Jul 26, 2017

Jeff Sessions won't take Trump's hint

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Attorney General Jeff Sessions doesn't plan to take the hint. President Trump continues hitting him in all body parts — apparently hoping he'll resign, which could pave the way for firing special counsel Bob Mueller.

  • But Sessions allies tell us he won't quit, and will have to be fired: This is his life's work and dream job. (Yesterday, he took on sanctuary cities.)
  • And in Trumptown, you can be down now, but back in favor after you endure a little humiliation. Ask Steve Bannon.
  • Hard to see Sessions coming back from this, though. Trump said yesterday in a Wall Street Journal interview: "I'm very disappointed in Jeff Sessions."

At a Rose Garden press conference yesterday, Trump said: "I am disappointed in the Attorney General. He should not have recused himself [from the Russia probe] almost immediately after he took office. And if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have, quite simply, picked somebody else. So I think that's a bad thing not for the President, but for the presidency. I think it's unfair to the presidency. And that's the way I feel."

Be smart: In this showdown, there's the potential for grave collateral damage to Trump. Many establishment/pragmatic Republicans, including lawmakers and administration officials and aides, "got there" on Trump not because they were wild about the man, but out of respect for the office (and self-interest, of course).

But one Hill alumnus told me that with his torture of Sessions, Trump seems to be demanding personal loyalty: "He's saying, 'I don't want the loyal Republican. I want the loyal Trumpite.'" That could trigger a disconnect that, in yet another echo of Nixon, would undermine the president's Washington support.

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and a supporter of stricter immigration policies like those championed by Sessions: "If an early supporter like this is thrown under the bus, then who is safe? You can imagine what the other Cabinet secretaries are thinking."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,202,236 — Total deaths: 64,703 — Total recoveries: 246,198Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 311,301 — Total deaths: 8,476 — Total recoveries: 14,694Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1.2 million

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 and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The number of novel coronavirus cases surpassed 1.2 million worldwide Saturday night, as Spain overtook Italy as the country with the most infections outside the U.S. The global death toll has surpassed 64,700, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: The United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II will speak in a televised address on the coronavirus Sunday of the "disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all," per the BBC. The U.K. death toll rose 708 to 4,313 on Saturday — the fourth highest in the world.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 30 mins ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,400

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the coronavirus surpassed 8,400 in the U.S. on Saturday, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day for the past four days, since April 1.

The big picture: President Trump said Saturday America's is facing its "toughest week, between this week and next week." Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the U.S. should expect to see deaths continue to rise in this period.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health