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Speaking from Tokyo in her first "Meet the Press" interview ever, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told NBC's Chuck Todd that President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un "agree in their assessment" of former Vice President Joe Biden, who Trump called a "low IQ individual" in a tweet Monday evening.

TODD: Can you explain why Americans should not be concerned that the president of United States is essentially siding with a murderous authoritarian dictator over a former vice president in the United States?
SANDERS: Chuck, the president's not siding with that. But I think they agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden. Again, the president's focus in this process is the relationship he has and making sure we continue on the path towards denuclearization. ... The president watched [Biden] and his administration with President Obama fail for eight years. He's come in in two and a half, he's cleaned up a lot of the messes that were left behind. We shouldn't even be in the position that we're in to have to deal with North Korea at the level we are if they had done their job in the first place.

Why it matters: This is not the first time that Trump has taken the side of a foreign authoritarian over Americans that he deems his political enemies. As Axios has previously reported, Biden has been in Trump's head for months. His advisers take the former vice president very seriously and see him as Trump's biggest threat to re-election — and have been surprised to see him dominating early in a primary that was expected to be steered by left-wing activists.

The big picture: Sanders, like Trump on Sunday, downplayed the significance of North Korea's recent missile tests, saying none of them have posed "a threat" to the U.S. or its allies.

Todd challenged her on comments by the prime minister of Japan and by national security adviser John Bolton that North Korea had violated a UN resolution with its tests. Sanders deflected the question and reiterated what has long been Trump's stance on foreign diplomacy: He believes in his personal relationship with Kim and that the dictator "will stay firm with the commitment that he made to the president and move towards denuclearization."

Go deeper

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.