Michael Sohn / AP

One of the more contentious — and consequential — international relationships is set to be that between Donald Trump and the German leader Angela Merkel.

Bloomberg reports interesting details today:

Merkel has been poring over old interviews and video of Donald Trump, seeking clues on how to influence the incoming U.S. president when they first meet, according to two people familiar with her preparations...Merkel is trying to take the new president's measure while gearing up her own campaign for a fourth term in Germany's fall election, where she's already using Trump as a foil. The chancellery in Berlin has reached out to Trump's transition team to suggest an early meeting, which would give Merkel a chance to get Trump's ear and counter his dismissive views on the European Union, NATO and free trade, according to another government official.

Can we make a suggestion? If she's not already done so, Merkel should put the nationalist populist website Breitbart News near the top of her reading list. Breitbart is planning to open a new bureau in Berlin.

  • A source familiar with Breitbart's plans has told Axios that one of the central goals of the Berlin website will be to attack Merkel for her open borders policies. This mirrors Trump's publicly stated contempt for Merkel's decision to open Germany to refugees (Trump says they're a Trojan Horse for Islamist terrorists.)
  • Breitbart is also planning a Paris bureau, which will support the presidential candidacy of nationalist leader Marine Le Pen. And this all comes after Breitbart invested heavily in their London bureau — including forging close ties to UKIP leader Nigel Farage — to promote the Brexit movement.

Why this Matters: The Trump-Merkel relationship could have major implications for the future of the European Union. Steve Bannon, the former chair of Breitbart who is now Trump's chief strategist, has carved himself a deliberately undefined and broad brief. Unlike Reince Priebus, who will be handling daily operations as chief of staff, Bannon will have free rein to think big picture and influence not just messaging but big picture strategy, including national security and foreign policy.

Anybody who thinks Trump will moderate his views towards globalism, NATO, and the European Union would be well served understanding the depth of opposition to these concepts within the Bannon-Stephen Miller-Jeff Sessions elements of the President's inner circle.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 30,241,377 — Total deaths: 947,266— Total recoveries: 20,575,416Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 6,681,251 — Total deaths: 197,763 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 91,546,598Map.
  3. Politics: Trump vs. his own administration on virus response.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Anxious days for airline workers as mass layoffs loom

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, during a Sept. 9 protest outside the Capitol. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The clock is ticking for tens of thousands of anxious airline employees, who face mass reductions when the government's current payroll support program expires on Sept. 30.

Where it stands: Airline CEOs met Thursday with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said President Trump would support an additional $25 billion from Congress to extend the current aid package through next March.

House Democrats ask DOJ watchdog to probe Durham's Trump-Russia investigation

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynsky/AFP via Getty Images

Four Democratic House committee chairs on Friday asked the Justice Department's inspector general to launch an "emergency investigation" into whether Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham, his appointee, are taking actions that could "improperly influence the upcoming presidential election."

Catch up quick: Last year, Barr tapped Durham to conduct a sweeping investigation into the origins of the FBI's 2016 Russia probe, after he and President Trump claimed that it was unjustified and a "hoax."