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Donald Trump speaks with Game Change authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann in 2015. Photo: Chris Goodney / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Early this year, President Trump invited Mark Halperin to dinner in the White House residence. Seated around the table were Trump's inner circle, including Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, Reince Priebus, Stephen Miller, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer.

They spent a rollicking evening reminiscing about the campaign, according to two sources in the room.

  • Trump concluded the dinner by telling his team: "You guys all need to talk to him [Halperin]" for his campaign book — the third installment of "Game Change," the most valuable franchise in political reporting.
  • The team cooperated. In the months since, Halperin and his co-author John Heilemann used this extraordinary access to gather a treasure trove of reporting, the most comprehensive insider account of what happened on the campaign.
  • Several Trump campaign officials told me they gave their juiciest anecdotes to Halperin.

But Halperin has since been thrown off the book project — Penguin backed out and HBO cancelled the movie version — after a number of women went public with stories about him sexually harassing them in the workplace. That leaves the treasure trove in the hands of Heilemann, and creates a complicated situation. While Halperin and Heilemann co-conducted nearly all of the Clinton campaign interviews and some Trump campaign interviews, it was Halperin's access that unlocked the highest level of Trumpworld. I'm also told there's plenty of juicy reporting — from both men — on the Clinton side.

Will Heilemann do the book on his own or not? I'm told it's TBD. He's made clear publicly that he wants the reporting to see the light of day; but untangling his business partnership with Halperin is complicated.

So it's literally a multi-million dollar question: What happens to this treasure trove?

Editor's Note: Get more stories like this by signing up for our weekly political lookahead newsletter, Axios Sneak Peek.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Saudi dissident claims MBS said he could get "poison ring" to kill king

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attending the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, via video link, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Photo: Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A former senior Saudi intelligence official who worked with the U.S. on counterterrorism alleged to "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed in 2014 killing the kingdom's then-monarch.

Why it matters: The claim by the exiled Saad al-Jabri, whom Saudi authorities describe as "a discredited former government official," that the crown prince, known as "MBS," allegedly said he could obtain a "ring from Russia" to carry out the attack, is one of several serious but unproven allegations he made on the CBS show.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.