Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Kim Jong-un arrives for the official opening of the Ryomyong residential area in Pyongyang. Wong Maye-E / AP

The U.S. wants North Korea to halt its nuclear program, but North Korea has said it won't do it. Instead, the regime wants the United States to leave the region — but the United States won't abandon its allies in the region anytime soon. So where's the room for compromise?

What North Korea wants: "Getting a reduction in joint exercises between the U.S. and South Korea" is something the North Koreans might agree to, according to Suzanne DiMaggio, who's directing an unofficial dialogue between the United States and the North Koreans. North Korea views those drills as rehearsal for invasion and highly threatening.

The next exercises are in the spring of 2018. Kim's regime may also be interested in a reduction in sanctions.

What the United States could ask for: Although denuclearization demands may fall on deaf ears, reaching some kind of interim freeze agreement on North Korea's testing is something DiMaggio says said the United States could reasonably ask for. That would be verifiable, prevent escalation and proliferation, and leave denuclearization on the table.

DiMaggio told Axios her sense is that the North Koreans "recognize at some point they'll have to return to the negotiating table to head off this crisis.

  • Timing: Before negotiating, "I think they will first want to demonstrate their capacity to have an ICBM…that could reach the United States," DiMaggio said. So expect more tests.
  • So until then, DiMaggio recommends the United States tread lightly and use the appropriate, private channels to talk to North Korea. One warning for Trump from DiMaggio, who intimately knows what the North Koreans are thinking: "Contradictory messaging by the president and other members of the administration must stop...This can lead to misinterpretation and miscalculation by the North Koreans...we can see [inadvertent war] happening."
  • Trump's been "very unwise," as the rhetoric about destroying North Korea he used this week at the UN "reinforces Kim Jong-un's belief that having the capability to strike keeps the U.S. from striking" because Washington just keeps amping up the rhetoric and not acting.

Go deeper: More on the "freeze" option from Robert Eisen at the Brookings Institution

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”