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Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Donald Trump, in a "startling public outburst" at the U.S. chief of mission residence here in Belgium ahead of the NATO summit, said "Germany is a captive of Russia" and "totally controlled by Russia” because of energy purchases.

Between the lines: The gas pipeline is something Trump has been complaining bitterly about for months.

  • He views it as one of Angela Merkel's vulnerabilities, and he fully intends to hammer it at the NATO summit.
  • Sources who've spoken to Trump about the Nord Stream gas pipeline say he has two chief complaints: 1. He wants Germany to buy American gas, not Russian gas. 2. He views Merkel as a hypocrite — always lecturing him about the "rules-based international system," and yet, in Trump's mind, not spending enough on Germany's defense, while sucking up to Iran and Russia.

Earlier in London, I spoke with a former British government official who’s familiar with the planning for Trump’s upcoming visit to England and Scotland:

  • “This is about making Trump feel good about Britain. [A planned visit to] Blenheim [Palace] is about flattering him by association with Winston Churchill — Trump feels he’s a latter day Churchill. And of course he and Melania will be thrilled to have tea with the Queen."
  • “Outcomes ... With this guy, you don’t really expect the usual intensive staff work to produce a significant policy statement. ... It’s about politics, relationships and impressions."
  • "For the Brits, it will be about showing that there’s a great life after Brexit. This week especially, [Prime Minister] Theresa May will be grateful for some nice, touchy-feely remarks from Trump about Brexit and life after Brexit."

Be smart: It looks like the U.K. visit will need to achieve rapid corrective surgery after combative Trump appearances at NATO.

  • Whether she likes it or not, Theresa May is Trump’s bridge between NATO and Vladimir Putin, with whom he meets Mondayin Helsinki.

Go deeper

Trump set to appear at Pennsylvania GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is due to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday at a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Why it matters: This would be his first trip outside of the DMV since Election Day and comes shortly after GSA ascertained the results, formally signing off on a transition to President-elect Biden.

Scoop: Trump tells confidants he plans to pardon Michael Flynn

Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

President Trump has told confidants he plans to pardon his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts, two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: Sources with direct knowledge of the discussions said Flynn will be part of a series of pardons that Trump issues between now and when he leaves office.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
10 hours ago - World

Remote work shakes up geopolitics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The global adoption of remote work may leave the rising powers in the East behind.

The big picture: Despite India's and China's economic might, these countries have far fewer remote jobs than the U.S. or Europe. That's affecting the emerging economies' resilience amid the pandemic.