Opinion writer

* Erin Banco and Asawin Suebsaeng report that the Trump administration’s Iran policy is going great:

The Trump administration keeps sending conflicting and contradictory messages to Iran about its terms for new negotiations, multiple U.S and European officials tell The Daily Beast. And the ensuing chaos has vexed the president, complicated diplomatic efforts for American allies abroad, and utterly baffled policymakers at home.

“Absolute amateur hour,” said one former senior administration official, who was involved with the internal squabbles.

For several months, the United States has been actively attempting to pass messages, via allies, to the Iranians in an effort to move closer to beginning formal diplomatic talks with Tehran.

However, diverging opinions within the Trump administration are foiling the nascent diplomatic process, according to two current U.S. officials and another source with direct knowledge of the matter. The dissent is straining foreign intermediaries who are working as go-betweens between Washington and Tehran. They say they are fed up with receiving mixed messages from Donald Trump’s team.

I’m sure this team of aces would be able to negotiate a new nuclear deal, so there’s nothing to worry about.

* John Hudson reports that the White House is managing to combine nepotism and violations of the separation of powers:

The Trump administration has decided to shield the signature projects of White House adviser Ivanka Trump and Vice President Pence as it looks to cancel billions of dollars in foreign aid for other projects around the world, U.S. officials said.

In coming days, the White House is expected to send a proposal to Congress for returning billions of dollars of unspent foreign aid funds to the Treasury in a process known as rescission. Officials say they will safeguard funding for global health programs.

Because U.S. aid agencies often do not designate funds until the end of a fiscal year, the White House could claw back between $2 billion and $4 billion in foreign aid projects approved by Congress for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

Let’s just remember that if President Hillary Clinton had given Chelsea Clinton a White House job and made Chelsea’s husband her key policy adviser, Republicans would have impeached her in about a day and a half.

* Astead W. Herndon reports that Stacey Abrams says she’d consider being a vice presidential nominee on someone’s ticket.

* Tawheeda Wahabzada, a 29-year-old “dreamer,” explains why she feels she has no choice but to leave America, which she has called home since the age of 5.

* Robert Rivard explains just how difficult it has become to get an abortion in Texas.

* Elizabeth Bruenig reports on how evangelicals are feeling about Donald Trump these days.

* Mike Levine reports that ABC News has found at least 36 criminal cases where the alleged perpetrators cited Donald Trump either during the crime or afterward to explain their motivations for often violent attacks. They could find no such cases citing Barack Obama or George W. Bush when they were president.

* Ed Kilgore looks back at 1972 to argue that George McGovern didn’t lose by going “too far left,” and neither will the next Democratic nominee.

* Nikole Hannah-Jones argues that America’s ideals were false when they were written, and it took black Americans to fight to make them real.

* Annie Karni reminds us that Republicans spent plenty of time attacking Trump’s character in 2016, but it didn’t change anything.

* Li Zhou explains how we could reduce the gender gap in Congress.

* Emma Green reports on how the Trump administration is trying to undo President Barack Obama’s legacy on fighting discrimination.