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NATO expelling 7 Russians

Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance is expelling 7 staff from Russia’s mission and denying accreditation to 3 more, per NATO.

  • Why it matters: "Russia will have a reduced capability to do intelligence work in NATO countries,” Stoltenberg said. NATO's move comes amid a unified response to the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in England. The U.S. is expelling 60 suspected intelligence operatives, with 24 other countries also expelling Russians.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed European countries are effectively being blackmailed by the U.S. into taking such steps, per BBC. Russia has said there will be a tit-for-tat response over what it's calling a "grave mistake" by the West.
  • Go deeper: U.K. floated idea of 60 Russian expulsions before Trump's move.
Jonathan Swan 9 hours ago
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Inside Trump's week of European visits

Photos: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images; Cuneyt Karadag/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

This week in Washington will be dominated by two foreign visitors: French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife's visit will culminate with the first state dinner of Trump's presidency at the White House on Tuesday night — then, on Friday, Trump hosts German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

What we're hearing: Macron hopes to persuade Trump to work with the Europeans to fix the Iran nuclear deal rather than to follow his instincts and tear up the deal next month by reimposing American sanctions on Iran.

Jonathan Swan 9 hours ago
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Trump asked Netanyahu if he genuinely cares about peace

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump at the White House in March. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

In a phone call last year with Bibi Netanyahu, President Trump said something that shocked some of the people who helped prepare his briefing materials for the conversations. According to three sources familiar with the call, Trump asked Bibi bluntly if he actually cares about peace or not.

The details: Trump was pressing Bibi on the importance of striking a "deal" for Mideast peace. He'd read news reports about Bibi planning to build additional settlements to please his conservative base in Israel. Trump thought Bibi was unnecessarily angering the Palestinians. So, in the course of a longer conversation that was mostly friendly and complimentary, he bluntly asked Bibi whether or not he genuinely wants peace.