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The U.S. retaliated Thursday against Vladimir Putin's move to force the U.S. to reduce its embassy staff in Russia by 755. Putin had made that move in response to looming U.S. sanctions, since signed by President Trump.

The tit-for-tat began last December, after Barack Obama seized two Russian compounds in the U.S., accusing the Kremlin of using them as spy bases. In the interim, President Trump had been considering returning those Russian compounds, including a beautiful 45-acre estate in Maryland, after Russia warned relations couldn't improve until Trump did so.

Axios went to Maryland in July to look at the summer retreat at the heart of U.S.-Russia relations.

1972
  • Soviet Union purchases 45-acre estate near the town of Centreville on Maryland's Eastern Shore, to be used as a diplomatic retreat. Another facility, on Long Island in New York, was purchased in 1952.
2016
  • Oct. 31: Barack Obama warns Putin of "serious consequences" for Russian interference in U.S. election.
  • Nov. 8: Trump elected president.
  • Dec. 29: Obama orders the compounds closed, accusing Russia of using them for espionage and expelling 35 suspected Russian spies.
  • Dec. 30: Putin doesn't retaliate immediately, preferring to work with the Trump administration. Michael Flynn had reportedly made assurances that Trump would be more accommodating. Trump tweets: "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!"
2017
  • Jan. 20: Trump inaugurated as president.
  • March 31: Washington Post reports that the Trump administration is moving toward returning the compounds.
  • July 7: Putin raises the compounds in a meeting with Trump at the G20 in Hamburg, Germany.
  • July 14: A Kremlin spokeswoman says Russia is prepared to use "means of retaliation" if the compounds aren't returned.
  • July 17: A high-level meeting at State Department centers on the compounds, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov saying the sides were "close" to an agreement.
  • July 18: With that agreement still not reached, Russia warns again of its "right to take retaliatory measures." Ryabkov says the fact that the compounds haven't been returned "poisons the atmosphere." The State Department says it wants to get past such "irritations" and move on to more substantive issues, but doesn't offer a timetable for when the compounds might be returned.
  • July 28: Russia seizes two U.S. diplomatic compounds, and orders the U.S. embassy in Moscow to reduce its staffing levels, a day after Congress had passed new sanctions on Russia.
  • Aug.10: Trump thanks Putin for his move, saying it will cut costs for the U.S.
  • Aug. 31: U.S. forces Russia to close San Francisco consulate and cut presence in D.C.

Go deeper

Cuomo: "No way I resign" after sexual harassment accusations

Cuomo at a Feb. 24 press conference. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was defiant on Sunday, stating again that he would not resign even as more former aides have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.

The big picture: Cuomo has denied all sexual harassment allegations against him and said that he "never inappropriately touched anybody." He acknowledged in a statement that "some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation." Some of the calls for Cuomo to resign have come from within the Democratic party.

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between his reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.