Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Monday that Attorney General Bill Barr will resign from his post before Christmas, moments after the Electoral College affirmed President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.

Why it matters: Tensions between Trump and Barr had already been running high, and revelations in the Wall Street Journal that Barr had worked "for months" during the campaign to conceal a federal investigation of Hunter Biden further enraged the president.

Behind the scenes: Prior to the Hunter Biden report, Trump for weeks had privately discussed replacing Barr with somebody more willing to do his bidding.

  • Barr's comments to the AP earlier this month, in which he undercut Trump's claims of a "rigged election" by saying the Justice Department has not found evidence of widespread fraud that would change the outcome, sent the president into a rage.
  • Additionally, Trump had grown frustrated over the delays in the release of the so-called Durham report, which he hopes will contain bombshell revelations about the Obama administration's handling of the Trump-Russia investigation.
  • Barr resigned without Trump having to request his resignation, according to a source familiar.

Speculation that Trump would fire Barr temporarily subsided after the attorney general visited the White House the day that the AP interview was published. But as Axios reported this weekend, Trump began re-exploring options for replacing Barr after the Hunter Biden story broke.

  • Trump was privately venting about Barr on Friday with confidants, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.
  • And the president tweeted on Saturday morning: "Why didn’t Bill Barr reveal the truth to the public, before the Election, about Hunter Biden[?]"

Between the lines: Trump has a history of dropping his own announcements at moments when cable news is running stories that he hates — in this instance, the Electoral College affirming Biden's victory. This looks like another example of the president tweeting his way out of chyrons.

What's next: Trump said that Barr will be replaced by Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, who will serve in an acting capacity.

The big picture: Barr, the second Senate-confirmed attorney general appointed by Trump, has been a fierce critic of the Russia probe and one of the most loyal members of the president's Cabinet — filling a role vacated by Jeff Sessions, who was unceremoniously fired by Trump for failing to stop the Mueller investigation.

  • He has frequently been a target of criticism by Democrats who claim he has politicized the Justice Department by intervening in cases involving the president's allies.
  • But like many top Trump officials, even Barr has failed to go far enough to satisfy Trump's desires.

Read Barr's resignation letter.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.

"The end is coming, Donald."

The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."