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Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who's in Brussels, discussed U.S. opposition to Russia's proposed Nord Stream II natural gas pipeline into Germany. After meeting with EU energy officials, Perry fielded a press question about whether the project would come up in President Trump's July 16 meeting with Putin.

"The president, he is pretty straightforward about what he believes, and he thinks Nord Stream 2 is not in the European Union's best interest, and my bet is he'll be more than happy to tell President Putin that straight to his face."
Rick Perry

Yes, but: While the U.S. opposes the project, Perry strongly downplayed the prospect of sanctions against European companies working on the long-proposed pipeline.

  • “Sanctions are kind of the last place we would like to land. They are always an option," he said.
  • However, per Reuters, the State Department reiterated Wednesday that firms investing in the project remain at risk of sanctions.

What's next: Perry's comments are another signal that energy could be among the topics when Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 12 mins ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

4 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."