Jul 18, 2017

Trump gave his staff heartburn on Iran deal re-certification

Alex Brandon / AP

The Trump administration re-certified yesterday that Iran is in compliance with its nuclear deal, preventing Congress from having to decide whether to levy additional sanctions or scrap the deal in its entirety.

  • But it was only after a day-long drama featuring the president's advisers trying to get him to change his mind, I can independently confirm, as reported last night by Peter Baker at the New York Times and this morning by Eli Lake at Bloomberg View.
  • The vast majority of the principals — led by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster — were in favor of the U.S. staying in the deal. But Trump hates the deal, and the decision goes against Trump's gut instincts.
  • Why it matters: It's not just the media that Trump keeps in suspense — he frequently keeps his top advisers guessing on consequential decisions until the last minute. Yesterday's decision shows he's willing to go against his gut instincts, but not without giving his team serious heartburn. Trump re-certified again, but his top advisers are far from confident he'll do it again the next time.

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