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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

Biden headed to the Hill as Democrats struggle to reach deal on spending bills

President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leave a House Democratic Caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday morning will meet with the House Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill to provide an update about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal, according to a White House official.

Driving the news: The meeting comes as Democrats struggle to reach a deal on the spending bills. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Sunday that Democrats were planning to reach an agreement on the infrastructure package this week, before Biden's departure to Europe, which is slated for later on Thursday.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
44 mins ago - Economy & Business

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed 107-page proposal to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it died ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.

Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.

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