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Evan Vucci / AP

Air Force One just landed at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, with President Trump saying to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the tarmac arrival ceremony: "Hello, my friend." The President and First Lady will visit the Western Wall later this morning, ET.

Trump's weekend overture to the Muslim world, combined with his call to the national leaders in his audience to be tougher on their homegrown threat ("history's great test — to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism"), has given him a momentary respite from the legal peril he left at home.

The reviews, while noting some contradictions with past Trump stances, were mostly strong. Fox's Bret Baier said from Saudi Arabia: "[A]s you travel the world and you talk to world leaders, they think ... that this is a turning of the tide in the relationships of these countries — Saudi Arabia, the Gulf nations."

"I do think that you are seeing an effort by the White House ... to try to stick to the message of the day, and that's why we're not having a lot of open Q&As." (Trump hasn't yet had a presser on the trip.)

Can Trump sustain the presidential mien, for this week, and when he returns?

A key Republican emails: "Can this team and its leader learn from success? If they can, the turn to presidential-level issues can create a sense of calm and normalcy which would begin the rebuilding process with Rs in Congress."

"It means leaving Mueller to the various lawyers and focusing on results for the moderate-income voters that Trump uniquely inspires. Trump's presidency is about Trump, and that is vexing and tiresome to those struggling in a rapidly changing economy."

P.S. Per Bloomberg's Alan Levin, Margaret Talev and Jonathan Ferziger: Trump traveled from Riyadh to Tel Aviv aboard Air Force One today "in what appears to be an unprecedented direct flight by a U.S. president between those nations, which don't have diplomatic relations."

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day:"Love your shoes. Boy, those shoes. Man!" — President Trump, returning a compliment given by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, who had told Trump, "You are a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible."

Next up: What to expect during Trump's Israel leg.

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Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

3 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.

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