Jul 30, 2017

Putin forces U.S. to cut embassy staff by 755

Evan Vucci / AP

Vladimir Putin has ordered the U.S. to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 by September 1 in response to the latest round of sanctions passed by Congress, the NY Times reports. That's believed to be more than half of the U.S. embassy staff in Russia, though not all of those removed will be American diplomats.

The Russian response was announced Friday, but it was unclear the number was so large.Trump hasn't yet signed the sanctions, but the White House said Friday that he would.Putin, in televised announcement: "We waited for quite some time that maybe something will change for the better, had such hope that the situation will somehow change, but, judging by everything, if it changes, it will not be soon."Axios' Steve Levine notes, "this is one of the biggest expulsions of any type from any country in modern history." For context, in retaliation for Russia's meddling in the U.S. election, the U.S. expelled 35 Russian diplomats in December.

Why it matters: This is a direct challenge to President Trump, and will complicate his goal of pursuing better relations with Russia.

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Scoop: Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates will be reassigned as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the National Security Council said Thursday — and a senior White House official said that the administration "rejects" the rumors that she is "Anonymous."

Why it matters: Coates has battled claims that she is the still-unknown Trump administration official that penned a New York Times op-ed and book critical of President Trump.

The Fed may be setting the table for 2020 rate cuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed looks to be laying the groundwork to lower U.S. interest rates this year, just as they did in April 2019 before cutting rates in July, September and October.

Why it matters: A Fed rate cut makes taking on debt more attractive for U.S. consumers and businesses, helping to juice the economy, but also puts the central bank in a weaker position to fight off a potential recession.

Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in a $13 billion deal

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Morgan Stanley is planning to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. in a $13 billion all-stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, with plans to acquire the company known for helping everyday Americans manage their money.

Why it matters: The deal, which would be the largest by a major American bank since the financial crisis, signals Morgan Stanley‘s desire to bulk up in wealth management.