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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump, while nervous about the historic stain of impeachment, is throwing everything he has into this fight: refusing all cooperation, running ads to profit politically, and torching every person who stands in opposition to him. 

The big picture: When it all boils down, Trump really only trusts his own instincts. And his instincts here are the same as they were with the Mueller investigation: Fight like hell.

  • No nuance or apology — not a hint of it.
  • Turn the leader of the investigation (in this case, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff) into a conservative media villain.
  • Condemn Trump enemies in the most incendiary and exaggerated language possible (treason, traitors, coup, etc.).

Why it matters: Compared to the Mueller investigation, the Ukraine phone call appears to have more resonance with the general public.

  • Republicans close to leadership and the White House tell Axios they're concerned by trend lines in a Washington Post poll showing 49% of Americans think Trump should be removed from office.
  • Top Republicans don’t believe the numbers in the Post poll, which found support for an impeachment inquiry rising among Republicans by 21 points since July.
  • Trump’s abrupt announcement that he would withdraw from Syria and clear the way for the Turks to charge in (and perhaps massacre the Kurds) has added to this anxiety about Trump weakening the support he needs among Republican lawmakers.

The bottom line: None of these are helpful signals for Trump.

Go deeper ... Lindsey Graham on Trump's Syria decision: "He's putting the nation at risk"

Go deeper

COVID created an epic U.S. trade gap

Chart: Axios Visuals. Data: Census Bureau/Bureau of Economic Analysis

The details of the blockbuster fourth quarter GDP report released Thursday morning tell a vivid story of how the underpinnings of the world economy have been reshaped by the pandemic.

One example: In the arithmetic around U.S. economic output, trade acted as a more severe drag last year than it has in a generation.

Updated 53 mins ago - Technology

Pandemic gave cover to online dating scams

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Crooked Casanovas used online dating scams to steal an estimated $500 million from lonely victims last year, according to a new analysis of government fraud data by Atlas VPN, an internet security provider.

Why it matters: The isolation of the lingering pandemic provided cover to fraudulent suitors who had an excuse for not meeting up in person even as they fleeced their would-be lovers out of gift cards, money — even cryptocurrency.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker