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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

"The Trump administration has put its search for the Justice Department’s No. 3 official [which would oversee the Mueller probe if Rod Rosenstein were to depart] on the back burner after failing to persuade several candidates," per The Wall Street Journal's Sadie Gurman and Aruna Viswanatha (subscription).

Why it matters: "The department lacks permanent, politically appointed leaders to oversee at least five high-profile units, including the criminal, civil and tax divisions."

Behind the curtain ... "Trump's fury with [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions is so ever-present it has taken to darkening his moods even during otherwise happy moments," AP's Jonathan Lemire and Eric Tucker report:

  • "On Thursday, Trump was on Air Force One returning from a trip to Texas ... [W]hen an aide mentioned Sessions, Trump abruptly ended the conversation and unmuted the television in his office broadcasting Fox News, dismissing the staffer to resume watching cable."

Go deeper

55 mins ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.

Roger Stone won't cooperate with Jan. 6 panel

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone speaking in front of the Supreme Court on Jan. 5 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone won't cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and will invoke the Fifth Amendment right not to testify, his attorney said Tuesday evening.

Why it matters: The announcement, first reported by ABC News, came hours after former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he wouldn't cooperate with the probe.

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