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Will Trump nuke the Iran deal? Not necessarily

Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Hershey,

Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Hershey, Pa., on Nov. 4, 2016. Credit: AP / Evan Vucci

Iran accord still has a pulse

Candidate Donald Trump called the 2015 accord to forestall Iran’s nuclear weapons development a “disaster” and “the worst deal ever negotiated.”

But the agreement is not so easily undone. France, Germany, China, Britain are parties to it. So is Russia, with which Trump wants improved relations. The UN Security Council approved it. Any unilateral move to revoke or renegotiate it could put the United States on the wrong side of international law.

An Iranian official said Wednesday that his country expects Trump to display “more rationality” now. French President Francois Hollande said he did not believe Trump would scrap it. Germany said it will try to convince Trump that the agreement remains “the right policy.” Several congressional foes of the original accord say they would focus on tougher enforcement, not an abrogation.

What are Trump’s intentions? Walid Phares, an adviser to the president-elect, told BBC radio that Trump will “review” the agreement and demand changes from Iran. “It could be a tense discussion,” he said.

Giuliani has more competition

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has emerged as another potential candidate for Trump’s secretary of state, and her lieutenant governor, Henry McMaster, said he is in the running for attorney general. The president-elect was due to meet with her on Thursday.

Giuliani’s prospects to lead the State Department have been complicated by questions over his work for foreign interests in the 15 years since he left the New York City mayor’s office.

The take-away: Jared Kushner

Trump’s son-in-law, the husband of Ivanka Trump, is playing a central role in the transition and was a major force behind its recent shake-up. Though just 35, Jared Kushner has a history as power player through his publishing interests and his own family’s real estate fortune. See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.

Rep. Joe Crowley for top House Dem?

A small group of frustrated House Democrats is "agitating for big changes," trying to draft Rep. Joe Crowley, the Queens party leader, to challenge Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for minority leader, The Hill reported Thursday.

Odds are he wouldn't accept, though, the story cautions.

Dog bites man: Trump boasts in tweet

His latest on Thursday: "My transition team, which is working long hours and doing a fantastic job, will be seeing many great candidates today." So forget the obvious disarray of the shake-up. 

Which adds little to anyone's understanding of anything, but that's what we're going with, and a bit more substnantially, he's also slated to meet with Henry Kissinger at Trump Tower and other national-security advisers, transition aides said.

A Muslim registry?

Kris Kobach, an anti-immigration hard-liner who says he is advising Trump’s transition team, told Reuters that proposals are being drafted to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.

Such a program was adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, but dropped in 2011 by the Department of Homeland Security as redundant to other screening efforts. Kobach, now the Kansas secretary of state, helped design the program.

Trump hears out de Blasio

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had what he called a “very candid” meeting with the president-elect at Trump Tower.

The conversation lasted more than hour, and de Blasio said he told Trump how New Yorkers were “fearful” over his plans and “very concerned about his exclusionary policies.”

How did he respond? Neither the mayor nor Trump’s team provided details.

What else is happening

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Democratic colleagues elected him as minority leader Wednesday. He said he will work with Trump “on issues where we agree, but we will go toe-to-toe against the president-elect whenever our values or the progress we’ve made is under assault,” Newsday’s Tom Brune reports.
  • Trump’s call for congressional term limits is likely to be resisted by fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill, The New York Times said.
  • Eva Moskowitz, a former Democratic New York City Council member and a leader of the charter school movement, is under consideration to be education secretary, Politico reported.
  • Ted Cruz, interviewed on Fox, said Democrats are getting "nuttier and nuttier" in the election's wake but also said it was "time to put up or shut up" for the GOP.
  • A Washington Post poll finds 57 percent of American adults don’t want Trump to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, but 69 percent of Trump voters do.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Thursday will make the case for free trade and seek to build trust with Trump when he becomes the first foreign leader to meet with him as the president-elect.
  • Fox News will air a one-hour special Friday that will feature Trump giving a tour of his home, and also showing off and telling stories about his mementos.

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