Mar 20, 2019

Trump to host Netanyahu at White House ahead of Israel's elections

Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday and host him for dinner the following night, the White House has announced.

Why it matters: Netanyahu will arrive at the White House two weeks before Israel's April 9 elections. Netanyahu wants to use the meeting with Trump in his election campaign in order to stress their close ties and the fact that his chief opponent, Benny Gantz, lacks foreign policy experience.

The White House statement said Trump and Netanyahu "will discuss their countries’ shared interests and actions in the Middle East."

Netanyahu also met today in Jerusalem with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will not meet any other political leaders during the visit.

  • Pompeo and Netanyahu will visit the Western Wall together tomorrow, providing another important photo op for Netanyahu's election campaign.
  • In a briefing to reporters on Tuesday, Pompeo pushed back on claims that his visit to Israel is intended to interfere in the Israeli elections in Netanyahu's favor.

Behind the scenes: Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer urged the White House to put on a state dinner for Netanyahu. In the end, the White House settled on a working dinner with Trump, Pence and several members of the Cabinet.

The big picture: This has been an extremely bitter election campaign in Israel with Netanyahu, who is facing corruption and fraud charges, desperate to hold on to power.

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China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown

People wearing facemasks stand near Yangtze River in Wuhan. Photo: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

China has lifted its lockdown of Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in December, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: As cases surged in January, China took the draconian step of sealing off the city of 11 million and shutting down its economy — a response that was viewed at the time as only possible in an authoritarian system, but which has since been adopted by governments around the world.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,381,014— Total deaths: 78,269 — Total recoveries: 292,973Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 378,289 — Total deaths: 11,830 — Total recoveries: 20,003Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill
  4. Federal government latest: Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week — Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. States update: New York death toll surged to its highest one-day total as state predicts a plateau in hospitalizations.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The race to reopen America
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill

Glenn Fine, acting Pentagon watchdog

President Trump on Monday replaced the Pentagon's acting Inspector General Glenn Fine, who had been selected to chair the panel overseeing the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed last month, Politico first reported.

Why it matters: A group of independent federal watchdogs selected Fine to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, but Fine's removal from his Pentagon job prevents him from being able to serve in that position — since the law only allows sitting inspectors general to fill the role.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy