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Evan Vucci / AP

In his second set of remarks to reporters on Thursday, President Trump said he would like to "thank" Vladimir Putin for ordering the U.S. to cut its embassy staff in Russia by 755, in response to U.S sanctions:

"I want to thank him because we're trying to cut down our payroll and as far as I'm concerned I'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There's no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we've been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We're going to save a lot of money."

Other key quotes, per the USA Today's Gregory Korte:
  • On the FBI raid of Paul Manafort's home: "I thought it was a very, very strong signal, or whatever. I know Mr. Manafort. Haven't spoken to him for a long time, but I know him…. I was very, very surprised to see it. I've always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man. He's like a lot of other people, probably makes consultant fees from all over the place, who knows, I don't know, but I thought it was pretty tough stuff to wake him up, perhaps his family was there. I think that's pretty tough stuff."
  • On whether he has confidence in McMaster: "Yes, I do. General McMaster?... He's my friend and he's a very talented man. I like him and I respect him."
  • On state of relationship with Sessions: "It is what it is. It's fine. He's working hard on the border."
  • On anti-missile defenses: He said he would be announcing a plan in the next week to add billions of dollars to missile defense.
  • On leaks: He said the leaks involving national security are serious. "And then you have the leaks where people want to love me, and they're all fighting for my love. Frankly, I'm somewhat honored."
  • On Afghanistan troop levels: "We're getting close. We're getting very close. It's a very big decision for me. I took over a mess and we're going to make it a lot less messy."

Go deeper

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
1 hour ago - Health

Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.