In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Updated at 12:11 p.m.: A plan hatched by "Tortilla Coast" House conservatives to delay a Congressional vote disapproving of President Obama's Iran nuclear deal got the endorsement of their ringleader in the Senate, GOP 2016er Ted Cruz (R-TX), who took to the Senate floor to outline it Wednesday.

The plan would require lawmakers to vote on a resolution declaring that the Obama administration had not submitted the entirety of the agreement
-- specifically details of so-called “side deals” between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency -- and thus that the review period ordained by the Corker-Cardin compromise had not been triggered.

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Donald Trump launched his presidential bid with a race-baiting, xenophobic bang, suggesting Mexicans are a bunch of women-raping, drug-carrying criminals. But now that the Summer of Trump is turning into fall, it looks like Trump is trying to turn over a new leaf, promising a “a big fat beautiful open door” in his 1,954-mile-long southwestern border wall, agreeing to eat Mexican food with Geraldo Rivera, and winning the praises of the CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The softening is nuanced and doesn't suggest an earnest effort to make-nice with the still-furious Latino community. Rather it portends a long-term campaign strategy in which Trump tries to have it both ways: blow the dog whistle to rile the nativist extremes of the GOP base but temper his rhetoric to reassure more moderate conservatives who don't see themselves -- or want to be seen -- as racist.

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If the conservative voters who handed the GOP the Senate had an Obamacare repeal on their one-year wish list, they’re likely to be disappointed come this fall.

Republicans' promises that Obamacare would be on the chopping block as soon the GOP took control of the Senate are unlikely to be met by years’ end. After years of heated rhetoric, over-the-top campaign ads and even Supreme Court challenges, the repeal Obamacare movement continues to be a can kicked farther down the road. GOP congressional leaders are facing the political reality that the party lacks a concrete alternative to Obamacare, the votes to repeal it and, in the immediate future, a crowded calendar of extremely pressing other issues.

Now, GOP lawmakers are trying to figure out how to let down easily the base they primed for repeal across three election cycles, with some leaders lowering expectations for repeal maneuvers in the months to come and other Republicans weighing efforts to tweak the law instead.

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The day after the first GOP presidential debate, stats guru Nate Silver made a prediction: "Donald Trump Won’t Win A War Against Fox News."

The analysis on Silver's website, FiveThirtyEight, was based on a poll showing Republican voters had a high level of trust in the conservative news channel. The prediction came after the Republican frontrunner howled about the way he was treated during the debate, which was hosted by Fox and moderated by three of its best known anchors.

In the weeks since then, Trump has widened his lead nationally, and Fox was left to explain that moderator Megyn Kelly's vacation was pre-planned and had nothing to do with the Donald's complaints.

Below is a breakdown of how Trump ended up going to war with Fox and coming out on top.

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It's been nearly a month since longtime Republican operative Roger Stone resigned from Donald Trump's presidential campaign (or was fired, to hear Trump tell it.) But the two old friends haven't stopped talking politics.

"We’re on cordial terms. We talk. I have not signed on with any super PAC so I have no prohibition," Stone told TPM in a phone interview. "Trump has been my friend for 35 years. He’s still my friend."

Stone may be on the outside of the real estate mogul's campaign now, but he's still one of its most visible and vocal surrogates. In recent weeks, cable news bookers and newspaper reporters (as well as TPM) have turned to Stone to unpack the allure of Trump's candidacy, since the former Nixon operative spent so much time inside TrumpWorld and is now free of the constraints of the campaign.

Well, mostly free. Stone told TPM that he signed a confidentiality agreement preventing him from going into detail about the campaign's internal deliberations.

TPM caught up with Stone, who said he was running out for a coffee after a night without any sleep, Tuesday morning.

"I have a book coming out on the Clintons and the manuscript had to be in at 9 o' clock this morning so I was up all night," he said. "But it’s in."

Below is a transcript of the wide-ranging conversation, which touches on everything from the rising tide of white supremacist support for Trump to Stone's own U.S. Senate aspirations, that has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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A well-known confidante of Dr. Ben Carson said Tuesday that questions about the candidate's views on a Kentucky clerk's refusal to grant marriage licenses to gay couples are just "trying to create something that's new."

“Dr. Carson has said since the Supreme Court ruling that it is the law of land and that's what he respects,” a highly agitated Armstrong Williams told TPM in a phone interview.

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James O'Keefe promised a new undercover video campaign that would expose "illegal activity conducted by high-level employees within Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign." Tuesday, he released the first video, produced by his group Project Veritas Action.

His group's big scoop?

That a Canadian citizen spent $75 on Hillary swag at Clinton's June campaign kickoff event.

Reporters at the press conference O'Keefe held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to unveil the latest "gotcha" could not contain their disdain.

"Is this a joke?" one reporter asked O'Keefe.

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The havoc Donald Trump is wreaking on the presidential race is just the beginning of the problems he is poised to cause Republicans in 2016. Already Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric is becoming a flashpoint in the down-the-ballot campaigns. The direction he is pulling his fellow Republicans could put in jeopardy the GOP's majority in the Senate, as some of the cycle's most competitive races are taking place in states with heavy Latino populations.

Of the five states that had the largest share of Hispanic voters in 2012 cycle, Florida, Colorado and Nevada are holding what are expected to be extremely contentious Senate races. And already, some of the candidates in those races have been expected to weigh in on Trump's antics, which involve labeling Mexicans "rapists" and calling for the end of birth citizenship.

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The uproar over Hillary Clinton's exclusive use of a private email account to conduct business during her tenure at the State Department has taken so many twists and turns this summer that it's difficult to keep it all straight.

When it was first raised in March, the core issue with a government official's use of a private email account appeared to be compliance with federal records laws. Mounting questions from the media eventually forced Clinton to address her private email use at a press conference and her campaign to release a nine-page explainer on her handling of the email account's contents.

The issue appeared to lie dormant for the spring, but it came roaring back in the press by the end of July, when focus shifted to whether sensitive information was mishandled via the private account. Now, it's not just pundits, but also fellow Democrats who openly wonder whether the email imbroglio will derail the party frontrunner's presidential campaign.

Here's a detailed guide tracing back the news reports, government inquiries and Clinton camp statements that marked each step in the months-long email saga. This timeline is an updated version of one TPM published in March.

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