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In the Oval Office. Photo: Oliver Contreras / Pool via Getty Images

Out tomorrow from Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter, "The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game." And one anecdote from the book showcases Melania's power in the Trump household.

The setup: The book features a tale involving Anthony Senecal, Trump’s longtime butler at Mar-a-Lago, who opened the door of the estate one Saturday to find Martha Stewart standing there...

  • “She had bicycled over to the club, and she asked if she could take a tour ... Senecal asked her to return the next day at 3 p.m."
  • After being told of the arrangement, 'Trump lit into the butler, screaming at him and calling him a ‘dumb ass’ for scheduling the tour at 3 p.m. when workers would be shifting furniture around."
  • “Trump yelled that Senecal instead should have scheduled the tour for lunchtime, when well-heeled club members would be on hand to impress and be impressed."
  • Melania entered and said: “I don’t think you should talk to Tony in that tone."
  • Senecal said that the next morning Trump, without explanation, handed him $2,000 in twenties: “It was his way of apologizing.... Melania rules the roost."

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 11 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.”