Feb 12, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon. If you're in the Bay Area ... Please join us for cocktails and conversation tomorrow (Tuesday) at 5 p.m. at The Pearl in San Francisco, with Axios media editor Sara Fischer and Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman. RSVP.

1 big thing: Israel's rough day

Israel is walking back Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claims that he has been discussing with the Trump administration "for some time now" annexing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Axios contributor Barak Ravid reports.

  • Why it matters for the U.S.: Israeli and U.S. officials told Ravid that Trump administration officials fear the claim could derail Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's Middle East trip, and gave Netanyahu and his advisers a clear demand to backtrack.
  • Why it matters for Israel: This was the first time Netanyahu has commented on annexation in his tenure, reports Ravid. Netanyahu is under pressure from his fellow coalition members to start annexing parts of the West Bank, and he's awaiting the results of a police investigation into him for corruption.
  • Go deeper: Ravid takes readers behind the scenes.

P.S. ... Vladimir Putin tried to use his meeting at the Kremlin today with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to play peacemaker between the Palestinians and the Trump administration. Dive in.

2. What you missed

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's official portraits, via the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively.

  1. No market mayhem: The Dow closed today up more than 400 points, a positive sign after last week's struggles. Numbers.
  2. Just posted: A viewer's guide to the immigration debate, featuring breakdowns of the Senate bills on tap for Dreamers, border security and the paths to citizenship. Details.
  3. The $4.4 trillion Trump budget for 2019 is here, and it's dead on arrival. Read it.
  4. Vanessa Trump received an envelope today containing what police say was a non-hazardous white powder. She was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
  5. Sarah Sanders on Trump: "Above all the president supports victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated with fair and due process." Background.
  6. Amazon plans to lay off hundreds of employees in its consumer retail division. It's a minor retooling for the company, which has 12,500 open corporate jobs.
3. 1 fun thing: "Forever and a Day"
“M laid down his pipe and stared at it tetchily. ‘We have no choice. We’re just going to bring forward this other chap you’ve been preparing. But you didn’t tell me his name.’ ‘It’s Bond, sir,’ the Chief of Staff replied. ‘James Bond.’”
— From the new Bond novel prequel, written by Anthony Horowitz. Releases May 31
Mike Allen