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Biden to pick Iran nuclear deal negotiator Wendy Sherman for deputy secretary of state: report

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President-elect Joe Biden will nominate a chief architect of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Wendy Sherman, to serve as deputy secretary of state, Politico exclusively reported Tuesday.

Presently, Sherman has a senior counselor role at the Albright Stonebridge Group, the same firm where Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the president-elect’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, worked as a senior counselor too.

Two people familiar close to the presidential transition told Politico that Biden will pick the seasoned diplomat to serve under his nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, another Obama administration alumnus. Under former President Barack Obama, Sherman was under secretary of state for political affairs and was a chief negotiator during the controversial Iran nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

MORE ON BIDEN FOREIGN POLICY: ‘That would be a mistake’: Nikki Haley urges Biden not to ditch all Trump foreign policies

President Donald Trump, a major critic of Iran and the JCPOA, withdrew the United States from the agreement and cranked up sanctions on the authoritarian state, much to the frustration of U.S. allies in the multilateral agreement.

“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Trump argued in his May 8, 2018 announcement of the U.S. withdrawal. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”

MORE ON IRAN:

Iran will begin 20 percent uranium enrichment ‘as soon as possible’

Ex-Israeli ambassador advises Biden against re-entering the Iran nuclear deal

Since leaving the Obama administration, Sherman has been a vocal critic of President Trump’s foreign policy. She has especially gone after him for his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a July 2020 article in Foreign Policy titled “The Total Destruction of U.S. Foreign Policy Under Trump,” Sherman, while also attacking Trump for his handling of Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, wrote: “Years from now, we will hopefully discover the exact nature of Trump’s personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin beyond mere envy of power.”

Prior to serving under President Obama, Sherman also served in the Clinton administration as its policy coordinator for North Korea. Her role at the time has received scrutiny, with President George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State James Baker and Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton have both accused Sherman of “appeasement” toward the hostile totalitarian dictatorship.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”

Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.

RELATED: De Blasio ‘sickened’ by Cuomo sexual harassment claims

“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”

“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”

This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”

RELATED: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment claims, saying he ‘may have been insensitive’

During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.

“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”

“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”

Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.

RELATED: ‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video

Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.

“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.

“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”

He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.

Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”

“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.

MORE ON CUOMO: NY dem says state legislature is ‘inching toward’ Cuomo impeachment probe

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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