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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and President Trump meets in the Oval Office. Photo: Olivier Douliery -Pool via Getty Images

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari met with President Trump on Monday to discuss the U.S.' economic, strategic and diplomatic partnership with Nigeria.

Why it matters: Trump's relationship with African countries has been mired in public and diplomatic scandal, and his meeting with the president of Africa's most populous country presents an opportunity to make amends.

Trump’s relationship with African countries in general was damaged by his alleged characterization of them as “shithole countries.” Adding insult to injury, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Africa was marred after he was fired in Nigeria. There is still no assistant secretary of state for Africa, and numerous high-level, Africa-related positions across the administration have yet to be filled.

Trump and Buhari focused on strengthening the bilateral strategic partnership, fostering economic growth and encouraging Nigeria’s democratic trajectory (national elections are scheduled for for February 2019). Nigeria has also requested more security assistance for the fight against Boko Haram and further support in recovering looted Nigerian funds now parked in the U.S.

The big picture: Scandals aside, the Trump administration’s relationship with Africa shows continuity with past administrations. It has encouraged economic development and investment, proceeded with the sale of light aircraft (which the Buhari administration wanted badly), expanded U.S. security assistance to those fighting violent Islamist extremism in Africa and continued support of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and other medical assistance programs. Buhari's visit in itself is also bound to enhance Nigeria’s leadership position in West Africa.

John Campbell is the Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
9 hours ago - World

China's economy grows 6.5% in Q4 as country rebounds from coronavirus

A technician installs and checks service robots to be be used for food and medicine delivery in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, on Sunday. Photo: Hu Xuejun/VCG via Getty Images

China's economy grew at a 6.5% pace in the final quarter of 2020, the national statistics bureau announced Monday local time, topping off a year in which it grew in three of four quarters and by 2.3% in total.

Why it matters: No other major economy managed positive growth in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in China, the country got the virus under control and became one of the main positive drivers of the global economy even as the rest of the world was largely under lockdown.