Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Three U.S. prisoners in North Korea are coming home, and President Trump will be meeting them when the plane arrives in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

Why it matters: "[T]he release of the three Americans is permanent, and Mr. Kim forfeited a bargaining chip in freeing them. No other Americans are believed to be held prisoner in North Korea," Choe Sang-Hun writes for the N.Y. Times.

The details: NYT adds, "A senior United States official said the prisoner release was an American condition to the planned talks between the leaders of the United States and North Korea."

Trump's triumphant announcement:

  • "I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set."
  • "Secretary Pompeo and his 'guests' will be landing at Andrews Air Force Base at 2:00 A.M. in the morning. I will be there to greet them. Very exciting!"

The newly-freed prisoners: Tony Kim, detained since April 23, 2017; Kim Hak-song, detained since May 6, 2017; Kim Dong-chul, detained since 2015.

P.S. Trump has ruled out the DMZ as a location for the North Korean meeting. Singapore is among the remaining options.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 20,739,537 — Total deaths: 751,910— Total recoveries: 12,895,242Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,242,184 — Total deaths: 166,971 — Total recoveries: 1,755,225 — Total tests: 64,612,034Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the coronavirus are progressing and may provide some relief before vaccines.

The big picture: Everyone wants to know how and when they can return to "normal" life, as vaccines are not expected to be ready for most Americans for at least a year. Two therapies are known to be helpful, and more could be announced by late September, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

3 hours ago - World

Behind the scenes: How the Israel-UAE deal came together

Trump, Kushner and Netanyahu (L-R). Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty

The breakthrough in talks between the U.S., Israel and UAE on a normalization deal came two months ago, White House officials tell me.

Behind the scenes: Talks had been ongoing for more than a year, but they gained new urgency ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's July 1 deadline to move ahead on West Bank annexations.