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Russian Foreign Ministry / AP

As details from the Trump-Lavrov meeting continue to emerge, the bizarre circumstances that led to their encounter are becoming clearer, too.

Putin left out Lavrov's whereabouts when asking Trump to meet with him.

  • When Trump agreed to meet with Lavrov, it was reportedly after Putin asked him to so they could discuss Syria.
  • But that's not all: Putin said Lavrov was already scheduled to meet with Rex Tillerson, so it'd be easy for him to pop over to the Oval Office.
  • Putin did not mention that Lavrov and Tillerson were scheduled to meet in Alaska, not D.C.

A Russian photographer was mistakenly welcomed into the meeting.

  • The White House was not told that the photographer with Lavrov was a photojournalist and not an official state photographer.
  • While Trump did not allow American journalists into the meeting, he unknowingly brought in a Russian cameraman.

Welcoming Lavrov into the Oval Office is symbolic of a shifting relationship with Russia.

  • Russia allegedly had been asking the Obama administration for a Lavrov meeting for years.
  • But such a meeting would incorrectly imply that the Russia-U.S. relationship was back to an amicable place.

Why it matters: The misleading circumstances that led to the Trump-Lavrov meeting (and the meeting itself) has sparked concerns about Trump's abilities to handle classified intelligence and to manage our relationship with Israel.

Go deeper

Coronavirus hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking ProjectHarvard Global Health Institute; Cartogram: Danielle Alberti and Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans are now in the hospital with coronavirus infections — a new record, an indication that the pandemic is continuing to get worse and a reminder that the virus is still very dangerous.

Why it matters: Hospitalizations are a way to measure severe illnesses — and severe illnesses are on the rise across the U.S. In some areas, health systems and health care workers are already overwhelmed, and outbreaks are only getting worse.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
28 mins ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

New hope for "smart cities"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's time to polish our gleaming vision of urban environments where internet technology makes everything from finding a parking space to measuring air quality a snap.

Why it matters: The Biden administration's Cabinet appointees are likely to be champions of bold futurism in urban planning — which could mean that smart infrastructure projects, like broadband deployment and digital city services, get fresh funding and momentum.

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