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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.

Kushner and Greenblatt wrote to Palestinian PM after assassination attempt

Hamdallah arrives in Gaza City on March 13. Photo: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

Jared Kushner and U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt sent letters last week to Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and to the director of Palestinian intelligence General Majid Faraj after they survived an assassination attempt in Gaza. Kushner and Greenblatt wrote that Gaza should be governed by the Palestinian Authority and not by Hamas and stressed that "working together we can bring a better future to all Palestinians".

The backdrop: Kushner and Greenblatt sent the letters at a time when there is almost total disconnect between the Palestinian leadership and the White House. After Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended all contacts with the Trump administration except for security and intelligence coordination.

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U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan could heat up fast

Taiwanese sailors take part in a military drill. Photo: MANDY CHENG/AFP/Getty Images

As the US and China slouch towards each other’s throats over trade and technology, one of the issues that is set to get hot again is Taiwan. Late last week, President Trump signed a bill that encourages high-level official bilateral visits between Washington and the island nation of 23 million. Beijing, which considers Taiwan to still be a province of China, is not pleased. 

The big picture: Self-governing Taiwan is where the nationalist forces who lost the Chinese civil war to Mao set up shop in 1949. As part of a deal to establish formal relations with China in 1979, the US agreed to pantomime Beijing’s “One China” policy, while also maintaining a robust trade relationship with the island that includes more than $25 billion in arms sales since then.