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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As televised impeachment hearings roll into Week 2, one surprise has been how many of the Trump team's wounds have been self-inflicted, because of his allies' curious habit of leaking on themselves.

Why it matters: The leaks and revelations have thrown President Trump into a constant state of defensiveness, and turned a growing number of Republicans into frustrated, sometimes bewildered, defenders.

A key part of this week's drama is likely to center on an overheard phone call from Trump to European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who's scheduled to testify on Wednesday morning.

  • David Holmes, political counsel at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, told Congress: "While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the president’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The president’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume."

But there have been weeks of this:

  • Rudy Giuliani, at the center of the Ukraine interference, butt-dialed an NBC reporter, and was "heard discussing need for cash and trashing Bidens." Reporters took to Twitter and recounted their own Rudy butt-dials.
  • Giuliani associate Lev Parnas' reported blabbing about his encounters with Trump may help Democrats build their case: Accounts by the WashPost and CNN have Parnas telling others he was on a "secret mission" for Trump.

And, of course, the backdrop:

  • The most damaging document so far was the "do us a favor" transcript of the Trump-Ukraine call that was released by the White House.
  • Trump stood on the White House lawn and said: "China should start an investigation into the Bidens."
  • And acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters last month, about conditioning funding for Ukraine on an investigation: "Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy."

The bottom line: From revelations about secret servers to off-the-books diplomacy said to resemble "drug deals," many of the juiciest details about the impeachment case came not from Democrats but from Team Trump.

Go deeper:

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Go deeper

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.