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Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

There were "raised voice levels and animated conversation" during a chaotic Friday night meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office, a source familiar with the meeting tells Axios.

Driving the news: As the N.Y. Times first reported yesterday, the meeting included — at various times — Rudy Giuliani, Gen. Michael Flynn and conspiracy-minded election lawyer Sidney Powell.

  • Chief of staff Mark Meadows and counsel Pat Cipollone pushed back strenuously on some of the more far-out ideas, including impounding voting machines and making Powell special counsel for election fraud.

"It's basically Sidney versus everybody," the source said. "That is why voices were raised. There is literally not one motherf—r in the president’s entire orbit — his staunchest group of supporters and allies — who doesn't think that Sidney Powell should be on that first rocket to Mars."

  • "These are the hardcore defenders. This is the one thing that has united people."

Between the lines: The obvious exception, of course, is the president of the United States.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Off the Rails

Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

U.S. ambassador to Russia will return home briefly: State Department

John Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, during a briefing in Moscow in 2015. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

The State Department said Monday that the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, will now be returning to the United States this week before returning to Moscow "in the coming weeks."

Why this matters: The statement, from a State Department spokesperson, comes just hours after Axios reported that Sullivan had indicated he intended to stand his ground and stay in Russia after the Kremlin “advised” him to return home to talk with his team.

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