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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump is getting hit with a relentless, daily deluge of leaks — and revelations — from former aides, current officials and Democrats.

Why it matters: This has thrown Trump into a constant state of defensiveness — and turned a growing number of Republicans into skeptics and unwilling full-throated defenders.

  • Approval of the impeachment inquiry reached a new high, 55%, in a Quinnipiac Poll out this morning, with 48% favoring removal from office.

As Democrats' impeachment inquiry hit the one-month mark yesterday, Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, provided some of the most explosive testimony yet about Trump tying aid to a probe of the Biden family:

  • Taylor, told House investigators that Trump demanded that "everything" Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted hinged on making a public vow to investigate Democrats.
  • Taylor testified that he discovered an "irregular" administration back channel led by Rudy Giuliani, and other "ultimately alarming circumstances," per AP.

Lawmakers who emerged after nearly 10 hours of the private deposition were stunned at Taylor's account, which some Democrats said established a "direct line" to the quid pro quo at the center of the impeachment probe, AP reports.

  • Taylor's account reached to the highest levels of the administration, drawing in Vice President Pence and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and sliced at the core of the Republican defense of the administration and the president's insistence of no wrongdoing.
  • Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) told the N.Y. Times: "It’s like if you had a big, 1,000-piece puzzle on a table. This fills in a lot of pieces of the puzzle."

Another big dump on Trump will come Nov. 19, with the publication of "A Warning," a book by the anonymous senior Trump administration official who penned a mysterious and damaging N.Y. Times op-ed last year.

  • The author is represented by Keith Urbahn and Matt Latimer of Javelin.
  • Latimer told the WashPost's Phil Rucker that the author didn't take an advance, "and intends to donate some of the royalties to nonprofit organizations that focus on government accountability and supporting truth-tellers, ... including the White House Correspondents’ Association."

Last evening, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement: "President Trump has done nothing wrong — this is a coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats."

  • "There was no quid pro quo. Today was just more triple hearsay."

Go deeper ... U.S. envoy: Trump tied Ukraine aid to Biden, DNC investigations

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Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.