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2020 Election Update: Sanders Would Meet Putin; Harris Threatens Drug Maker Probe; Biden Won’t Be ‘Third Term of Obama’

Bernie Sanders Says He Would Meet With Dictators

Bernie Sanders said that as president he would sit down with authoritarian leaders like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un or Russia’s Vladimir Putin even though he remains critical of President Donald Trump’s “respect and affection for” dictators around the world.

“Should we sit down and negotiate with them? Absolutely,” the Vermont senator and Democratic White House contender said at a Washington Post Live news event Tuesday. “Should we praise them as a great leader? I don’t think so.”

Sanders also said that he would directly engage with leaders of Iran to try to improve strained relations and quell the risks of conflict that have been escalating under Trump. He said he would convene a broader meeting between the U.S., Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations to try to reduce tensions in the region.

“I think there is an opportunity to sit down with them, explain to them our concerns about their support for this or that terrorist group, their missile program,” Sanders said in the wide-ranging interview. “But also to tell Saudi Arabia and Iran that we are sick and tired of losing young men and women in the war on terror and spending trillions of dollars.”

Meanwhile, Sanders said he probably would not move the U.S. Embassy back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem if he’s elected, although he said that could be a factor in peace talks among the U.S., Israel and Palestinians. Trump in late 2017 announced U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, even though it is disputed territory.

Joe Biden Says He Won’t Be ‘Third Term of Obama’

Joe Biden’s presidency wouldn’t just be a continuation of Barack Obama’s two terms, the former vice president contended in an interview airing Tuesday.
“This is not a third term of Obama,” he told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski in an interview conducted Monday in Iowa when she asked about his relationship with the former president.

“The world’s changed. It’s different. We have the same value set, he and I,” Biden said. “It’s a different world. The same things don’t apply.”

The Democratic front-runner frequently invokes Obama on the campaign trail and has offered policy positions that align closely with the Obama administration’s work. He unveiled a plan Monday to defend and build on the Affordable Care Act at a time when other Democratic presidential hopefuls are looking past the signature Obama achievement on health care and advocating for Medicare for All. And he even fell into a trap Monday that Obama set on health care a decade ago, promising that under his proposal, “if you like your health care plan, your employer based plan, you can keep it.”

Despite their close ties -- which Biden noted include friendships between his granddaughters and Malia and Sasha Obama -- Obama has not endorsed Biden, which he claimed in the interview was “because I have asked him not to do that -- I don’t want to put him in that spot and I want to earn this on my own.” Obama has said that he will stay out of the Democratic primary until there is a nominee to avoid influencing the race.

Even without an endorsement, Biden wants voters to know that the ties run deep. “We’re friends. You know, it’s family,” he said.

Kamala Harris Threatens to Probe Drug Makers

A centerpiece of Kamala Harris’s new plan to tackle rising prescription drug prices is a threat to launch an investigation into drug companies that are “price-gouging patients.”

The Democratic contender says she’d do that by executive action if Congress doesn’t pass her plan to lower drug costs in her first 100 days. She says she’d demand that the bad actors lower their prices, and if they refuse, use regulatory powers to import cheaper alternatives and license some patents to low-cost competitors under the Bayh-Dole Act.

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—What to expect from the second Democratic debate

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—A new holding center for migrant children is open in Texas

—Fed Chairman Powell: If Trump asks me to leave, I won’t

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