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Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

"When President Trump spoke by phone with Sen. Richard J. Durbin [D-Ill.] around 10:15 a.m. last Thursday, he expressed pleasure with Durbin’s outline of a bipartisan immigration pact," the WashPost reports, filling in the backstory of the Oval Office "shithole" meeting.

Durbin said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) was on board, and Trump invited the lawmakers to visit with him at noon. "But when they arrived at the Oval Office, the two senators were surprised to find that Trump was far from ready to finalize the agreement. He was 'fired up' and surrounded by hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)."

  • "The meeting was short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing."

"Trump’s ping-ponging from dealmaking to feuding ... has come to define the contentious immigration talks between the White House and Congress, perplexing members of both parties as they navigate the president’s vulgarities, his combativeness and his willingness to suddenly change his position."

  • "Attendees who were alarmed by the racial undertones of Trump’s remarks were further disturbed when the topic of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) came up.'"
  • "At one point, Durbin told the president that members of that caucus — an influential House group — would be more likely to agree to a deal if certain countries were included in the proposed protections.
  • "Trump was curt and dismissive, saying he was not making immigration policy to cater to the CBC and did not particularly care about that bloc’s demands ... 'You’ve got to be joking,' one adviser said, describing Trump’s reaction."
  • "Three White House officials said Perdue and Cotton told the White House that they heard “shithouse” rather than “shithole,” allowing them to deny the president’s comments on television over the weekend. The two men initially said publicly that they could not recall what the president said.

Why it matters: The meeting heightens the risk of a shutdown, with Friday's deadline to pass a spending bill fast approaching.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”