Welcome to Axios World, where two evenings a week we break down what you need to know about the big stories from around the globe. This is our lucky 80th edition.
Dan Coats (3rd from left) and his fellow intelligence chiefs testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Asked in the Oval Office today if he trusts director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA director Gina Haspel to give him good advice, President Trump said, “No, I disagree with certain things that they said,” adding, “time will prove me right.”
Driving the news: Coats, speaking for Haspel and four other intelligence chiefs arrayed on either side of him, said at a Senate hearing Tuesday that North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, the Islamic State, or ISIS, is “intent on resurging,” Iran isn't currently pursuing a nuclear weapon and climate change is a national security threat.
I asked two former directors of National Intelligence what they make of the position Coats, the current holder of that position, finds himself in.
John Negroponte, who served as the first DNI under George W. Bush, didn’t like the premise of my question: “The position Coats finds himself in is director of National Intelligence, and the position Trump finds himself in is president of the United States,” he told me. “You’ve got to take into account the difference.”
Yes, but: Negroponte did say that he couldn’t recall ever having to offer an assessment that ran counter to the White House line — or being challenged so publicly by the commander in chief. He also praised Coats, whom he said “calls it how he sees it” and “speaks truth to power.”
James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI and an occasional Trump sparring partner since he stepped down at the end of the Obama administration, was far more critical:
Breaking: Trump has tweeted, “Just concluded a great meeting with my Intel team in the Oval Office who told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media — and we are very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc.”
"Russia and the United States failed to bridge their differences over a landmark Cold War-era arms treaty at last-ditch talks in Beijing, Russia’s deputy foreign minister was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies Thursday. The impasse sets the stage for the United States to begin pulling out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) as early as Saturday unless Moscow moves to destroy a missile Washington says is violating the accord."— Reuters
Juan Guaidó, with his wife and daughter, speaks to a swarm of reporters outside his home. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images
The White House is making Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro and members of his inner circle an offer: Accept amnesty from National Assembly President Juan Guaidó and move somewhere nice or dig in your heels and face the consequences.
What to watch: The official said the administration is focused "100%" on preparing humanitarian aid to be delivered once Maduro is out of the way. I asked whether there were any discussions about sending troops to Colombia (based on John Bolton's notepad) and got a lengthy non-denial.
The latest: Guaidó was reportedly threatened by paramilitaries who entered his home today. Meanwhile, in Brussels, the European parliament voted to recognize him as president.
If the Venezuelan military were ultimately to depose Maduro, it would be a truly anomalous event.
The big picture: Coups are becoming far rarer — particularly in Latin America, where there hasn't even been an attempt in nearly a decade, according to data compiled by Jonathan Powell of the University of Central Florida and Clayton Thyne of the University of Kentucky.
The bottom line: The days of opportunistic military officers making a play for power seem to have come to an end. "I think what we’re going to see is that the coups that happen have a pretty strong argument behind them — look at the recent ones in Egypt, Honduras, Venezuela, Zimbabwe — so that the international backlash is limited," says Thyne.
What to watch: Those extreme circumstances typically involve an economic collapse, or crisis of legitimacy. "Coups have obviously become extremely rare, particularly in Latin America. But Venezuela has a lot of the conditions we'd expect if a coup were going to occur," says Powell.
Go deeper: Check out our interactive graphic.
Rahul Gandhi speaks in New Delhi. Photo: Qamar Sibtain/India Today Group/Getty Images
A political battle is brewing in India over a pledge from Rahul Gandhi, leader of the main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, to deliver a guaranteed income to every poor citizen in India if his party wins a parliamentary election set for later this year.
But with a big election looming, the debate is as much about political maneuvering as good governance.
The bottom line: The call for guaranteed income is now set to be a defining issue in India's upcoming election season. It will be an important test case for politicians around the world who see it as a possibly transformative policy solution.
Go deeper: Carnegie's Milan Vaishnav analyzes the odds this gets implemented. He's not optimistic.
A pro-Brexit protestor outside of Parliament. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Theresa May finally won a Brexit mandate in the House of Commons this week, but it didn't get the U.K. any closer to a smooth exit from the EU.
Between the lines: Boris Johnson brushed off Tusk's statement, saying, "It takes two to tango." That, it must be said, appeared to be Tusk's point.
What's next: Parliament also voted to express its opposition to "no deal," but rejected a plan to push the official exit date beyond March 29. The conventional wisdom has long been that both sides have every incentive to avoid "no deal," yet it's the default option absent a breakthrough.
There aren't a ton of pictures of Tonga in the archive, so here's Meghan Markle there last October, when the internet was humming along without a problem. Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImag
When's the last time you went a full day without using the internet? How about 11 days?
Sounds lovely, but the NY Times reports that for many in Tonga it has been anything but:
Biking through the snow in Leipzig, Germany. Photo: Jan Woitas/AFP/Getty Images
"This isn't going to be a small deal with China. This is either going to be a very big deal, or it's going to be a deal that we'll just postpone for a little while."— Trump, speaking in the Oval Office today with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. He said he'd be meeting Xi Jinping “in the near future."
Thanks for reading — have a lovely weekend.