Mar 26, 2018

Trump expelling 60 Russian officials over poisoning of ex-spy in U.K.

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.

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.6 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,900 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,490,954 — Total deaths: 345,962 — Total recoveries — 2,228,915Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,662,250 — Total deaths: 98,218 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Ocean City in New Jersey on May 25. Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Details: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, and there were crowded scenes in several places, notably at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri and at Daytona Beach and on the Gulf Coast in Florida, per AP. Police dispersed crowds in some places, ABC notes. But many Americans did take precautions against COVID-19 as they ventured outside for the long weekend, some three months after the pandemic began in the U.S.