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President Trump leaves the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room after making a statement on Iran in October. Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Behind the scenes, President Trump has told a number of people he believes his current national security team has been out of whack with his own thinking and was slow to give him the options that he wanted.

The big example: Iran.

  • Trump blew up at his national security team last year because he thought they were boxing him in and trying to prevent him from following through on his instinct to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
  • Bolton, from outside of the White House, endeared himself to Trump last August by writing his own memo titled "How to Get Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal."
  • Bolton told associates that the purpose of the Iran memo was to show that options on withdrawal from Obama's nuclear deal were possible — and that Trump's team weren't giving him those options.
  • Much has changed inside the Trump administration since those early days when Trump's national security team — and Tillerson in particular — so enraged the president. This piece from WaPo's Josh Rogin — forecasting what comes next on the Iran deal and taking you inside the internal planning — is worthy of your time.

Bottom line: As national security adviser, Bolton will make sure he provides "the range of options not only that are being recommended by people on NSC, but the options that exist in the real world," according to a source familiar with Bolton's thinking. "Even if nobody supports them, so that the president can see what's out there."

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”