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Trump and Kim in Singapore. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump announced early Tuesday morning that the U.S. would be ending "war games" (joint military exercises) with South Korea, a significant concession to North Korea that does not appear to have been made in consultation with Seoul.

How it's playing: South Korea is reportedly seeking more information about what Trump meant. Bill Neely, NBC News' Chief Global Correspondent, tweets: "There is every indication from Seoul that the South Korean leadership and military did not know the US was about to cancel Joint Military exercises. 'We need to find out' they say. Stunning if true."

The rhetoric that accompanied the announcement was significant as well.

  • Trump called the exercises "provocative," undermining the Pentagon's long-time claim that they are purely "defensive" and not a threat to North Korea. He said it was "inappropriate" to continue while negotiating a peace deal, and North Korea "really appreciated" the step.
  • His main complaint was the "tremendous" cost. "South Korea contributes but not 100% and that's something we have to talk to them about also," he said.
  • One key line: "I want to get our soldiers out, I want to bring our soldiers back home ... that's not part of the equation right now, at some point I hope it will be."

Go deeper

Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

Inside Patch's new local newsletter platform

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) local digital news company, has built a new software platform called "Patch Labs" that lets local news reporters publish their own newsletters and websites, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: It follows a growing trend of journalists going solo via newsletters at the national level.

Scoop: Politico stars plot new Playbook

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three of Politico’s biggest reporting stars plan to launch a competitor to the company’s Politico Playbook franchise, sources tell me. 

Why it matters:  Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan will launch a daily newsletter in 2021 as a stand-alone company, the sources say. In effect, they will be competing against the Playbook franchise they helped create and grow. 

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