Jul 24, 2018

Lindsey Graham loves Trump's renewed Iran hawkishness

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's all-caps war threat against Iran President Hassan Rouhani is a way for Trump to look like a tough guy at a time when that's being questioned because of his handling of Vladimir Putin.

The big picture: But it also builds a Trump comfort zone with Republican lawmakers, who remain publicly supportive of him while privately expressing frustration with his handling of a host of issues. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — an on-again, off-again critic of Trump — is off-again because of the administration's Iran offensive, especially a tough speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

  • Graham told Fox News' Martha MacCallum last night: "The Trump doctrine when it comes to Iran was the Reagan doctrine when it came to the Soviets."
  • Graham said Trump "is letting the Iranian president know there's a new sheriff in town."

Graham told me in the green room before his appearance that he plans to introduce a resolution of support for the Iranian people that he believes will draw support from almost all Republican lawmakers, plus many Democrats: "This is a moment in history."

  • Graham said the sense of the resolution will be: "We're all going on record to say we stand with you in your desire to determine your own destiny, pick your own leaders, express yourself and live in peace with your neighbors."

Go deeper

Warren sees bump in national poll following Nevada debate

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren surged to 19% and second place in a CBS News/YouGov national poll released Sunday, trailing front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders (28%) but edging out Joe Biden (17%) and Michael Bloomberg (13%).

Why it matters: The poll notes that only 42% of Democratic primary voters have made up their minds. While Warren underperformed in the first three states, her strong debate performance in Nevada last week may have given her campaign new life.

Pence aide says intel report of Russia helping Trump is "false information"

Marc Short. Screenshot: Fox News

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has not received intelligence that Russia is seeking to help President Trump win re-election, calling it "false information" that has been selectively leaked by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The big picture: Short and national security adviser Robert O'Brien both dismissed reports published in the Washington Post and New York Times last week about a briefing provided by top election security official Shelby Pierson, an aide to outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.

Bernie's juggernaut

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in San Antonio last night with his wife, Jane. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders won so big in the Nevada caucuses that Democrats are hard-pressed to sketch a way he's not their nominee.

Driving the news: With 60% of precincts counted (slow, but better than Iowa!), Sanders is running away with 46% of delegates — crushing Joe Biden's 20%, Pete Buttigieg's 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 10% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 5%.