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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Kentucky event on Friday that a coronavirus stimulus deal is "unlikely in the next three weeks," per the Washington Post's Erica Werner.

Our thought bubble: Two sources close to Senate leadership said President Trump is desperate, has zero leverage to push them to support a bill crafted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Republicans aren’t inclined to wrap themselves any tighter to a sinking ship.

What they're saying: "You’re never going to get a deal out of Pelosi that Republicans can support. So do you really want to divide your party within days of an election?" said a source close to Senate leadership about McConnell's calculations.

  • "This entire exercise from Pelosi is basically trying to jam up the Senate in the midst of a Supreme Court confirmation. They know that from a procedural standpoint McConnell can drive this train to conclusion, so what they’re trying do is throw as many roadblocks in the way as possible — and the best way to do that is get the president focused on some extraneous issue."
  • "Pelosi’s out there doing 25th Amendment s--t today. Does this sound like a lady who wants a deal? There’s no way McConnell takes his eye off the ball. Republicans are intently focused on the Supreme Court."

The state of play: White House communications director Alyssa Farah said later on Friday that Trump was willing to come up on on the White House's previous offer of a $1.6 trillion stimulus package. She pointed to a $1.8 trillion offer that she said was being made by Mnuchin.

  • If offered, the $1.8 trillion figure would still be below the $2.2 trillion bill passed in the House last week. Farah added that the Trump administration wants to "stay below 2 trillion."
  • Senate Republicans, including McConnell, have largely been left out of the recent negotiating process between congressional Democrats and the White House.
  • Even if Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were to strike a deal — and that's a big if — there is little chance the Senate GOP would get on board with it.
  • Complicating matters, Senate Republicans remain far apart on what they want as a conference. They also view Trump and Mnuchin as far more willing to give more to Pelosi than what they're comfortable with — both numbers-wise and on policy.

The bottom line: McConnell doesn’t want to do anything to interrupt the only visible Republican win before the election in his chamber — the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

President Trump was almost shouting. He directed his son-in-law and his senior strategist from his private quarters at the White House late on election night. He barked out the names of top Fox News executives and talent he expected to answer to him.

Biden threatens new sanctions against Ethiopian officials over Tigray conflict

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden on Friday signed an executive order allowing the Treasury and State Departments to impose sanctions against Ethiopian officials "responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict" in the Tigray region.

Driving the news: Hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions in Tigray, but less than 10 percent of the needed humanitarian supplies has reached the region over the last month "due to the obstruction of aid access" by the Ethiopian government, according to Biden administration officials.

Top general: Calls to China were "perfectly within the duties" of job

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Associated Press on Friday that calls with his Chinese counterpart during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency were "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his job.

Why it matters: In his first public comments on the calls that have prompted critics to question whether the general went too far, Milley maintained that such conversations are "routine," per AP.