Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump ranted and raged at what he perceived as insufficient loyalty by his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions.

The state of play ... Trump now has his man: Attorney General Bill Barr positions himself squarely in the president's corner, and makes no public effort to preserve the traditional remove between the Justice Department and the White House.

We saw this with the torque Barr put on the Mueller report, when he issued a summary that was criticized as being overly generous to Trump — by none other than special counsel Robert Mueller.

  • We saw this with Barr's decision to hold a news conference — announced by Trump — to spin the Mueller report several hours ahead of its release.

And we saw this with Barr's unapologetic tone yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

  • Barr referred to Mueller's note criticizing his summary as "a bit snitty," and "probably written" by the special counsel's staff.
  • Questioned about obstruction, Barr insisted: "I didn't exonerate."
  • This dynamic was most clear with Barr's defiant, brusque treatment of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) — the senator who Trump calls "Da Nang Dick."
  • The day ended with Barr refusing to appear today before the House Judiciary Committee — although Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said he'll still meet at 9 a.m. (AP headline: "House committee to face an empty chair instead of Barr.")

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with Trump's thinking said the president thought Barr was great and did an excellent job. Trump talked about his toughness and competence. 

  • Be smart: Don't lose sight of the fact that Barr released the whole report, lightly redacted. He spun for POTUS, but he didn't suppress the report.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Sports

Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m. EST: 32,062,182 — Total deaths: 979,701 — Total recoveries: 22,057,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:15 p.m EST: 6,967,103 — Total deaths: 202,558 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  5. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  7. Science: During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.

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