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Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice on the Axios stage last Friday. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Friday morning, Axios' Politics and White House Editor Margaret Talev hosted a series of one-on-one conversations on the news of the day, focused on topics around national security and international relations.

Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union Ambassador to the United States
European Union Ambassador to the United States, Stavros Lambrinidis in conversation with Axios' Margaret Talev. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

European Union Ambassador to the United States, Stavros Lambrinidis, discussed relations between the EU and the U.S. around tariffs, and the recent decisions made regarding Turkey's offensive in Syria. He discussed how the conflict between Syria and Turkey fundamentally weakens the relationship between the EU and the U.S., and stressed the need for collaboration and strengthening our alliance.

  • On tariffs: “[They’re] bad for the U.S. economy and very bad for the European economy…There are no winners in tariff wars.”
  • On shifts in foreign investment: "You see industrial manufacturing slowing down in the US...with the instability, people outside the US don’t want to take the risk."
  • On China: "Only if we work together can we ensure that China plays by the rules — and where rules need to be amended it can be done with maximum consensus from countries around the world."
Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland
Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland, discussing the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) focused on the ongoing impeachment inquiry and drew from constitutional history in his discussion of the role of the presidency and Congress.

  • On how the Founders designed U.S. government: We’re in a period of rediscovering we’re not co-equal branches...our constitution was written by people who were overthrowing kings and replaced it with a government by the people.
  • On the role of presidency: The President’s main job is to make sure that laws are faithfully executed, and we have the power to impeach the president if he doesn’t do that.
  • On the role of Congress: "Congress is the most important branch of the government. We must return to the original design of the constitution — we have this imperial presidency that is completely off the rails."
  • On Republican colleagues' reaction to the decision on Turkey: "It’s amazing to me that my Republican colleagues are willing to call out the President for his betrayal of the Kurds, but refuse to call out the President for his betrayal of Americans."
Susan Rice, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Susan Rice, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations discussed her recent memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, the crisis in Syria, and the Nobel Peace Prize this past Friday.

  • On Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed: “I’m hopeful that the peace will sustain itself and that normalization will continue.”
  • On whether the U.S. has clearly sent a message to Turkey on its position in Syria: "Yes. The position is green light."
  • On the impeachment inquiry: For Democrats, this is so bad it’s beyond political calculation. What they’re saying is: if we don’t stand up for the Constitution and the rule of law, then when?
  • On the current political climate's impact on foreign policy decisions: "We’re losing a sense of what is normal. When we lose that, we lose any compass in how to affect the national interest...We’ve got to remember what normal is and get back to it"

Go deeper: EU ambassador: Turkey and Syria conflict "weakens the alliance we have", Rep. Jamie Raskin: Trump "wants to be a king"

Thank you, Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed a working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.

FCC chairman to depart in January

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ajit Pai will leave his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, the agency said today.

Why it matters: Pai's Inauguration Day departure is in keeping with agency tradition, and could set up the Biden administration with a 2-1 Democratic majority at the FCC if the Senate fails to confirm another Trump nominee during the lame-duck period.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.