Jul 24, 2017

​Exclusive: Trump ponders Rudy Giuliani for attorney general

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!

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.