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Report: Trump officials asked China to cut deficit by $100 billion

Xi and Trump
Xi and Trump in China. Photo: Thomas Peter, Pool / Getty Images

The Trump administration has asked China for a plan to reduce the bilateral trade deficit by $100 billion — not $1 billion as President Trump tweeted Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The details: It makes much more sense to cut $100 billion from a $375.2 billion deficit than to cut $1 billion. Liu He, President Xi Jinping's top economic deputy who was in Washington last week, reportedly told U.S. officials that it's in China's interest to reduce the trade deficit as it moves away from export-led growth. [Go deeper: The scale of the U.S.-China trade deficit.]

Lauren Meier 1 hour ago
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Facebook's growing problems

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

Facebook is caught in the middle of a rapidly unfolding scandal over Cambridge Analytica's improper gathering of data on millions of users, and what that exposed about the company's data collection. The fiasco has drawn the interest of lawmakers and regulators and rekindled the debate over its role in the 2016 presidential election.

Why it matters: The bad headlines continued to pile up; "A hurricane flattens Facebook" said Wired, "Silicon Valley insiders think that Facebook will never be the same" per Vanity Fair, "Facebook is facing its biggest test ever — and its lack of leadership could sink the company" from CNBC, and — as we've yet to hear from the company's top leaders — "Where is Mark Zuckerberg?" asks Recode.

Dave Lawler 7 hours ago
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What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.