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Photo: Don Arnold/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton claimed that "Trump's fantasy about negotiating with the North Koreans" is more a play for positive headlines — or even a Nobel Prize — than national security.

What they're saying: In an appearance on the TBD with Tina Brown podcast from Wondery, Trump's 2016 opponent says she doesn't know "whose national security interests Trump is either pursuing or will actually try to defend" as he meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. She notes that the Russians and Chinese both have significant interests in the outcome of the summit, but that Trump himself is "much more interested in perceptions than reality."

More from the interview:

  • "All the intelligence, which Trump dismisses, suggests that it's unlikely if not impossible that Kim Jong-un will give up his nuclear weapons capacity. ... I don't know what Trump will claim, but I have serious doubts that whatever he claims will be actually achieved."
  • "At the end of the day, I think he would love to get a Nobel Prize — that was the biggest joke of the week, where he got [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe to nominate him for a Nobel Prize — by getting a deal and claiming it."
  • "And you know, this is what he used to do in real estate. So many guys who did business with him in real estate would say, you know, he'd have a $15 million profit from a real estate deal which he would call $150 million and then he would call everybody and beg them not to contradict the press because he was going to say it was $150 million not $15 million. That's how he sees negotiation."

Her bottom line: "So if he can put lipstick on a pig and he can say, 'OK, this is what we're going to do with North Korea, and he keeps saying it over and over again and Fox News says it over and over again and other outlets say it over and over again and the so-called mainstream media does their both-sides-ism ... he wins the news cycle. That's really what he lives for."

Go deeper: Trump believes the investigations against him weaken his standing with foreign leaders

Go deeper

Symone Sanders leaving VP's office

Vice President Kamala Harris and her press secretary Symone Sanders. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Symone Sanders, senior advisor and chief spokesperson to Vice President Kamala Harris, is leaving the VP’s office by the end of this year, three White House officials told Axios on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The VP has faced an onslaught of criticism in her first year centered on her leadership and staff, adding to the suggestion, she’s not the Democratic Party’s preferred nominee for 2024.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 3 hours ago - Health

Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The travel bans and border closures prompted by the Omicron variant likely won't fully prevent its spread, but that won't stop countries from leaning on the measures.

Why it matters: The rapid speed at which countries turned to travel bans with the emergence of Omicron indicates border controls will increasingly become a weapon against infectious disease — whether or not public health experts agree they are effective.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutdown politics

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.