Jul 11, 2018

Go deeper: Why Trump is mad about Russia’s new pipeline to Germany

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump, speaking at the NATO summit in Europe Wednesday morning, said he believes Germany is "captive to" and "totally controlled" by Russia because of the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Be smart, from Axios' future editor Steve LeVine: This is the sound of a natural gas war. Trump wants Germany — an enormous gas purchaser — to buy American liquefied natural gas and is attempting to steal the market now held by Russia.

The details: Nord Stream 2 is an expansion of an existing pipeline, Nord Stream 1, that already transports some gas from Russia to Germany, per the WSJ. This controversial second phase would go live in 2019.

  • The pipeline would likely boost Russia’s authority in Europe when it comes to gas deliveries, according to Ukraine and other European allies. CNBC's Natasha Turak has also written that the pipeline would “increase Germany’s reliance on Russian energy supply.”
  • Nord Stream 2 also runs counter to the EU's energy security strategy, which it outlined in 2014 with a focus on diversity, according to The Atlantic Council.

What Trump's saying: The president has warned that if Germany wants to develop a trade deal with the U.S., it would be dependent on whether Germany drops its Nord Stream 2 plans with Russia.

  • But Germany has said previously that calling the deal off is not legally possible, since all the permits for the pipeline have been issued, per the WSJ.
  • Meanwhile, the State Department’s Dandra Oudkirk has signaled that companies involved in the pipeline project could be subject to U.S. sanctions.

What they’re saying:

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel fired back at Trump, stating that while part of Germany used to be controlled by Soviet Russia, it is not anymore.
  • Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told CNBC that “Germany is an independent country where energy supply is concerned, we diversify.”

Go deeper

Biden says he's starting VP search this month

Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.

Trump ousting intelligence community inspector general

Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,097,909 — Total deaths: 59,131 — Total recoveries: 226,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 277,828 — Total deaths: 7,406 — Total recoveries: 9,772Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primary elections by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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