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Andrew Theodorakis / AP (file)

Some in the White House are uncomfortable with the hiring of Marc Kasowitz — Trump's longtime lawyer, who was recently brought on as outside counsel to lead the defense against the Russia probe.

A frequent informal adviser to the White House said:

"There are some people who believe he's the right choice, because he knows the President. And in something like this, it's good to have somebody you know and trust and can tell you: 'I've got your back.' On the other hand, there are people in the building who say that Kasowitz brings out the worst in the President. Kasowitz is a bit of an enabler and spins him up."

Concerns we're hearing about Kasowitz, (who did not respond to requests for comment):

  • Wrong experience: Kasowitz, known as a New York "street brawler," has represented Trump on everything from a fraud claim to defamation suits and against newspaper accusations of sexual misconduct. A number of advisers inside and close to the White House worry his talents won't transfer naturally to dealing with the national security apparatus in Washington.
  • Inadequate supporting cast: Names floated in news reports include legal stars like Theodore Olson. A source close to the White House says there's not much chance of this: "All the names you've seen aren't going to work out."
  • Says it all, from a source: "With lawyers, there's a pride in taking on tough clients. If you are defending the President and came on board now, ... you weren't part of the problem originally. ... I don't think there's any sort of stench that attaches to that ... [T]he larger deterrent is the structure of working for longtime ad hoc confidant Kasowitz ... [T]hat's not a slam on Kasowitz, but an acknowledgement that he's been fighting different battles and played to Trump's instincts, which would not be helpful here."

Go deeper

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

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