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Putin and Merkel today in Russia. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images

Rebuilding ties with Russia is now a "core policy objective" of Germany's government, Bloomberg reports, citing a senior German official.

The backdrop: Per Bloomberg, tensions with President Trump mean Merkel "is being pushed closer toward a more predictable partner in Moscow." Germany is furious with Trump over his decision to exit the Iran deal and his threats to slap sanctions on the EU. In a poll last December, Germans were more likely to describe Russia as a reliable partner than the U.S. Still, Putin and Merkel have had a decidedly cool relationship since the 2014 Ukraine crisis.

Go deeper

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. (Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images)

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.

Trump gives farewell address: "We did what we came here to do"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump will give a farewell video address on Tuesday, saying that his administration "did what we came here to do – and so much more."

Why it matters, via Axios' Alayna Treene: The address is very different from the Trump we've seen in his final weeks as president — one who has been refusing to accept his loss, who peddled conspiracy theories that fueled the attack on the Capitol, and who is boycotting his successor's inauguration. 

Dave Lawler, author of World
20 mins ago - World

Europeans have high hopes for Joe Biden

Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration will be greeted with enthusiasm in Europe, with three new polls making clear that most Europeans can't wait to bid Donald Trump adieu.

The big picture: Europeans generally expect brighter days ahead under Biden, according to the polls, but his election has not fully assuaged doubts about U.S. democracy and global leadership.

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