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I’m Susan Page, Washington Bureau chief of USA TODAY and author of THE MATRIARCH:...

I’m the Washington Bureau chief of USA TODAY. I’ve covered 10 presidential campaigns, interviewed nine presidents, and reported from six continents. Now I’ve written my first book, titled THE MATRIARCH: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, published April 2 by Twelve Books. Barbara Bush was somebody who millions of Americans thought they knew well, and loved. But in fact she was more complicated that her public persona, and she was more influential that almost anybody acknowledged. And her lifetime spanned an era of dramatically changing opportunities and expectations for women. All that is why I wanted to tell her story. I spent a fair amount of time with her during the final six months of her life, and she eventually gave me rare access to her private diaries. They were amazing. USA TODAY has run the first excerpt from THE MATRIARCH, from the chapter about her (strong) views about President Trump.

Joe Biden’s physicality is a mark of old-school politicians, not a creepy old man

USA TODAY In the fifty years I have spent in the company of politicians one of the things that most surprised me was their public physicality, like Joe Biden's. The more radical enforcers of the #MeToo movement are at present cuffing around former Vice-President Joe Biden for an incident that took place in Nevada in 2014. Revealing this in a New York Magazine blogpost, Ms. Flores’s account seemed timed to coincide with the imminent announcement of Biden’s intention to seek the Democratic presidential nomination and, it would appear, calculated to inflict the greatest damage on Biden. Biden’s defenders have rallied to his defense, making the argument that’s “Oh, that’s just Joe Biden”, a politician of inveterate physicality. Geraldine Ferraro was a toucher. There is a very distinct line between a public display of support, sympathy or affection and a transgressive physical invasion of a person’s body, or at least there ought to be. I am now often hugged by other men. I believe that Rep. Flores has misconstrued the actions of Vice President Biden. It was gesture by a man whose humanity happens to express itself in innocent physical contact. Is that less blameworthy than gripping a person’s shoulders in a gesture of support or solidarity?

Democratic Rep. Rick Staples faces allegations, investigation of sexual misconduct

The woman, who is not being identified by the USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee because she is a victim of harassment, alleged that Staples grabbed and held on to her waist while standing behind her after he had made inappropriate comments about her appearance. After the recent incident, she reported details about the encounter to House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, though she said she had to follow up with his office before receiving a reply. Stewart declined to comment for this story. If those actions are taken, Staples' personnel file will be updated in the coming days to include a letter that confirms he violated the harassment policy, according to the policy. A spokesman for Casada, R-Franklin, declined to confirm the existence of an investigation into Staples and referred questions to the legislature’s harassment policy. What you need to know: Four Tennessee lawmakers in four years accused of sexual misconduct 2 complaints filed, investigation commenced The investigation into the allegations against Staples occurred after at least two complaints were filed in recent weeks, according to multiple sources, though the nature of the second complaint is unknown. Since the complaint involved him, Staples would have been replaced on the subcommittee, as outlined in House rules. Staples is the 4th lawmaker in 4 years to face allegations Staples is the fourth House lawmaker in as many years to face allegations of inappropriate sexual actions and once again raises questions about the General Assembly’s handling of allegations of wrongdoing. Durham, who left the House Republican caucus, was later investigated by the state attorney general’s office, which found he had inappropriate sexual contact with at least 22 women. Lovell, who was a freshman lawmaker, was later found to have violated the legislature’s harassment policy.

Iran’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, abruptly resigns

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani still needs to accept Zarif's resignation. While President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from the nuclear accord, Zarif, 59, had been working closely with European nations to keep the deal alive in some form. His departure throws that cooperation into question. "I sincerely apologize for the incapacity to continue serving and all the shortcomings during the service," Zarif wrote on Instagram in a somewhat strangely worded resignation. "While Zarif is not above criticism, over the past forty years, the U.S. and Iran have had few clear channels for negotiations, and Zarif has long been a major proponent of U.S.-Iran negotiations and deescalation. "Hardliners in the U.S. have long cheered for Iran to be led by radical elements to make engagement difficult and validate calls for sanctions and military action. More: Trump-Kim summit: Trump hints at economic rewards for North Korea Following the Trump administration's withdrawal from the accord, the White House re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran last year. As Iranians braced for the full restoration of those sanctions in November, Zarif told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview that his government would be open to talking to the U.S. about a new nuclear arms accord if Washington changed its approach to the deal it exited. Zarif hinted in the interview that Iran's government was waiting to see whether Trump would be a one-term president before deciding to completely abandon the nuclear agreement. European nations, led by France and Germany, are trying to launch a financial mechanism to enable Iran to keep trading with some nations despite the U.S. sanctions.

Here’s who has called on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is facing mounting pressure to resign after a racist photo from his yearbook surfaced. But look, he’s lost the authority to lead. He's lost the authority to govern. He has to resign. It's in the best interest of the Commonwealth. It's in the best interest of the party." Former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder I stated, earlier, that Gov. It is difficult for anyone who watched the press conference today to conclude that he has any other choice ... but to resign. Our state president in Virginia has spoken with him and our position is the same.

2019 shapes up as a big political year. Look to California players making national...

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) officially kicked off a potential 2020 White House bid by forming an exploratory committee for the campaign. USA TODAY While 2018 has been a pivotal year in California’s political history — particularly the Republican Party’s losing half of its congressional seats — 2019 may be even more significant. The state’s politics will likely be dominated by two rolling events: the beginning of Gavin Newsom’s governorship and California’s bid to become a factor in presidential politics. That, coupled with not having to deal with a severe budget crunch on inauguration day like most other new governors, gives Newsom the luxury of easing into the job. Dan Walters: Outgoing Gov. That’s what happened to Jerry Brown when he became governor in 1975 and 14 months later, was campaigning for president. Even if Newsom’s not in the mix for 2020, California will be, thanks to moving its presidential primary from June to March. She’s said she’d make a final decision over the holidays. Californians are likely, therefore, to be treated — or subjected — to full-blown presidential campaign efforts in California this year because mail-in ballots for the March 2020 primary will be distributed about 13 months from now.

Cesar Sayoc colleague said mail bomb suspect recently started talking ‘non-stop’ politics

USA TODAY WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Scott Meigs has worked alongside Cesar Sayoc for two decades at strip clubs all over South Florida and said his colleague had never uttered a word about politics. “He started talking politics non-stop,” said Meigs, a 52-year-old West Palm Beach resident, as he worked his dee-jay shift Friday night at the Ultra Gentlemen’s Club. “He really was a very nice guy and would do anything for you,” said Meigs, who said this week Sayoc agreed to cover one of his shifts at the club. “He would always park in the back of the club and to tell you the truth, I thought it looked like an ice cream truck,” she said. She said he worked at the club as a dee-jay and floor host, four nights a week. Imon Karim, who owns a security camera in Palm Beach County, was trying to make a sale last month when he struck up a conversation with Sayoc at the Ultra Gentlemen’s Club. The conversation then turned to politics when Karim – trying to score a sale – told Sayoc that he also provided security cameras at political events. And he said Sayoc kept it up until this week before his arrest. In recalling one of his last conversations with Sayoc, Karim said he did appear more worked up about Democrats and the need to elect Republicans. “Now, I can’t believe the man sending me these anti-Democratic text messages for the last month turns out to be man arrested for sending pipe bombs to all these Democrats,” he said.

In John McCain’s final resting place, his legacy isn’t politics but a life of...

John McCain chose the United States Naval Academy Cemetery as the place he will lay rest. Naval Academy. Naval Academy Cemetery. "It's not necessarily political," Amy Bleidon, a 1998 Navy Academy graduate, said of McCain's legacy. "That lifelong devotion I think is what made him so well thought of by everyone," she added. It was at the academy where McCain met who would become a lifelong friend, Charles "Chuck" Larson. McCain and Larson remained close friends over their careers and will stay close even in death. Larson died in 2014 at age 77 and was buried at the Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis. Before his death, McCain picked a burial plot right next to his, both at the edge of a hill overlooking the Severn River. Annapolis is a Navy city.

Tax deal was about politics, not policy

Greg Hilburn/USA Today Network BATON ROUGE – Maybe it was Louisiana lawmakers’ exhaustion after four legislative sessions this year. Maybe the urgency of cuts only days away suddenly felt very real. Many lawmakers seemed almost giddy — dancing, clapping and taking selfies — after the agreement was struck and they could end the tense, frustrating months of arguing about state spending. She didn’t vote for either sales tax proposal in the second special session that cratered without a deal. And I just need to make sure you’re level-headed, remain strong, can handle it until the end because it’s going to get probably messy before we get there.” The House speaker, who helped block previous agreements on taxes, also gave lawmakers trying to rally tax votes an assurance. He said he told them if one of their tax measures had enough support to pass, “I will not stop that process.” When the deal on the 0.45 percent tax rate came up for approval, Barras supported it, lighting up his green button early enough to show other reticent Republicans his decision. Though House GOP leader Lance Harris didn’t support the final tax, he didn’t work to block it, a critical decision that helped pass the deal. The final deal avoided all the worst-case-scenario reductions. The House and Senate have spent 46 weeks — nearly an entire year — in session since 2016, as Edwards repeatedly called them back to work on closing budget gaps. Sen. Jack Donahue, the Mandeville Republican who handled Davis’ sales tax bill in the Senate, told senators: “I know you all are as sick of this as I am.