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Rep. James Clyburn, the top-ranking African American in American politics, told "Axios on HBO" that President Trump is a racist who hired white supremacists, warning America “could very well go the way of Germany in the 1930s.”

Why it matters: Clyburn is a force in Democratic politics widely credited for resurrecting Joe Biden’s campaign with his South Carolina primary endorsement. He warned in great detail of what he sees as troubling parallels between America today and Nazi Germany.

  • Clyburn said he believes Trump is a racist, but he stopped short of calling him a white supremacist.
  • He insisted there are white supremacists in the White House but would not name a specific person.
  • "I used to wonder how could the people of Germany allow Hitler to exist. But with each passing day, I'm beginning to understand how. And that's why I'm trying to sound the alarm."

Clyburn compared Republicans' coalescing around Trump to Nazis supporting Hitler amid his rise to power. He argued that falsehoods in Trump's State of the Union address showcased the issue.

  • "Fully half of those lies, the Republican side of the House stood up and cheered they knew that was not true. But they cheered him on. I really believe that the people of Germany knew Adolf Hitler was lying. And before they knew it, they no longer had a chancellor but a dictator. Anything that's happened before can happen again."
  • Clyburn also name-checked a congressional colleague, stating that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is a "poster child" for the shift of the Republican Party.

The bottom line: "There's a big difference between conservatism and the incompetence."

Go deeper

Pakistan PM will "absolutely not" allow CIA to use bases for Afghanistan operations

Pakistan will "absolutely not" allow the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to use bases on its soil for cross-border counterterrorism missions after American forces withdraw from Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan tells "Axios on HBO" in a wide-ranging interview airing Sunday at 6 pm ET.

Why it matters: The quality of counterterrorism and intelligence capabilities in Afghanistan is a critical question facing the Biden administration as U.S. forces move closer to total withdrawal by Sept. 11.

5 hours ago - World

U.S. wants nuclear deal done before Iran's new president takes power

Iranian negotiatorAbbas Araghchi arrives at the Grand Hotel Wien for the nuclear talks. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration wants to finalize a deal with Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal in the six weeks remaining before a new Iranian president is inaugurated, a U.S. official tells Axios.

Key quote: The official said it would be "concerning" if talks dragged on into early August, when Iran's transition is due to take place. "If we don't have a deal before a new government is formed, I think that would raise serious questions about how achievable it's going to be," the official said.