Carolyn Kaster / AP

Top White House and GOP leadership officials tell us the chances of a market-rattling government shutdown are rising by the day — and were even before Trump threatened at his raucous Phoenix rally on Tuesday night to use a shutdown as leverage to get funding for a border wall. Trump is dead serious about this fight, a senior administration source tells us, and the president's talk is starting to spook markets.

  • Goldman Sachs, in guidance to investors last Friday, pegged the odds at 50/50. This strikes us as high, but the dynamics are ominous:
  • A top Republican source put the chance as high as 75%: "The peculiar part is that almost everyone I talk to on the Hill agrees that it is more likely than not."
  • This may all come down to Trump's mood: The president is spoiling for a fight and the [conservative House] Freedom Caucus haven't had a fight for a while. That's a dangerous dynamic.

Based on funding mechanisms, the showdown could come either in September or December — or both:

  • Officials at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue who are up to their necks in tax reform think passage probably doesn't happen until early next year.
  • So a September shutdown could be better for tax reform than a Christmas shutdown, because it would allow conservatives and Trump to get it out of their system.

Democrats feel certain they have Trump boxed in, and see no reason to compromise/help:

  • Trump is at war with Senate Leader McConnell and several other Republicans, complicating communications and compromising trust.
  • Congressional leadership doesn't want a shutdown and can pass the fall bare necessities — continuing resolution / debt ceiling / Children's Health Insurance Program extension — using mostly Democratic votes.
  • But the Freedom Caucus will hammer Speaker Ryan for doing so, and conservatives in the Senate will hammer Leader McConnell.

Be smart: With the departure of Steve Bannon, Trump is surrounded more and more by conventional/mainstream folks, which could actually make him feel more compelled to buck them.

Go deeper

Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.