Morning Must Reads: September 4

4 minute read

Republican front-runner Donald Trump signed a GOP loyalty oath Thursday, but exposed a new line of attack against his campaign, as he struggled to answer questions about foreign policy. In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who will co-moderate this month’s GOP debate, Trump confused the Kurds and the Iranian Quds force, and said he was unconcerned by not knowing the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah. The interview sent some conservatives about predicting Trump’s fall is near, but many of his die-hard supporters who are frustrated with the Republican establishment may well accept Trump’s assertion that these were “gotcha” questions.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had branded himself the “joyful tortoise” on the campaign trail, in reference to a planned slow-and-steady race and positive message, but recently Bush has seemed like anything but. Sliding in the polls, Bush has gone on the offensive against Trump and worked to show he has energy on the stump. Asked whether he still had joy in his campaign, Bush told reporters Thursday, “You can be joyful and be tough, and that’s what I am.”

The GOP field is divided over the jailing of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to comply with a court order to provide same-sex marriage licenses, with some conservative Republicans turned her into a cause célèbre for government intrusion into the religious beliefs of individuals and more moderate candidates calling for her to change course. A top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Cheryl Mills, testified before the House Benghazi Committee Thursday for about eight hours, as a junior official who set up her private email server invoked the Fifth Amendment both to Congress and federal investigators. And Vice President Joe Biden says his 2016 decision comes down to family.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Donald Trump Stumbles on Foreign Policy Knowledge
Mixing up extremist groups, the GOP front-runner revealed holes in his knowledge of world affairs [TIME]

How Bush Went from ‘Winner’ to ‘Loser’ in Trump’s Eyes
TIME’s Alex Altman unpacks the tumultuous relationship

Jeb’s New Hampshire Blues
Pounded by Trump, outshined by Kasich, it’s an early fall for the onetime poll leader [Politico]

Former Clinton Aide Has Rebuffed FBI and State Department Investigators in Email Probe
Before invoking his Fifth Amendment right to Congress, he did so in other probes [Yahoo News]

Clinton Campaign Tries to Reassure Supporters
But officials also caution that, ‘It’s going to be bumpy, friends’ [Wall Street Journal]

Inside Israel’s Bid to Derail Iran Pact
Costly effort proves unsuccessful as Obama secures needed votes [Wall Street Journal]

Sound Off

“It sends a pretty ugly signal to me that somehow that we’re creating a different standard for one group against the other. Perhaps even more offensive was the notion that somehow I went down to the border and spoke ‘Mexican.’ Those are dogwhistle terms. He knows what he’s doing.”— Jeb Bush on Donald Trump’s criticism of him speaking Spanish on the campaign trail

“The factor is can I do it. Can my family undertake what is an arduous commitment that we’d be proud to undertake in ordinary circumstances. The honest to God answer is I just don’t know.” — Vice President Joe Biden on a possible presidential run in 2016

Bits and Bites

Republican Presidential Contenders Largely Back Kentucky Clerk [TIME]

Trump Promises Republicans He Won’t Make Third-Party Run [TIME]

How AIPAC Lost the Iran Deal Fight [Washington Post]

Joe Klein: Why It’s Good News That the Iran Deal Will Go Forward [TIME]

David Von Drehle: Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Doesn’t Seem to Get How the Constitution Works [TIME]

Legion of Tech Volunteers Lead a Charge for Bernie Sanders [New York Times]

Scuffle Between Trump Staffers, Protesters Dims Anticipated Campaign Announcement [NY1]

Chris Christie blames ‘this president’s deceit’ for Syrian refugee deaths [Washington Post]

For His Unconventional Campaign, Donald Trump Looks to an Unorthodox Manager [New York Times]

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