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Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Surprise: The U.S. and North Korea are talking about another summit, this one potentially in late February.

Why it matters: In the 220 days since Trump and Kim met in Singapore, there have been speeches, snubs, and occasional threats, but no substantial progress toward denuclearization.

The location of the summit has not been announced, but President Trump met for about 90 minutes in the Oval Office today with Kim Yong-chol, North Korea's lead negotiator in denuclearization talks.

  • Bill Bishop notes in Axios China: "I would not be be surprised if a meeting between Trump and China President Xi Jinping is added around this. The Chinese want another Xi-Trump face to face to close a trade deal before March 1."

The big picture:

  • Kim has stepped further out of his shell, improving relations with South Korea and China and establishing himself as a global player.
  • “Maximum pressure” against his regime has faded, but sanctions remain in place.
  • The North Korean leader has rejected the U.S. premise that denuclearization must come first, followed by sanctions relief. He has spurned what most experts consider step 1: documentation of his nuclear assets.

What's next: The Washington Post notes that Trump might come to the table with an offer, potentially including a declaration of the end of the Korean War, to secure a breakthrough.

The bottom line: We’re back where we started, with Trump and Kim taking center stage. Their rhetoric toward each other has been warm.

  • But as Van Jackson, a former Pentagon strategist and author of the new book "On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War," told Axios: “You are not in a stable situation if you rely on the whims and the caprice of individual leaders to prevent nuclear war.”

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/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. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.