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Andrew Harnik / AP

Senior White House officials briefed reporters Thursday on the details behind President Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate deal. They repeatedly insisted that Trump is "sincere" in his promise to renegotiate a better deal for the American economy, and stated that they have no doubts that other countries will work with them:

"Other countries and our allies have a strong interest in coming to an agreement with the US. There is no question that other countries are going to want to sit down with us and talk about a potential way forward."

Note: Shortly after Trump's official announcement to withdraw the U.S., the leaders France, Italy, and Germany released a statement noting their "regret" of the decision, and stated that they "firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated."

Trump's deciding factor: The underlying issue for Trump is that he feels the Paris deal, as well as what the Obama administration agreed to, negatively impacts the American worker and U.S. manufacturing.

Their justification: The officials emphasized that the U.S. has been "the leader" in cutting CO2 emissions for the last decade. "Our environmental protections are second to none," they explained. "And America is going to continue to lead in cutting CO2 emissions."

Does Trump believe in climate change? The officials refused to comment on the president's "personal views."

See the WH fact sheet handed out during the briefing.

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

5 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.