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Grenell. Photo: Tristar Media/Getty Images

Germany's foreign ministry says it will seek clarification from the United States after Ambassador Richard Grenell told Breitbart he hopes to "empower conservatives across Europe," per the FT.

Between the lines: Seeking to empower foreign candidates and parties is not part of an ambassadorial job description — and the foreign ministry wants to know "whether the statements were indeed made in the way they appeared." The comments are particularly eyebrow-raising in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel has had her hands full with an ascendant far-right party.

Grenell has since tweeted in response to the controversy, saying the "idea that [he'd] endorse candidates/parties is ridiculous":

Worth noting:

  • This isn't the first time Grenell has ruffled German feathers during his first month as ambassador. After President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, he tweeted that "German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately," leading to comments that it's not his place to tell German companies what to do.
  • In the Breitbart interview, Grenell called 31-year-old Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who leads a right-wing coalition, a "rockstar."
  • Grenell is set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister in Berlin later today.

Go deeper

Texas AG sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Kenneth Paxton speaks to members of the media in front of the U.S. Supreme Court
in 2016. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
42 mins ago - Podcasts

Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck

President Biden has said that getting Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 is his administration’s top priority given an initial rollout plagued by organizational, logistical and technical glitches.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the bottlenecks and how to unclog them with Carbon Health chief executive Eren Bali, whose company recently began helping to manage vaccinations in Los Angeles.