May 18, 2018

Trump's unpredictability pushes Merkel toward Putin

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.

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Scoop: Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates will be reassigned as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the National Security Council said Thursday — and a senior White House official said that the administration "rejects" the rumors that she is "Anonymous."

Why it matters: Coates has battled claims that she is the still-unknown Trump administration official that penned a New York Times op-ed and book critical of President Trump.

The Fed may be setting the table for 2020 rate cuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed looks to be laying the groundwork to lower U.S. interest rates this year, just as they did in April 2019 before cutting rates in July, September and October.

Why it matters: A Fed rate cut makes taking on debt more attractive for U.S. consumers and businesses, helping to juice the economy, but also puts the central bank in a weaker position to fight off a potential recession.

Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in a $13 billion deal

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Morgan Stanley is planning to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. in a $13 billion all-stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, with plans to acquire the company known for helping everyday Americans manage their money.

Why it matters: The deal, which would be the largest by a major American bank since the financial crisis, signals Morgan Stanley‘s desire to bulk up in wealth management.