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Trump: I need the facts before blaming Russia in ex-spy's poisoning

After U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said her government had concluded it is "highly likely" that the Kremlin was behind the nerve agent attack on ex-Russia spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, President Trump said he'll condemn Russia if he agrees with the U.K.'s findings after reviewing them.

The backdrop: Rex Tillerson got out ahead of the White House, saying last night that Russia was "clearly" responsible, after Press Secretary Sarah Sanders declined to point the finger. Now Tillerson is out, and Trump is backing off that position, though he did suggest that he'd be inclined to believe the U.K. assessment.

Why it matters: Theresa May gave Russia until Wednesday to provide an explanation as to how a weapon it produced came to be used in an attempted murder on U.K. soil, and warned there would be serious repercussions if no explanation was forthcoming. She will be counting on U.S. support on this issue.

The latest: Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow "is not to blame." Trump is scheduled to speak with May today.

Erica Pandey 1 hour ago
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How China became a powerhouse of espionage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

As China’s influence spreads to every corner of the globe under President Xi Jinping, so do its spies.

Why it matters: China has the money and the ambition to build a vast foreign intelligence network, including inside the United States. Meanwhile, American intelligence-gathering on China is falling short, Chris Johnson, a former senior China analyst for the CIA who's now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells Axios: "We have to at least live up to [China's] expectations. And we aren't doing that."

Khorri Atkinson 8 hours ago
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China slaps reciprocal tariffs on U.S. imports

China's President Xi Jinping speaks next to President Trump. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri// AFP / Getty Images

China announced plans to impose reciprocal tariffs on $3 billion of imports from the U.S., hours after President Trump ordered levies on a range of Chinese goods.

The details: China's plan includes a 25% tariff on U.S. pork imports as well as 15% tariffs on American steel pipes, fruit and wine, according to Bloomberg.