KRT via AP Video

White House officials think they're ready for this. But North Korea's successful ICBM launch came faster than they had hoped. As the N.Y. Times' David Sanger points out, the past six months have been "a brutal education for President Trump."

As Trump leaves the White House this morning en route to Europe for his second international swing, he's facing his most immediate global crisis — one where he's a central player, with experts across the spectrum stumped on the wisest steps.

The Wall Street Journal paints the best and worst cases: "Some analysts cautioned that North Korea faces many technical hurdles before it has a fully operational nuclear-armed ICBM. ... Tokyo and Seoul could rely on Washington's nuclear deterrent. But with San Francisco potentially at risk, those allies could start to doubt the U.S.'s commitment."

The latest, from AP: "North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed [today] his nation will 'demonstrate its mettle to the U.S.' ... The hard line suggests more tests are being prepared as the country tries to perfect nuclear-armed missiles capable of striking anywhere in the United States."

  • "[A] successful launch of an ICBM has long been seen as a red line after which it would only be a matter of time if North Korea isn't stopped."
  • "Worry spread in Washington and at the United Nations, where the United States, Japan and South Korea requested an emergency U.N. Security Council session" today.
  • "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that the missile was an ICBM and said the U.S. response would include 'stronger measures to hold [North Korea] accountable.'"

"Options Are Few and Risky": The best look at the options (such as they are) is the two-column lead of the N.Y. Times, "North Korea Crosses a Line, But U.S. Has Few Options: Missile's Alarming New Reach Is Confirmed by Officials Now Facing Strategic Dilemma," a news analysis by David E. Sanger:

  • "A North Korean ability to reach the United States, as former Defense Secretary William J. Perry noted recently, 'changes every calculus.' The fear is not that Mr. Kim would launch a pre-emptive attack on the West Coast; that would be suicidal ... But if Mr. Kim has the potential ability to strike back, it will shape every decision Mr. Trump and his successors make about defending America's allies in the region."
  • Why it matters (Duh!): "[T]his latest test suggests that the United States may already be in range as well, and that, as one former top American intelligence official noted recently, would put enormous pressure on American missile defenses that few trust to work."

Go deeper: Axios Expert Voices charts five courses of action for the U.S. confrontation with North Korea.

Go deeper

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Mary Trump book: How she leaked Trump financials to NYT

Simon & Schuster

In her new memoir, President Trump's niece reveals how she leaked hordes of confidential Trump family financial documents to the New York Times in an effort to expose her uncle, whom she portrays as a dangerous sociopath.

Why it matters: Trump was furious when he found out recently that Mary Trump, a trained psychologist, would be publishing a tell-all memoir. And Trump's younger brother, Robert, tried and failed to block the publication of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man."

Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 11,691,068 — Total deaths: 540,062 — Total recoveries — 6,349,542Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 2,963,244 — Total deaths: 130,813 — Total recoveries: 924,148 — Total tested: 36,225,015Map.
  3. 2020: Biden releases plan to strengthen coronavirus supply chain.
  4. Congress: Trump administration notifies Congress of intent to withdraw from WHO.
  5. Public health: Fauci says it's a "false narrative" to take comfort in lower coronavirus death rate.
  6. World: Brazil's President Bolsonaro tests positive— India reports third-highest case count in the world.
51 mins ago - Health

Fauci: "False narrative" to take comfort in lower coronavirus death rate

Anthony Fauci testifies in Washington, D.C., on June 30. Photo: Al Drago/AFP via Getty Images

Anthony Fauci said at an event with Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) on Tuesday "that it's a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death" from the coronavirus in the U.S., warning: "There’s so many other things that are dangerous and bad about the virus. Don’t get into false complacency."

The big picture: The mean age of Americans currently being infected by the virus has declined by 15 years compared to where it stood several months ago. This has been one contributing factor in the lower death rate the U.S. has experienced during the recent surge in cases, since "the younger you are, the better you do, and the less likely you're gonna get seriously ill and die," Fauci said.