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AP

NBC News' Chuck Todd sat down with Axios' Jim VandeHei at the end of Axios and NBC News' roundtable discussion on the economy to talk about how President Trump's agenda is faring as the Russia scandal threatens to suck all of the air out of Washington.

Chuck's suggestion: Trump needs someone to help him calm the waters in Washington — like Howard Baker did for Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra affair. "Who is that person that will put their credibility on the line for this president?" he asked, before suggesting: Bob Gates, Ed Gillespie, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush — but he doesn't see any of them as wanting to accept a role in the Trump administration.

Some other observations:

  • Trump's big problem: "It's a White House that doesn't know what it's doing. They have no idea how to make legislation happen. They have no idea how to work with Congress. They came in with no big plan, no big agenda."
  • The White House right now: "We're at a point where it's every man and woman for themselves. It's not a point where everyone is abiding by that, but it's more and more every day."
  • POTUS' TV habit: "He showed me his DIRECTV list…he records a lot. If it's not about him, then [channel click noise]. He watches all five Sunday shows every Sunday at some point in time."
  • How the media covers Russia: "I do think some of my colleagues are spending way too much time worrying about how this story impacts them rather than simply covering the story."

Go deeper

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.

Breaking Biden's diplomatic logjam

Expand chart
Data: Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The logjam for reviewing and confirming President Biden's ambassadorial picks is finally starting to break.

Why it matters: Biden is far behind his predecessors in the rate at which his ambassadorial picks have been confirmed. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a series of high-profile hearings and votes this week to finally begin chipping away at the backlog.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats brace for staredown over paid family medical leave

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senior House Democrats are braced for battle with the Senate over whether paid family medical leave — a key priority for progressives — will be included in President Biden’s final budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated he wants to cut the program to reduce the bill's price tag. “Paid family and medical leave must be in the final package,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Axios on Monday.