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Hillary Clinton announced a new initiative Wednesday to make higher education more affordable, marking a significant shift to the left and possibly hinting at further concessions to Bernie Sanders’ young, progressive supporters.

 The past few weeks have not been kind to the notoriously stubborn Vermont senator. Reports say that he was booed by House Democrats in a meeting with them this week, and party insiders have expressed frustration that Sanders has still not endorsed Clinton — or, for that matter, formally ended his campaign.

But Clinton’s announcement, of a plan which would make in-state schools tuition-free for students with annual family incomes under $85,000, marks a clear shift in direction for Sanders’ legacy. As Clinton looks to unify the party and attract his young, liberal supporters to her side, he’s holding out to push her platform a little further to the left.

During the primary, Clinton criticized Sanders’ proposal for free tuition at all public colleges, “College for All,” arguing that its opt-in nature would be costly and create discrepancies from one state to the next. Instead, she called for more limited policies that would calculate tuition based on family income and create “debt-free” education.

Clinton’s new plan isn’t identical to Bernie’s ambitious vision, but it’s not far off, either. By raising the cap on annual family income over the next four years to $125,000, this proposal may apply to an estimated 80 percent of families. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times reported that the idea is the product of negotiations between Clinton and Sanders.

Her platform on higher education also includes a three-month moratorium that would allow young people to delay payment of their student loans, as well as year-round Pell Grants to fund low-income students taking summer classes.

Sanders praised Clinton’s free tuition plan, calling it “a revolutionary step forward” and “very, very significant” idea that combined the best of both their ideas.

It’s a far cry from the argumentative nature of their policy debates during the primary season, when Sanders slammed Clinton as a representative of “establishment politics and establishment economics.” (Meanwhile, she once countered the pro-Sanders protesters who interrupted her rallies by telling them to “read the fine print” regarding the comparative cost of their proposals.)

Sanders’ views may have more influence over education than other topics given his base’s youth, but it’s unclear how many more of his progressive policies Clinton will adopt before November. Wednesday’s proposal certainly points towards the left, though.

The stakes weren’t lost on Sanders either. Persistent as ever, he told the Wall Street Journal that despite the merits of her education proposal, “this is one issue — there are other issues.”

 

Photo: Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton wave before the start of the Univision News and Washington Post Democratic U.S. presidential candidates debate in Kendall, Florida March 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Javier Galeano

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)