• ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- French President Emmanuel Macron is arriving Monday in Washington for the first state visit of a foreign leader since President Donald Trump took office.For the 40-year-old Frenchman, the three-day trip is an opportunity to demonstrate the strong relationship between France and the United States, but also to discuss the topics on which the two allies diverge.“Strong, deep, old and solid,” Nicholas Dungan, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a professor at Paris-based institute Sciences Po, said, describing the relationship between the United States and its oldest ally.This U.S. invitation is perceived by the Elysée Palace – the French White House -- as an opportunity to “celebrate 250 years of friendship between our two countries.”Macron and Trump displayed their warm ties during last year’s Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.“They are getting along,” senior research fellow Marie-Cécile Naves of the French institute of International and Strategic Relations said, “especially if you compare to Trump’s relationship with other foreign leaders.”The French and U.S. presidents recently proved their capacity to act together by striking the chemical facilities of the Assad regime in Syria during a military operation alongside the United Kingdom.There are also topics of disagreement, most notably the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris Climate Accord and trade. Such issues will be discussed during the visit, according to the Elysée Palace.Trump is due to decide in the coming weeks whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement.What kind of progress France makes on this issue during the state visit remains to be seen. “We will develop our arguments and try to convince, but we do not expect to make diplomatic breakthroughs,” the Elysée Palace said.The French delegation is being cautious on the Iran agreement, senior research fellow Naves said, but “Emmanuel Macron still hopes to persuade Trump to remain in the deal; it would be a big diplomatic victory for the French president.”The state visit will also be an opportunity for Macron to introduce himself to the U.S. people. He will address -- in English -- a joint session of Congress Wednesday.“He will send a message of friendship, respect and affection toward the American nation,” the Elysee Palace said.Macron will host a town hall with George Washington University students the same day, allowing him to reach a younger U.S. audience.“Emmanuel Macron has characteristics that are more classically American than French,” the Atlantic Council’s Dungan said.“He is professional, rigorous and understands the value of work.”
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  • Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump’s trade representative racked up a hefty bill on the purchase and subsequent return of a new desk for his office, emails reviewed by ABC News show.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In a nod to history and the special relationship between the United States and one of the nation's oldest allies, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will host French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife for a rare private dinner at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.“The setting will serve as a beautiful reminder of France’s unique status as America’s very first ally going all the way back to the American Revolution,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.The 18th-century home of America’s first president and founding father was specifically chosen as a backdrop for the first dinner of the first state visit of Trump’s administration. Last July, the Macrons hosted the Trumps for a dinner above Paris inside its most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower.“President Trump is eager to host the Macrons for this special event, as he remembers fondly the dinner the couples shared together in the Eiffel Tower on the eve of Bastille Day last July,” said a senior administration official.In addition to dinner, the Macrons and Trumps will receive a tour of the grounds from Mount Vernon Regent Sarah Coulson and Mount Vernon President Doug Bradburn, and visit the gravesite of George Washington.“Our crews have been working around the clock to freshen up the estate in preparation for the visit,” said Melissa Wood, spokeswoman for the Mount Vernon estate.The grounds will close at 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon in anticipation of the event.Over the years, Mount Vernon has been the host site for visits from foreign dignitaries such as Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle and former French President Nicholas Sarkozy.In 1961, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy planned the first White House state dinner outside of Washington, D.C., in honor of President Mohammad Ayub Khan of Pakistan and his daughter, Naseem Akhtar Aurangzeb. Four boats transported guests up the Potomac River to a tent, decorated by Tiffany’s, on the sprawling grounds of Mount Vernon.The White House has remained tight-lipped about specific details of the visit, but like Kennedy, Melania Trump “was involved in every aspect of the planning of the state visit,” her press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, told ABC News.The estate holds particular symbolism for the United States and France, as Washington welcomed his close friend and Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette to his estate three years after fighting alongside each other in the Revolutionary War.After fighting for the United States, Lafayette went on to serve an important role in the French Revolution. In 1790, as a symbol of his appreciation for the United States and shared democratic ideals, Lafayette sent Washington the key to Bastille prison, which remains on display at Mount Vernon more than 200 years later.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- The chairman of the Democratic National Committee said the party’s civil lawsuit against the Trump campaign and Russia aims to deter Moscow from interfering in the 2018 midterm elections.
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  • ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) --  Alan Dershowitz said prosecutors are engaged in "an epic battle for the soul and cooperation of Michael Cohen," the longtime lawyer to President Donald Trump whose office and hotel room were raided by the FBI this month.
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  • Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Special counsel Robert Mueller built a team of more than a dozen prosecutors to investigate Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, but experts say one member might best be considered “the closer”: Michael Dreeben.
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