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Former President Barack Obama stands on stage Thursday with Democratic candidate Phil Murphy, who is running against Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno for the governor of New Jersey, in Newark, N.J. In Obama's first return to the campaign trail, the former president is stumping for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia as they prepare for next month's elections. 📷: @GettyImages 
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White House chief of staff John Kelly on Thursday forcefully and emotionally defended President Donald Trump's call to the widow of a U.S. soldier recently killed in Niger, accusing a Florida congresswoman of being "selfish" for attacking Trump's language during the condolence call.
“I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing,” Kelly told reporters at Thursday’s White House press briefing. “A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife — and in his way tried to express that opinion that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero.”
🔸 “He knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted,” Kelly continued, referring to slain Sgt. La David Johnson. “There’s no reason to enlist. He enlisted, and he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. That was the message.”
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) told reporters this week that Trump told Johnson's widow in a condolence call that he knew what he signed up for, a remark she framed as an insensitive comment the commander in chief lobbed at a grieving widow. She said she heard part of the conversation over speakerphone and said others were listening, too, including Johnson’s mother, who told The Washington Post that Trump had disrespected her family.
🔸 “John Kelly’s trying to keep his job,” Wilson told POLITICO on Thursday. “He will say anything. There were other people who heard what I heard.” — NOLAN D. MCCASKILL 
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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt makes a "miner" change to his agency's name in the latest from POLITICO cartoonist Matt Wuerker.

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ICYMI : Here's what happened today in Trump’s White House. 
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LIVE NOW: POLITICO's new Money podcast brings you to the intersection of Washington and Wall Street with the most influential minds on the economy. Every Wednesday, Ben White will help you understand the economic and financial policies that move markets. While money never sleeps, you have to — so let Ben keep you up to speed and turn dollars into sense. The first POLITICO Money podcast features Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Subscribe and listen now in your favorite podcast app. 
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In his latest, POLITICO cartoonist Matt Wuerker takes on the latest can President Trump is kicking. 
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ICYMI: Here's your chance to catch up on what happened today in Trump’s White House. 
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President Donald Trump said Monday he would like to see an "end" to the ongoing federal and congressional probes into Russian election interference, claiming that the public mood toward the investigations has soured.
"They ought to get to the end of it because I think the American public is sick of it," said when asked about special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe into potential ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian agents during the 2016 presidential election.
Trump, addressing reporters alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House, added that "there has been absolutely no collusion" yet proven by Mueller's team.
The president, who has dismissed the probes as "fake news," again blasted Democratic officials, claiming they continue to use the investigation as an "excuse" for their defeat during the 2016 presidential election.
"The whole Russian thing was an excuse for the Democrats losing the election and it turns out to be just one excuse," Trump said. —CRISTIANO LIMA 
#donaldtrump #presidenttrump #trump #russia #russiaprobe #trumprussiaties #robertmueller #election2016 #politics #whitehouse
Japan exasperated by Trump’s trade policies 🔸🔸🔸 TOKYO — Japanese officials are expressing growing frustration with the Trump administration’s economic policies, vowing to continue striking trade deals with other countries that undercut U.S. agricultural exports rather than seek a new trade agreement with the United States.
The frustration comes both from President Donald Trump’s harsh rhetoric on trade and from his pullout from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Japan still hopes can provide a bulwark against China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, there is growing evidence that the failure of the TPP is taking a sharp toll on rural America. In August, the volume of U.S. sales of pork to Japan dropped by 9 percent year over year, a serious blow to farmers who had been preparing for a big increase in sales because of lower tariffs in the TPP.
Instead, other countries that export meats, grains and fruits have seized on their advantage over American growers and producers in the wake of the U.S. pullout from the TPP. And a new Reuters poll shows Trump’s favorability in rural America — once a great stronghold — dropped from 55 percent last winter to 47 percent in September. The poll also showed a plunge in support for Trump’s trade agenda among rural voters.
Both Vice President Mike Pence and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue — who were widely known as free traders before working for Trump — have pointed to the president’s desire for “beautiful” new trade deals to replace the TPP. Perdue said this month that crafting a new deal with Japan was a top priority. And on Monday, Pence will meet with his Japanese counterpart as part of an effort to reboot the economic relationship between the two countries. -ADAM BEHSUDI
Read more:  http://politi.co/2zsTAQY 📷: @smahaskey / POLITICO 
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President Donald Trump said Monday that he decertified Iran’s compliance with a landmark nuclear agreement because he is “tired of being taken advantage of,” while also hinting that the U.S. could still fully pull out of the deal.
"I feel strongly about what I did. I'm tired of being taken advantage of as a nation,” the president said Monday during a meeting with his cabinet. "This nation has been taken advantage of for many, many years, for many decades, frankly, and I'm tired of watching it."
Trump announced his move to decertify Iranian compliance with the landmark 2015 nuclear deal on Friday, triggering legislation that gives Congress 60 days to decide whether or not to reimpose certain sanctions that had been lifted under the agreement. Trump has lambasted the nuclear deal, negotiated by former President Barack Obama along with the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany, as "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into."
The president said Monday that he is waiting for “phase two” of the deal, one that will either improve it or prompt him to withdraw the U.S. entirely. Of the latter option, the president said, "some would say that’s a greater possibility."
"We’ll see what phase two is. Phase two might be positive. It might be very negative. Might be a total termination," the president said. "That’s a very real possibility. Some would say that’s a greater possibility. But it also could turn out to be very positive. We’ll see what happens." —LOUIS NELSON 📷: @AP.Images 
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The latest from the desk of POLITICO cartoonist Matt Wuerker. 
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Catch up on what you may have missed this week in Trump’s White House. More at Politico.com. 
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