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Jerusalem Old City is seen trough a door with the shape of star of David, in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. Photo: Oded Balilty / AP

Pope Francis added his voice this morning to Arab, Muslim and European objections to President Trump's plan today to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, "a move that could trigger violence in the region, derail a developing U.S. Mideast peace plan, and infuriate key allies in the Arab world and the West."

The pope said he was "profoundly concerned," and asked "that everyone respects the status quo of the city." He called on the world for "wisdom and prudence" to avoid further conflict.

  • Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital would be an act of "madness" that would "plunge the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight." (NBC)
  • Trump gives a statement on Jerusalem at 1 p.m. in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.

Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 10 News, writing on Axios, says the challenge for Trump is "how to fulfill his campaign promise of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and still get a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians — and prevent a wave a violence across the West Bank and the Middle East."

  • "White House officials think Trump's decision to follow through on his campaign promise — even if only partially — strengthens his credibility around the world as a someone who stands by his word, isn't intimidated by threats, and doesn't cave to international pressure."

Middle Eastern and European leaders say the move will interfere with peace talks, per Axios' Erica Pandey:

  • Administration officials said on a call with reporters Tuesday evening that the president "understands the Palestinians' aspirations" and supports a two-state solution if that's what both parties desire.

Be smart: Even Bush administration alumni who are pro-Israel tell me that they find this move short-sighted — an aggravation to allies in the region when we need help with Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

  • One Republican who is a former national-security official told me: "If nothing was going on and everything was perfect in the world, this would be fine. But we're fighting for influence right now, and asking for support from our Gulf allies. This upsets everyone in the Middle East except Israel."
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Go deeper

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.

Fed: Rate hikes are near

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve is on track to raise its main target interest rate in mid-March, as Chair Jerome Powell pledged to be "humble and nimble" in adapting policy to a fast-changing economy.

Why it matters: Fed leaders are looking to choke off inflation by raising interest rates in the near future, but keeping its options open for how fast and far the effort will go.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.