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Alex Brandon / AP

I just attended a meeting in Reince Priebus' office with Katie Walsh, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. They told a small group of reporters that Walsh was leaving the White House to join the pro-Trump outside group "America First Policies."

In her own words: "It has been the honor of a lifetime to work for President Trump in the transition and in the White House. I am excited for this new opportunity and the ability to continue to fight for the President's agenda to make America great again."

Priebus, Bannon and Kushner all said they needed Walsh on the outside because it became abundantly clear during the healthcare debate that the administration was getting hammered with no air support. They needed an outside group to pressure recalcitrant members and the ads never came.

All three denied that Walsh was fired. Bannon said she had to convince him to let her leave.

Priebus said she'd been a star for them and they needed her to make sure the outside group could be effective. They expressed confidence that the Walsh outside group — she'll be working with former senior campaign aide Brad Parscale and Pence confidant Nick Ayers — would work effectively with the other outside group sponsored by the Mercers.

The Trump administration can't legally coordinate with these groups but Walsh's presence will signal to donors that here's a blessed place to park their cash.

As we left Priebus' office, CNN's Jim Acosta asked a senior administration official to respond to the persistent rumor that Priebus' is the next head to roll. The official emphatically said "he's not next."

Go deeper

53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.