Illustration: Sam Jayne / Axios

Steve Bannon is stepping down as executive chairman of Breitbart News. SiriusXM has now also cancelled his radio show, as "the agreement is with Breitbart."

The big picture: Trump got his scalp. He forced everyone inside and close to the White House to make a binary choice: “it’s me or Steve.” For everyone, including some of Bannon’s close allies, it was an easy choice. Almost everyone abandoned Bannon.

Between the lines:

  • This was the Mercer’s forcing his hand. It wasn’t just Bannon’s quotes to Wolff but how he mishandled the fallout. He took five days to issue a weak apology, which fell flat.
  • Right up until today Steve was telling associates everything was going to be fine (but he always does that when he’s under the gun.) But his associates knew this was coming. The Mercers had turned against him months ago. 
  • Per source close to the White House: “God, I can’t believe the whole movement just collapsed on this guy. He’s done.”
  • Per a former WH ally of Bannon’s: “I’ve gone from being sympathetic to Steve to believing he’s a genuinely bad guy, totally duplicitous. It’s a shame. He has a lot of talent. But his self-destructive streak is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

Go deeper:

From Breitbart's statement:

  • Bannon said, “I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform.”
  • According to Breitbart CEO Larry Solov, “Steve is a valued part of our legacy, and we will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he has helped us to accomplish.”

Go deeper

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes.

  • A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

  • With a firm moderator, NBC News' Kristen Welker — along with threats of mic cutoffs and advisers' pleas for Trump to cool it — voters finally heard clear contrasts.
  • Trump swung several times, but never quite landed a punch as he tried to connect Biden to a nebulous cloud of allegations about business dealings by his son Hunter.

Between the lines: Trump didn't focus on assuring women voters or seniors. But his economic argument could reassure some men in swing states.

  • Trump went back to 2016 mode — the outsider, chiding career politicians. But he's one of them now.

During an exchange about race in America, Trump said: "Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln — possible exception. ... I'm the least racist person in this room."

  • Biden retorted sarcastically, referring to Trump: "Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history."

Videos:

Reporting was contributed by Stef Kight, Alexi McCammond, David Nather and Hans Nichols.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."

Trump claims COVID "will go away," Biden calls his response disqualifying

President Trump repeated baseless claims at the final presidential debate that the coronavirus "will go away" and that the U.S. is "rounding the turn," while Joe Biden argued that any president that has allowed 220,000 Americans to die on his watch should not be re-elected.

Why it matters: The U.S. is now averaging about 59,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and added another 73,000 cases on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The country recorded 1,038 deaths due to the virus Thursday, the highest since late September.

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