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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Lazaro Gamio / Axios

President Trump is so unhappy with Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he has raised the possibility of bringing back Rudolph Giuliani to head the Justice Department, according to West Wing confidants.

  • In internal conversations, Trump has recently pondered the idea of nominating Giuliani, a stalwart of his campaign.
  • Even before last week's blast at Sessions in a New York Times interview, Trump had expressed fury at Sessions — also one of the first prominent Republicans to back the Trump campaign — for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
  • And in a Monday morning tweet, Trump referred to "our beleaguered A.G." not investigating Hillary Clinton.

Our thought bubble: Trump often muses about possible personnel moves that he never makes, sometimes just to gauge the listener's reaction. So the Giuliani balloon may go nowhere.

As Axios reported Saturday, Newt Gingrich — who also went all-in with the Trump campaign — may take a more visible, frequent role as a defender as Trump girds for battle with special counsel Bob Mueller.

Giuliani would have a tough time getting 50 Republicans senators to vote to confirm him. He was such an early and ardent Trump backer that he wouldn't be seen as an independent guardian of the department in these tumultuous times.

In fact, the nomination could be seen as Trump throwing gasoline on a fire. And Giuliani's stop-and-frisk police policy as New York mayor, and clients since then, also would be controversial with many senators.

Nevertheless, the leaks about Giuliani and Gingrich are revealing in four ways:

  • Trump wants to surround himself with enablers and junkyard dogs, as we saw with the selection of the pugilistic Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director.
  • Presidents like the personnel equivalent of comfort food — people with whom they have a long, happy history. Presidents often find they can only really trust people they knew before they took office, since it's hard to trust new people at the pinnacle of power.
  • Rudy and Newt were both overlooked in the first round of administration picks. By reviving some of his original band members, he's able to blame other people for his problems.
  • And the West Wing conversations show that Trump originals can always come back. Paging Chris Christie!
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Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

7 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.

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