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Cloud of scandal hangs over Trump-Netanyahu meeting

Netanyahu Trump
Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in the Oval Office Monday for the first time since the U.S. officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — and since police recommended Netanyahu be indicted on corruption charges.

Trump's claim that the relationship between the two countries "has never been better" was cheerfully reciprocated by Netanyahu, who said the president is following in the footsteps of Cyrus the Great and Lord Arthur Balfour as a friend of the Jewish people.


  • Trump told Netanyahu that he is looking into traveling to Israel for the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on May 14. He also claimed that he negotiated the cost of the embassy down to $250,000 from $1 billion.
  • On tariffs, Trump said, "No, we're not backing down. We've had a very bad deal with Mexico, a very bad deal with Canada. It's called NAFTA." He added that the tariffs will remain in place unless he gets a "fair NAFTA deal," but that he "doesn't think you're going to have a trade war."
  • "If I had to say what is the greatest challenge in the Middle East to both of our countries, and our Arab neighbors, it is encapsulated in one word: Iran," Netanyahu said. "Iran must be stopped. That is our common challenge."
Lauren Meier 54 mins ago
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Facebook's growing problems

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

Facebook is caught in the middle of a rapidly unfolding scandal over Cambridge Analytica's improper gathering of data on millions of users, and what that exposed about the company's data collection. The fiasco has drawn the interest of lawmakers and regulators and rekindled the debate over its role in the 2016 presidential election.

Why it matters: The bad headlines continued to pile up; "A hurricane flattens Facebook" said Wired, "Silicon Valley insiders think that Facebook will never be the same" per Vanity Fair, "Facebook is facing its biggest test ever — and its lack of leadership could sink the company" from CNBC, and — as we've yet to hear from the company's top leaders — "Where is Mark Zuckerberg?" asks Recode.

Dave Lawler 7 hours ago
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What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.