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Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

During today's NATO summit in Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded to President Donald Trump’s comments that Germany is “totally controlled by Russia” due to an oil and gas deal between Russia and Germany. Merkel responded with her experience growing up in East Germany, saying, "It is good that we are independent today.”

The backdrop: Current and former U.S. lawmakers are rebuking the exchange, saying that Trump's comment about Russia and Germany was unacceptable — or outright calling it out as false.

  • Former Secretary of State John Kerry led off a statement: "I've never seen a President say anything as strange or counterproductive as President Trump's harangue against NATO and Germany. It was disgraceful, destructive, and flies in the face of the actual interests of the United States of America."
  • Congressional Democratic leadership, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said in a statement: "President Trump’s brazen insults and denigration of one of America’s most steadfast allies, Germany, is an embarrassment.  His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the President is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies."
  • Democratic Sen. Tim Kane of Virginia tweeted a pithy response: "Projecting much?"
  • Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California tweeted, "Last time I checked, Russia did not help Merkel win her election. But Russia did help you in 2016. You may want to recalibrate your NATO comments."
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan said he won’t criticize President Trump while he is overseas. "NATO is indispensable," Ryan said.
  • Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch: "I think sometimes he can be a little too critical of the other counterparts, and I don't think he should be critical," per ABC.
  • Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado defended Trump on Fox News, saying, "I think he’s simply trying to say to our great NATO allies and friends, 'Let’s make sure that we’re all rowing in the same direction, so to speak. Let’s make sure that we’re living up to our expectations and obligations,'" per Think Progress.

Go deeper

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The scene in 2019 of a site believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese authorities have breached "each and every act prohibited" under the UN Genocide Convention over the treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province, an independent report published Tuesday alleges.

Why it matters: D.C. think-tank the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, which released the report, said in a statement the conclusions by dozens of experts in war crimes, human rights and international law are "clear and convincing": The ruling Chinese Communist Party bears responsibility.

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Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

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Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.