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A Turkish security guard kicks a protestor in Washington in May 2017. Photo: Voice of America via AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told PBS NewsHour that President Trump apologized to him about the May incident in which Turkish security personnel beat peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C.

Pushback: A White House official told Axios that Erdogan and Trump "discussed a wide range of issues" on the call but "the comments were not true and the President did not apologize."

The quote: "Actually President Trump called me about a week ago about this issue. He said that he was sorry and he told me he was going to follow up about this issue when we come to the United States within the framework of an official visit. The protesters were insulting us, and they were screaming and shouting. The police failed to intervene properly."

The incident: Erdogan looked on as guards charged into a park and clashed with protesters. Trump did not speak out against the violence at the time, but it belatedly sparked a diplomatic incident as arrest warrants were issued for 12 of Erdogan's security guards, and four other security officials were arrested. Erdogan said that was a "scandalous sign of how justice works in the United States." More recently, Congress has considered banning guns sales to Erdogan's presidential security.

The broader picture: Turkey is a key strategic ally of the U.S., but there have been severe strains on the relationship, one of which centers on the U.S. alliance with Kurdish fighters against ISIS. Erdogan has also been acting in an increasingly authoritarian fashion after a failed coup attempt last year, and Trump was criticized for congratulating him on winning a constitutional referendum that was widely viewed as a power grab.

This story has been updated with the denial from the White House.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.

Jan. 6 committee recommends contempt charges against Bannon

Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night recommending that former Trump aide Steve Bannon be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Why it matters: The resolution sets up a House vote to refer Bannon for potential criminal prosecution, signaling that the committee will not tolerate attempts by former President Trump and his associates to stymie the investigation.