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Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

Donald Trump will take his first foreign leader meeting as President with British Prime Minister Theresa May. They'll meet Thursday, says White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Behind the Scenes:

  • A senior source tells Axios that Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon played an important role in pushing the meeting to happen earlier than originally planned.
  • Bannon has also been in contact with Boris Johnson, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and one of the chief cheerleaders of the Brexit movement.
  • Jared Kushner was also very influential in the process, we are told.

Why this matters: Trump has already expressed interest in a U.S.-Britain bilateral trade deal (replacing the previously planned, and now doomed, multilateral European deal.) This could happen quicker than some expected if the two strike up a rapport.

The 30,000 foot view: European leaders will be watching the Trump-May meeting closely. Trump and his allies actively encouraged Brexit, particularly Steve Bannon's Breitbart News. The post-Brexit Special Relationship between the U.S. and Britain will have a large bearing on the fate of the European project.

What's next? It will be interesting to see whether May changes Trump's mind about NATO. He's called the alliance "obsolete." She's sounded more positive notes.

Other things to watch: The EU, defense policy and Russia.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
7 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.