Aug 31, 2017

Axios Sourced: the U.S. compound Russia wants Trump to give back

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.

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U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 62,300 U.S. health care workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and at least 291 have died from the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday. COVID-19 had infected about 9,300 health professionals when the CDC gave its last update on April 17.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:00 p.m. ET: 5,589,626 — Total deaths: 350,453 — Total recoveries — 2,286,956Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:00 p.m. ET: 1,680,913 — Total deaths: 98,913 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

There are no COVID-19 patients in hospital in New Zealand, which reported just 21 active cases after days of zero new infections. A top NZ health official said Tuesday he's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission."

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).