Trump request to answer questions in writing

Civil rights groups to sue Ben Carson over Obama-era rule on fair housing, reports say

Confirmed: McConnell now answering his phone as “Cocaine Mitch”

‘You’re Going To The Jail!’ — Jeff Sessions Calls Out The Migrant Caravan By Name

Trump grows frustrated with Giuliani as Stormy Daniels drama rages on

David Hogg is postponing college to push gun control

Donald Trump to award Medal of Honor to Navy SEAL for gallant rescue in Afghanistan

Roger ‘Stone’s Rules’ Revealed In New Book!

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!