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Iran looks eastward for help with U.S. pressure

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the nation in

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the nation in a televised speech in Tehran on Monday. Credit: AP / Iranian Presidency Office

The old squeeze play

The Trump administration moved Monday as expected to restore sanctions against Iran that had been lifted with its signing of a nuclear deal with the U.S. and Europe, with support from Russia and China, back in 2015. The White House says the goal is to force the Tehran regime into this choice: "Change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country will rely on China and Russia to shore up its banking and oil sectors as the U.S. returns to sanctions in the coming months. Economic insecurity there has weakened the currency, the rial, and inspired sporadic protests.

French, German and British ministers said in a joint statement: "We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran."

Steeling themselves

Two top American steel manufacturers have effectively kept U.S. companies that purchase steel from abroad from winning legal exemptions from the new tariffs, The New York Times reports. Companies that import materials for pipes, screws and wire in their supply chains become losers for the time being.

Speaking of metal fabrication, the president has been boasting about  steel-mill openings that are not happening. At one rally he said U.S. Steel "just announced" the opening of six new steel mills. At another rally, it was seven. But a company spokeswoman said there are none. 

Early Monday Trump adviser Larry Kudlow replied to a statement from Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Indiana) about ill effects from tariffs by saying "So far, the pain has been de minimis, really very little."

The matter with Kansas

Trump endorsed for Kansas governor the former head of his defunct "voter fraud" commission, who has repeatedly failed to show factual support for either his or the president's allegations of widespread illegal voting.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach "is a fantastic guy who loves his State and our Country," Trump tweeted.

Kobach has collected big legal fees by unsuccessfully defending towns that passed ordinances in the name of fighting illegal immigration, as Pro Publica and the Kansas City Star recently reported.

What Gates states

Rick Gates, the longtime business associate of ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — and a vocal backer of the president himself — admitted to crimes at Manafort's trial on tax and bank fraud charges.

Testifying under terms of a plea deal with prosecutors, Gates said he conspired with Manafort to falsify Manafort’s tax returns.

What else is happening 

  • Former Bush adviser Karl Rove said Trump would be "well advised" to tone down his "enemy-of-the-people" rhetoric.
  • A legal fund aimed at helping Trump's associates with fees related to the Russia probe raised $200,000 through June.
  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich, as part of a bid to offset voter alienation from a Trump endorsement, is also backing the GOP candidate in a special congressional election Tuesday.

  • Nobody seems to know what Trump is talking about when he tweets on California's wildfires and water. 

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