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  • Carsten Koall/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make back-to-back visits with President Donald Trump this week in a last-minute lobbying push to prevent the president from potentially sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal.Even while President Trump is set to turn on a major charm offensive with lavish pageantry as he hosts his first state visit, it's unclear if that will result in any movement in his commitment not to sign an upcoming May 12 waiver of sanctions against Iran without significant changes implemented by Congress.In an interview over the weekend on CBS' Face the Nation, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned that if the sanctions are implemented against Iran's economy, then the country would be forced to consider a number of "not pleasant" options."We have put a number of options for ourselves," Zarif said. "And those options are ready, including options that would involve resuming at much greater speed our nuclear activities."Macron separately appeared on Fox News over the weekend where he said the president runs the risk of Iran rebooting its nuclear program in a manner comparable to North Korea's own activity which over the past year has thrown the region to the brink of crisis."I don't have any plan B for nuclear against Iran," Macron said. "That's why I just want to say, on nuclear, let's preserve a framework because it's better than a North Korean type of situation."After his two days of meetings with President Trump, Macron will have the opportunity to make a similar pitch to lawmakers as he makes an address to a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday.Even as both U.S. and French officials say there's no expectation that a final decision will be reached on the Iran deal during the visit, Macron's own lobbying effort will soon be followed up on with a one-day visit by Merkel on Friday.Merkel and Trump have clashed on issues such as trade and the United States' plans to move its Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, so it's unclear what additional pressure she might be able to put on President Trump to back away from his commitment the last time he signed off on the Iran sanctions waiver.Merkel said in a recent interview with an Israeli TV channel that she understood the concerns from the U.S. and Israel regarding the agreement but that she would push vigorously for the continuation of the accord."We believe it's better to have this agreement, even if it is not perfect, than to have no agreement," Merkel said. "We will continue to discuss this, but Germany will watch very closely to ensure that this agreement will be fulfilled."In January, President Trump delivered remarks announcing he would not sign a waiver of sanctions for Iran if Congress did not pass new legislation including series of "fixes" to the nuclear deal, but ahead of the May 12 deadline there's no real indication that any such legislation could pass in time."This is a last chance," Trump said. "In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately." Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- French President Emmanuel Macron is arriving Monday in Washington for the first state visit of a foreign leader since President Donald Trump took office.For the 40-year-old Frenchman, the three-day trip is an opportunity to demonstrate the strong relationship between France and the United States, but also to discuss the topics on which the two allies diverge.“Strong, deep, old and solid,” Nicholas Dungan, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a professor at Paris-based institute Sciences Po, said, describing the relationship between the United States and its oldest ally.This U.S. invitation is perceived by the Elysée Palace – the French White House -- as an opportunity to “celebrate 250 years of friendship between our two countries.”Macron and Trump displayed their warm ties during last year’s Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.“They are getting along,” senior research fellow Marie-Cécile Naves of the French institute of International and Strategic Relations said, “especially if you compare to Trump’s relationship with other foreign leaders.”The French and U.S. presidents recently proved their capacity to act together by striking the chemical facilities of the Assad regime in Syria during a military operation alongside the United Kingdom.There are also topics of disagreement, most notably the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris Climate Accord and trade. Such issues will be discussed during the visit, according to the Elysée Palace.Trump is due to decide in the coming weeks whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement.What kind of progress France makes on this issue during the state visit remains to be seen. “We will develop our arguments and try to convince, but we do not expect to make diplomatic breakthroughs,” the Elysée Palace said.The French delegation is being cautious on the Iran agreement, senior research fellow Naves said, but “Emmanuel Macron still hopes to persuade Trump to remain in the deal; it would be a big diplomatic victory for the French president.”The state visit will also be an opportunity for Macron to introduce himself to the U.S. people. He will address -- in English -- a joint session of Congress Wednesday.“He will send a message of friendship, respect and affection toward the American nation,” the Elysee Palace said.Macron will host a town hall with George Washington University students the same day, allowing him to reach a younger U.S. audience.“Emmanuel Macron has characteristics that are more classically American than French,” the Atlantic Council’s Dungan said.“He is professional, rigorous and understands the value of work.”
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  • Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump’s trade representative racked up a hefty bill on the purchase and subsequent return of a new desk for his office, emails reviewed by ABC News show.
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump arrived in Miami Monday afternoon for the latest in a series of events put on by the White House to promote the GOP's tax cuts passed late last year."Tomorrow is tax day and we're going to hear from everybody," Trump said in his opening remarks. "We have heard from so many people, they're so thrilled. Remember this is the last time we draw up that long, complicated, horrible return."With the 2018 midterms on the horizon, Republicans are hoping to counter-messaging from Democrats who have sought to label the cuts as far more favorable to the wealthy than middle-class voters.A new ABC News/Washington Poll out Monday shows a 10-point Democratic lead among all adults has narrowed to 4 points among registered voters and 5 points among those who say they’re both registered and certain to vote; neither of those is statistically significant.In January, by contrast, Democrats held similar margins in all three groups – 13, 12 and 15 points, respectively."We didn't get one Democrat to vote for us," Trump said, setting his sights directly on Florida's Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. "Senator Nelson was hostile to it. Let me tell you, if for any reason they get in, meaning the Democrats, they're going to raise your taxes way up high."Trump also used the occasion to praise the U.S. military following the missile strikes in Syria that were carried out over the weekend."Did our generals do a great job? Did our military do a great job?" Trump polled the room to cheers. "You know with more than 100 missiles shot, they didn't shoot one down."Speaking of his Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin, Trump, who has in the past only said he hires "the best people," made a rare admission acknowledging some missteps in his initial picks for his Cabinet."Not all of my choices were good, but they were great ones," Trump said. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The surprise firing of former FBI Director James Comey rocked the political world, and now he’s re-entering the fray with some revelations that could send shockwaves of their own.Comey weighed in with comments about some key political players, from ret. Gen. Petraeus to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an exclusive interview with ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos ahead of the April 17 release of his book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.Here are some of the most interesting opinions Comey shared on political figures:1. Sounding off on ret. Gen. David Petraeus’ misstepsComey spoke at length about the Hillary Clinton email saga, and when he was asked at one point to compare that situation to the case of Gen. David Petraeus, he said he felt the charges filed against the former general didn’t go far enough.Petraeus resigned in 2012 after revelations that he had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and shared classified secrets with her.“He was the director of the CIA,” Comey said. “He was having a romantic relationship with a woman who was also an author, going to write a book about him.”"He had taken home and stored in a backpack notebooks full of notes about some of the government's most sensitive secrets. Classified at the top level in the government, including conversations with President Obama about special access programs, some of our-- our most closely guarded secrets. And he had given these notebooks to this person who had neither a need to know, nor the appropriate clearance. And he'd actually allowed her to photograph pages containing top secret information. And then, when the F.B.I. interviewed him about it, he lied about it," Comey said.Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for mishandling classified information in 2015.
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