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President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at APEC in Vietnam last year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel / TASS via Getty Images

President Trump has signed an order expelling 60 Russian intelligence and diplomatic officers from the U.S. and closing a Russian consulate in Seattle in response to Russia's involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the U.K., senior administration officials told reporters on a Monday morning call.

Why it matters: This comes a week after President Trump did not condemn Russia's actions toward the spy, but instead congratulated Putin on his reelection in a phone call. The administration officials said that "the door to discourse is open" to Russia, but only once they have acknowledged their responsibility in the attack. “When you attack our friends, you will face serious consequences," one of the officials said.

The big picture: The move was coordinated with similar expulsions from other countries, an administration official said. It's a big win for the British government, which had been seeking a unified global response to the attack.

  • These actions are intended to limit the general intel collection capabilities of Russia in the U.S., according to the administration officials.
  • Trump has not spoken with Putin since his call last week.
  • An administration official said that Russia's attack on the former spy in the U.K. is only the latest in a long series of  Russian attempts to "undermine international peace and stability."
  • The details: 48 of the expelled officers were Russian embassy officials and 12 were ambassadors to the U.N. They have seven days to leave the U.S.
  • European Council President Donald Tusk announced that 14 EU member states were also expelling Russian diplomats. They include, per BuzzFeed News: Germany, France, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Latvia, Romania, Croatia, Hungary, Estonia, and Poland.
  • Canada is also expelling four Russians.

Go deeper

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

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Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

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Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).