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"I'm back." Putin at the G20 in 2019. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/AFP via Getty Images

Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed plans for September's G7 summit today.

Why it matters: That may sound unusual, until you recall that Russia was expelled from the then-G8 in 2014 over its invasion of Crimea.

As this year's host, Trump can invite additional countries to attend. He plans to include Russia, Australia, India and South Korea in a summit that was pushed back from late June after Germany's Angela Merkel said she wouldn't attend due to COVID-19.

  • Following Trump's curveball, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. would veto any attempt to bring Russia back into the fold as a member, something Trump has floated in the past.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went a step further, seeming to object to the idea of Russia attending the summit in any capacity, while declining to say whether he'd boycott if Russia was invited.

Between the lines: After broadening the invite list, Trump criticized the current G7 lineup — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S — as "outdated."

  • Trudeau said the annual G7 summits bring together "allies and friends who share so much," while the G20 — which includes Russia as well as China — includes countries "we don’t necessarily have great relations with."

Meanwhile, Putin today set July 1 as the new date for a constitutional referendum that could allow him to remain in power through 2036.

  • Putin was forced to delay the referendum from April due to the coronavirus pandemic. He set the date despite his falling popularity amid Russia's continued struggles to contain its outbreak.

Go deeper: Pandemic brings Putin down to size

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Sep 3, 2020 - World

Putin, poison and the pipeline

Merkel in the middle. Photo: Gao Jing/Xinhua via Getty

Angela Merkel’s call to action over the nerve agent attack on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been turned around on her: demands that the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas project be scrapped are growing louder.

Why it matters: The pipeline is nearly complete, and it would double Russia’s capacity to export gas directly to Germany.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.

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