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October 15, 2017

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that President Trump's Friday announcement about the Iran deal was motivated by a desire to avoid a situation similar to U.S.-North Korea relations.

"The whole reason we're looking at this Iran agreement is because of North Korea," Haley told host Chuck Todd. "When you look at the fact that 25 years of botched agreements and negotiations and accountability not kept by North Korea, that's the whole situation that got us to where we're having to watch day by day to see if they do an [intercontinental ballistic missile] test going forward."

In another Sunday interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Haley further said the Iran announcement is meant to be a message for Pyongyang. Asked whether changing the terms of the deal will "send a message to [North Korea] saying it's not worth it to engage in any talks with the United States," Haley replied that it "sends the perfect message to North Korea, which is, 'We're not gonna engage in a bad deal, and should we ever get into a deal, we're gonna hold you accountable.'"

Watch a clip of the ABC interview below. Bonnie Kristian

October 15, 2017

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday to talk Iran, the 2016 election, and more.

"First of all, it basically says America's word is not good," Clinton said of President Trump's Friday announcement that he would not certify the Iran deal again. Trump, she argued, "is upending the kind of trust and credibility of the United States' position and negotiation that is imperative to maintain." By "working to isolate Iran on every issue" despite its deal compliance, Clinton added, Trump has given Iran "the aggrieved-party spotlight."

Later in the interview, the conversation turned to Clinton's newest book, What Happened, which examines her loss to Trump in the 2016 election, as well as the role of gender in politics.

"I would have won but for Jim Comey's letter on Oct. 28," she said of former FBI Director James Comey's letter to Congress reopening his agency's investigation into Clinton's private email server. "I think every day that goes by, the evidence of that becomes clearer," she went on, "and I don't blame any woman who hears that, 'Oh the FBI's opening another investigation into Hillary Clinton' for saying 'Well, I'm not wasting my vote' or 'I can't vote for her' or 'I'm just not going to vote now.'" For women, Clinton said, a vote is "a very personal commitment" so "they want to be sure they're right."

Watch Clinton's full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

October 15, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared on CNN's State of the Union Sunday with host Jake Tapper. In their conversation, Tillerson again sidestepped reports that he privately called President Trump a "moron" earlier this year. "I call the president 'Mr. President,'" he deflected. "At the end of the day, he makes decisions. I go out and try to implement those decisions."

The diplomat also responded to comments from Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) published Friday saying Trump has "publicly castrate[d]" Tillerson by undercutting his diplomatic efforts. "You have a cattle ranch — you don't want to say anything about the senator suggesting you've been gelded before the world?" Tapper asked. "I checked; I'm fully intact," Tillerson replied.

Watch a clip of the interview below. Bonnie Kristian

October 8, 2017

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined CBS host John Dickerson on Face the Nation Sunday to talk about her proposed bill banning bump stocks, a weapon modification Las Vegas shooting suspect Stephen Paddock used to make his semiautomatic rifles shoot more rapidly. The previously little-known device has become central to gun-regulation debates after the Vegas attack, as even the NRA has endorsed "additional regulations" on bump stocks.

"Regulations aren't going to do it. We need a law," Feinstein argued, because of the gravity of the issue at hand. "It can't be changed by another president. Right now we're seeing one president change actions of president that came before him, and that would happen in this area."

Still, Feinstein agreed with Dickerson that no law could have stopped the Vegas shooter. "Could there have been any law passed that would've stopped him?" Dickerson asked. "No," she replied, "[Paddock] passed background checks registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions."

Watch an excerpt of the senator's comments below and read the full transcript of her interview here. Or, check out the case for banning guns altogether by The Week's Paul Waldman, plus the case against it by Shikha Dalmia. Bonnie Kristian

October 1, 2017

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney talked taxes and President Trump's tweets about Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts in an interview Sunday with CNN's Jake Tapper on State of the Union.

Tapper began the conversation by asking Mulvaney to explain Trump's Saturday Twitter declaration that San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz "and others in Puerto Rico" want "everything to be done for them." "Who is 'they,' and what is the 'everything' they want done for them?" Tapper questioned.

"I think what the president's trying to get at is that folks think this is going to be easy," Mulvaney replied, casting Trump's comments as an exercise in managing expectations. "They saw what happened in Texas; they saw what happened in Florida; and they thought, 'Oh, this is easy to do' — and it's not," Mulvaney continued. "This was always going to be harder, we knew that," because Puerto Rico was hit by two successive hurricanes (Irma and Maria) and it is less accessible than continental areas.

Mulvaney also suggested Cruz is not adequately participating in relief efforts herself, and that the media is not fairly depicting federal relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

Turning to the subject of Trump's tax plan, Mulvaney argued that critics have jumped the gun because the bill is not fully written. "I've seen the criticisms," he said. "All I can tell you is that no one can make real, detailed analysis of the plan yet because it's not finished." Some details of the plan central to calculating its impact are not available, Mulvaney said, because they do not exist. For Trump, he added, lowering middle-class and corporate tax rates are the two big priorities.

Watch the full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

October 1, 2017

President Trump's tweeted comments about Puerto Rico, and specifically San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, are "unspeakable," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told host Jake Tapper in an appearance on CNN's State of the Union Sunday.

"It is unspeakable, and I don't know what world Trump is living in," Sanders said. "People in Puerto Rico are suffering one of the worst disasters in the history of that island. We have got to do everything we can to help them. We all have got to remember the people of Puerto Rico are American citizens, entitled to the same help as the people of any other community in America."

Trump's public response to Puerto Rico's devastation by Hurricane Maria struck many critics as too little, too late, and since focusing on the island territory, the president has turned much of his attention to labeling Cruz "nasty," a "poor" leader, and, by implication, a "politically motivated ingrate."

Sanders also weighed in on Trump's tax plan, slamming it as "really bad policy." Though the senator conceded there were some elements he could support, overall, he argued, it is "a massive transfer of wealth" to those who are already rich. Watch the full interview below via CNN. Bonnie Kristian

September 24, 2017

During an appearance on ABC's This Week Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin addressed President Trump's weekend attacks on pro athletes like Colin Kaepernick who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

Mnuchin argued free speech is not at issue because the NFL is a private organization which can set its own rules, eluding the question of how criticism from Trump, a government official, affects that equation. "This isn't about Democrats. It's not about Republicans. It's not about race; it's not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time," Mnuchin said. "This is about respect for the military and first responders and the country."

The treasury secretary maintained Trump simply wants the NFL to require all athletes to stand during the national anthem, a specification Trump did not make when he tweeted that kneeling protests "should not be allowed."

"The NFL has all different types of rules. You can't have stickers on your helmet; you have to have your jersey tucked in," Mnuchin said. "I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem." Bonnie Kristian

September 10, 2017

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) appeared on CNN's State of the Union Sunday to talk immigration policy, President Trump's debt deal with Democrats, and his own cancer diagnosis.

On immigration, McCain and host Jake Tapper discussed Trump's suspension of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a move many on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle oppose. A DACA bill ought to be formally passed by Congress in a "bipartisan," "comprehensive fashion," McCain said, including a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, because it isn't "conscionable to tell young people who came here as children that they have to go back to a country that they don't know."

McCain was critical of Trump's debt agreement, arguing that it should not be seen as "an exercise in bipartisanship" because it had been previously rejected by Republican leadership in Congress. The senator made the case that the deal is "basically devastating to national defense," though the United States remains totally unchallenged as owner of the largest and most expensive military in the world.

Turning to his brain cancer prognosis, McCain was mostly optimistic. "I'm facing a challenge, but I've faced other challenges," he said. "And I'm very confident about getting through this one as well." McCain is due to receive an update on his condition with new test results Monday. "Look, this is a very vicious form of cancer that I'm facing," he told Tapper, "but all the results so far are excellent." Watch an excerpt of the conversation below. Bonnie Kristian

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