Dec 15, 2018

Russia wants answers from U.S. over alleged missile treaty violations

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu speaks with President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that it wants to have "open and specific talks" with Pentagon officials over alleged violations of a Cold War-era missile treaty, the Associated Press reports.

Background: President Trump said in October he would pull the U.S. out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, saying Russia had broken the agreement. Russia denies any violation of the INF Treaty, and Russian President Vladimir Putin said if the U.S. began developing new intermediate-range missiles, so would he. Per AP, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu sent a proposal for talks to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis three days ago, and he has not yet received a response, which Russia is taking as a sign that "the U.S. is unwilling to maintain professional dialogue."

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Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.

U.S. coronavirus death toll crosses 100,000

Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a terrible milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: The death toll from COVID-19 now stands at more than 34 times the number of people who died on 9/11.