Combination images of E. Jean Carroll and President Trump. Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Glamour/Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Department of Justice filed a motion notifying a New York State court Tuesday that it intends to replace President Trump's private lawyers to defend him in a defamation lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll.

Why it matters: It's highly unusual for the DOJ to intervene in such cases. The department said in its notice that it intervened because Trump was "acting within the scope of his office as President of the United States" when he said last year that Carroll was "totally lying" about claims that he raped her in the mid-1990s.

What they're saying: Trump "knows that I told the truth," Carroll said in an emailed statement, noting that when she said he sexually assaulted her and he "knows that he was lying when he said that he had never met me before and that I 'wasn’t his type.'"

  • "Today's actions demonstrate that Trump will do everything possible, including using the full powers of the federal government, to block discovery from going forward in my case before the upcoming election to try to prevent a jury from ever deciding which one of us is lying," she added. 
  • The White House said in a statement emailed to Axios that Carroll "was trying to sell a book" when she sued the president for defamation "for denying her baseless claims" and that the DOJ's action was warranted because of a law called the Federal Tort Claims Act.
"The Department's action adheres to the plain language and intent of the Statute which the courts have confirmed applies when elected officials, such as members of Congress, respond to press inquiries including with respect to personal matters."

Read the notice via DocumentCloud:

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 a.m. ET: 7,148,009 — Total deaths: 205,069 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Business: Companies are still holding back earnings guidance.
  4. Health: Trump announces plan to distribute 150 million rapid tests —The childless vaccine.
  5. Media: Fauci: Some of what Fox News reports about COVID-19 is "outlandish"
  6. States: Cuomo extends New York moratorium on evictions until 2021.
  7. World: More than 1 million people have now died from coronavirus — India the second country after U.S. to hit 6 million cases.

Bob Woodward: "I was not going to hide" my opinion on Trump

Bob Woodward didn't want to join Senate Republicans in privately condemning President Trump but declining to do so publicly, he told Jonathan Swan in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: Woodward has covered 9 presidents, but Trump is the first that Woodward explicitly described as "the wrong man for the job."