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Cotton farm in California. Photo: Citizens of the Planet/Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

As of Monday, the Trump administration has made $8.52 billion in direct payments to farmers through a 2018 aid program designed to counter losses stemming from the trade war with China, a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesperson said.

Why it matters: President Trump promised aid of up t0 $12 billion, but the program stalled during the month-long government shutdown and major flooding in the Midwest has caused farmers additional pain. A prolonged trade war, which seems to be where the U.S. and China are headed, could force the Trump administration to renew the program.

Details: When this portion of the trade mitigation program was created in September last year, farmers were supposed to receive a payment at 50% of the producer’s total production, capped at $12 billion. This also includes support of up to $1.2 billion through commodity purchases and $200 million allocated to developing foreign markets.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) called on the Agriculture Department to count those acres affected by floods as part of the reimbursement program.

  • "We think thats got to be changed and that would go a long ways in terms of helping our producers," he said at an Axios event.

Top commodities that received aid:

  • Soybeans
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Cotton
  • Sorghum

Top states that received payments:

  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • Indiana

Go deeper:

Go deeper

U.S. ambassador to Russia will return home briefly: State Department

John Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, during a briefing in Moscow in 2015. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

The State Department said Monday that the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, will now be returning to the United States this week before returning to Moscow "in the coming weeks."

Why this matters: The statement, from a State Department spokesperson, comes just hours after Axios reported that Sullivan had indicated he intended to stand his ground and stay in Russia after the Kremlin “advised” him to return home to talk with his team.

Scoop: Leaked Ukraine memo reveals scope of Russia's aggression

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits a military exposition in Sevastopol, Crimea, in Jan. 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia has been holding last-minute military exercises near commercial shipping lanes in the Black Sea that threaten to strangle Ukraine's economy, according to an internal document from Ukraine's ministry of defense reviewed by Axios.

Why it matters: With the eyes of the world on the massive buildup of troops in eastern Ukraine, the leaked memo shows Russian forces escalating their presence on all sides of the Ukrainian border.

Elon Musk: Autopilot feature wasn't enabled in fatal Texas crash

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Monday that "data logs recovered so far" show the car's Autopilot feature was not enabled — and it did not have access to "full self-driving mode" — in the deadly crash in Texas involving the company's electric vehicle.

Background: Local investigators said they believed the car was operating without anyone in the driver's seat. At the time of death, one man was in the passenger seat, while another was in the rear seat, KPRC 2 reports.