1 big thing: Russia boots diplomats
The much-expected Russian retaliation is here after the U.S. and European nations kicked out Russian diplomats over a suspected nerve agent attack in the U.K.
- Russia is expelling 60 U.S. diplomats — the same number as the U.S. expelled stateside — and will close the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg. [AP]
- Russia will take similar action in the other countries that expelled Russians, expelling 150 diplomats in total.
- State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. "reserves the right to respond" to the actions. She added that Russia has decided to "further isolate itself diplomatically and economically" and that Russia "should not be acting like a victim."
- Go deeper... Trump's Russia paradox: Why he's loath to blast Putin
Be smart... Axios world editor Dave Lawler emails:
- "The Russian response sounds big — 150 expulsions across some two dozen countries — but since it's a tit-for-tat move, that really just emphasizes the scale of the retaliation Russia faced over the Skripal attack."
- "A European diplomat tells Axios it was far larger than the Kremlin expected or, frankly, had reason to expect based on past actions the West has taken (or declined to take). But while the expulsions were predictable, they're also emblematic of how poisonous relations are with Russia — and how Russia has little intention of improving them."
2. What you missed
- Apple is out with an iOS update that lets users turn off a controversial feature that slows performance on devices with older batteries. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
- The Justice Department's encryption battle: The DOJ is simultaneously poised to push new regulations for encryption while coping with a damaging report on how the FBI botched the DOJ's last regulatory push. Go deeper.
- Tech startups aren't the only ones in Silicon Valley that want to be unicorns. More VC firms are seeking to raise new funds of at least $1 billion. Why it matters.
- Democratic candidates running in swing districts "must express a willingness to work with the President when his agenda might help the district," per new internal polling conducted for the DCCC. Details.
- Snap Inc. is laying off 100 people, Bloomberg reports. Most of the jobs being eliminated are in sales, but a few are in other functions. What we know.
- TripAdvisor, Expedia, Wayfair and Nutrish pulled ads from Laura Ingraham's program after her comments about Parkland survivor David Hogg. She has since apologized.
3. 1 fun thing
As mentioned in Axios AM, today is opening day for Major League Baseball.