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Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Photo: MICHAEL REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will bring about 6,400 troops home from Germany and move about 5,400 more to other countries in Europe, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Trump has expressed a desire to remove the troops in the past, accusing Germany of "delinquent" payments to NATO. But the idea has been met with some bipartisan opposition in Congress, as many lawmakers believe removing troops would encourage Russian aggression

Where it stands: The withdrawal will leave some 24,000 troops in the country. Pentagon officials have told lawmakers it will take years to complete.

  • Esper claimed the removal and rearrangement "will strengthen NATO, enhance the deterrence of Russia, and meet the other principles I set forth."

What they're saying: 22 Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee implored Trump to drop his plans to move troops out of Germany in June, arguing that it would undermine the training and readiness of U.S. and allied forces and cause "serious logistical challenges."

  • Peter Beyer, an ally to German Chancellor Merkel, said in June that the move is "completely unacceptable" and will damage U.S.-German relations.
  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Wednesday that the plan is "a slap in the face at a friend and ally when we should instead be drawing closer in our mutual commitment to deter Russian and Chinese aggression. And it is a gift to Russia coming at a time when we just have learned of its support for the Taliban and reports of bounties on killing American troops."

Go deeper

Oct 28, 2020 - World

Germany goes back into lockdown

Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.