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Military personnel unload M1 Abrams Fighting tanks of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and other U.S. military equipment at the Port of Bremerhaven in Germany on February 21. Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump recently directed the Pentagon to move 9,500 troops out of Germany by September, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing government officials.

The big picture, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: This is a decision that Trump has long discussed privately. He gave a somewhat surprising answer in 2018 when Axios asked about the value of a U.S. military presence in Europe, by saying that the troops provided some psychological and military value for the U.S. But his instincts were always to draw down.

Details: The memorandum, reportedly signed on Friday by national security adviser Robert O'Brien, limits the amount of U.S. service members that can be permanently stationed in Germany at one time to 25,000, according to the WSJ.

What they're saying: "While we have no announcements at this time, as commander in chief, President Trump continually reassesses the best posture for the United States military forces and our presence overseas," National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said in a statement to Axios.

  • "The United States remains committed to working with our strong ally Germany to ensure our mutual defense, as well as on many other important issues," Ullyot said.
  • The Pentagon referred Axios to the White House for comment.

Go deeper: Merkel declines invitation to G7 summit in the U.S., citing coronavirus

Go deeper

U.S. cancels 1,000 visas for Chinese nationals deemed security risks

Photo: Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. has revoked more than 1,000 visas of Chinese nationals as of this week under a proclamation by President Trump aimed at student researchers suspected of having links to China's military.

Driving the news: The State Department said in an emailed statement late Wednesday that the policy, which took effect June 1, "safeguards U.S. national security, preventing the theft of American technologies, intellectual property, and information to develop advanced military capabilities" and that it has "broad authority" to revoke visas.

Woodward book: Trump slammed "my f---ing generals" as "a bunch of pu--ies"

President Trump holds a MAGA rally in Winston-Salem, N.C. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

An aide to former Defense Secretary James Mattis heard President Trump say in a meeting, "my f---ing generals are a bunch of pu--ies," because they prioritized alliances over trade deals, according to Bob Woodward's new book "Rage," which was obtained ahead of its publication by CNN.

Why it matters: Trump and his allies have been on the defensive for the past week after anonymous sources alleged in The Atlantic that the president "has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members" — claims that the White House vehemently denies.

36 mins ago - Technology

Exclusive: Facebook's blackout didn't dent political ad reach

Photo: Valera Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Americans saw more political ads on Facebook in the week before the 2020 election than they did the prior week despite the company's blackout on new political ads during that period, according to Global Witness, a human rights group that espouses tech regulation.

Why it matters: The presidential election was a key stress test for Facebook and other leading online platforms looking to prove that they can curb misinformation. Critics contend measures like the ad blackout barely made a dent.