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Putin aide warns Trump: Give back our mansions or else

Russian President Vladimir Putin seen here on May

Russian President Vladimir Putin seen here on May 17, 2017. He is expected to meet with President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit later this week. Credit: AP / Yuri Kadobnov

See Putin’s vacant stare

Vladimir Putin has a real estate beef with Donald Trump.

Back in December, his diplomats were evicted from their mansion retreats in Upper Brookville and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore by President Barack Obama in retaliation for Russians’ interference in the U.S. election.

Putin expected Trump to give the properties back by now. He’s still waiting.

Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Monday that the Kremlin’s patience “has its limits” and urged the Trump administration to hand back the keys to “free Russia from the need to take retaliatory moves.”

The Long Island mansion, on 14 acres, has 36 rooms and a swimming pool. Obama said it also was used “for intelligence-related purposes.”

Trump and Putin are due to meet for the first time during the G-20 summit, which is being held Friday and Saturday in Hamburg, Germany. See Robert Brodsky’s story for Newsday.

What else to talk about

According to Ushakov, other issues Putin expects to discuss with Trump include the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, and fighting terrorism.

The White House has said little about Trump’s agenda, including whether he will raise the election-interference issue. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters last week it would cover both areas of tension and possible cooperation.

Illegal crossings down sharply

Trump’s hard-line approach to immigration already seems to have led to sharp declines in the flow of migrants from Central America, The New York Times reported.

From February through May, Customs and Border Protection data shows the number of undocumented immigrants stopped or caught along the southwest border fell 60%. Those already in the U.S. are fearful and have told relatives and friends in their homeland: Don’t come.

Trump’s offer for dying baby

Trump offered to help a terminally ill British baby on Monday, saying on Twitter that “if we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”

It’s not clear what Trump can do. The 10-month-old suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease and is unable to breathe unaided. Last week, his parents lost a legal battle to take him to the U.S. for experimental therapy.

The European Court of Human Rights sided with earlier rulings that continued treatment would cause “significant harm” and life support should end. Pope Francis on Sunday backed the parents’ wishes, and U.S. conservatives who have taken up their cause say the case shows the evil of socialized medicine.

Impolite disagreement

Seven in 10 Americans say the level of civility in Washington has gotten worse since Trump was elected, while just 6% say the overall tone has improved and 20% say it hasn’t changed, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. Results varied little among Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Among the institutions more people distrust than trust: the Trump administration, Congress, the news media and public opinion polls, More trusted: intelligence and law enforcement agencies like the CIA and the FBI, as well as the courts.

Outside looking in

Longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who grew up in the Five Towns, was an often-seen TV surrogate during the campaign, but now appears to be outside Trump’s inner circle, The New York Times reports.

Cohen, who had expected to be offered a senior administration post, has come under scrutiny for Russia contacts. He still works soliciting donations for his old boss, and Trump acknowledged his efforts at a fundraiser last week, saying, “I miss you, man.”

What else is happening

  • What will Trump tweet for July 4? Fireworks at the media is as good a guess as any. A Washington Post collection of his Independence Day tweets since 2009 shows a range from nice to nasty to indefinable. One classic: “Sharks are last on my list — other than perhaps the losers and haters of the World!”
  • In a setback for the Trump administration’s drive to roll back environmental regulations, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled the EPA can’t block an Obama-era requirement that oil and gas companies monitor and reduce methane leaks.
  • The number of states balking at handing over voter information to Trump’s election integrity commission has risen to 32, ABC News reports. In Louisiana, Republican Secretary of State Tom Schedler said: “You’re not going to play politics with Louisiana’s voter data.”
  • Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, said “in a couple of months” there will be “more clarity” on questions of collusion with Trump’s campaign.
  • Trump is considering adding veteran Washington lawyer Ty Cobb to the White House Counsel’s Office to deal with Russia-related issues, Reuters reported. Cobb is a distant relative of the early 20th century baseball star of the same name.
  • Trump spoke by phone Sunday with 101-year-old Dick Cole of Comfort, Texas, the last surviving member of World War II’s Doolittle Raiders. In 1942, they carried out the first air attack on Tokyo, buoying American morale four months after Pearl Harbor.
  • The president was at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort Monday — his 35th day as president at one of his golf properties, according to NBC News. That’s 21% of his total days as president. The White House said Trump spoke by phone Monday with European leaders.

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