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Europe Edition: Ukraine, St Petersburg, Barack Obama: Your Thursday Briefing

In an Op-Ed, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote that “there cannot be business as usual with Russia” unless there’s peace in Ukraine._____PhotoCredit George Ourfalian/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images• Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, abandoned a softened approach toward President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, calling Mr. Assad a “terrorist” with no place in Syria’s postwar future.Mr. Erdogan may have intended his remarks as a message to Russia, Mr. Assad’s ally, that it cannot dictate Syria’s postwar future, most notably on issues involving Syria’s Kurdish groups.But even as Mr. Erdogan spoke, his government was finalizing a $2.5 billion deal to purchase Russian missile systems._____PhotoCredit Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times• American farmers, who grapple with migrant labor laws and many other rules, exemplify what businesses describe as regulatory fatigue. President Trump has tapped into their discontent over regulations.Meanwhile, companies outside the U.S […]

Europe Edition: Ukraine, St Petersburg, Barack Obama: Your Thursday Briefing

In an Op-Ed, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote that “there cannot be business as usual with Russia” unless there’s peace in Ukraine._____PhotoCredit George Ourfalian/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images• Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, abandoned a softened approach toward President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, calling Mr. Assad a “terrorist” with no place in Syria’s postwar future.Mr. Erdogan may have intended his remarks as a message to Russia, Mr. Assad’s ally, that it cannot dictate Syria’s postwar future, most notably on issues involving Syria’s Kurdish groups.But even as Mr. […]

With 2020 Census Looming, Worries About Fairness and Accuracy

“There’s a set of unprecedented challenges that collectively threaten to create a perfect storm in 2020,” Terri Ann Lowenthal, a consultant and a leading authority on the census, said in an interview. “If public confidence in the objectivity and quality of the 2020 census erodes, then another pillar of our representative democracy could be compromised.”John H […]

White House Plans Tillerson Ouster From State Dept., to Be Replaced by Pompeo

John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, developed the transition plan and has discussed it with other officials. Under his plan, the shake-up of the national security team would happen around the end of the year or shortly afterward. But for all of his public combativeness, Mr. Trump is notoriously reluctant to fire people, and it was not known if Mr. Tillerson had agreed to step down by then. Public disclosure of Mr. […]

Diplomats Sound the Alarm as They Are Pushed Out in Droves

Now the estrangement is in the open, as diplomats going out the door make their feelings known and members of Congress raise questions about the impact of their leaving.In a letter to Mr. Tillerson last week, Democratic members of the House Foreign Relations Committee, citing what they said was “the exodus of more than 100 senior Foreign Service officers from the State Department since January,” expressed concern about “what appears to be the intentional hollowing-out of our senior diplomatic ranks.”Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, sent a similar letter, telling Mr. Tillerson that “America’s diplomatic power is being weakened internally as complex global crises are growing externally.”Mr. Tillerson, a former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, has made no secret of his belief that the State Department is a bloated bureaucracy and that he regards much of the day-to-day diplomacy that lower-level officials conduct as unproductive. […]

The Subtle Messages Sent by Who Is, and Isn’t, Joining Trump in Asia

But leaving Ms. Trump off the trip also removes an unwelcome spotlight from her clothing line, which is manufactured in Chinese factories under conditions that activists say fall short of the message of women’s empowerment that she has been preaching, most recently in Tokyo on Friday (she returned to Washington before Mr. Trump arrived).PhotoGary D. Cohn, left, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in September. They will largely be uninvolved with the president’s trip.Credit Doug Mills/The New York TimesMr. Kushner’s role on China has been similarly circumscribed in recent months. He was pivotal in arranging the first face-to-face meeting between Mr. Trump and President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Florida estate, in April, which he did through a back channel with China’s ambassador to Washington, Cui Tiankai.But Mr. […]

Feature: Rex Tillerson and the Unraveling of the State Department

When I spoke to Tillerson about what caused the initial split in the administration on Qatar, he said that it boiled down to experience. “I think I started from a different place perhaps because I’ve known all the leaders involved for a long time, and I’ve seen these kinds of issues emerge in the region over the 20-plus years I’ve been dealing with the region,” he said. “So this was not new for me, and so I guess my reaction to it was perhaps immediately measured because I’ve seen it before. To those who have not seen it before” — and here Tillerson didn’t bother to name names, but it seemed he was talking about Kushner — “there are a lot of concerns expressed about Qatar that are legitimate concerns. […]