White House staffers sound dejected and deflated. They're not surprised; they're not mad. They just realize that President Trump, self-indulgent and self-destructive, has wound up in a cul-de-sac of his own making.

Their new fear: An erratic Trump — with few friends, and fires all around — will get nothing of consequence done legislatively and roil markets, thus undoing the one consistently good indicator of '17.

  • After folding its other two business groups, the White House on Day 210 threw in the towel on forming a President's Advisory Council on Infrastructure — giving up a key tool for building outside support for the legislative priority with the most prayer of drawing some Democratic support.
  • In the last week, Trump has attacked more Republican senators than Democrats — including the party leader.
  • Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who was a possibility to be Trump's vice president, called for a "radical" White House shakeup, the latest sign of Republicans willing to go to war with their president.
  • Then Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, told Vice News that Trump's "moral authority is compromised": "I'm not going to defend the indefensible."

That's one day. When he's on vacation:

  • CNN's Steve Collinson: "Trump drives his few political friends away."
  • L.A. Times lead story: "Trump puts shrinking base before healing."
  • N.Y. Times, top of col. 1, "Volume Rising In Nativist Talk From President."

On the stock market's worst day since May (Dow off 274 points, or 1.2%), CNBC and Bloomberg TV speculated all day about whether economic adviser Gary Cohn might resign because of Trump's Charlottesville remarks:

  • Swan moved markets when he reported authoritatively that Cohn was staying.
  • The Cohn obsession is a proxy for doubts about Trump. One guru called Cohn "the security blanket for Wall Street … the alpha adult in the room": "There's this fear that if he leaves, there'll be a domino effect."

Sound smart: The markets are so fragile that the mere rumor of a senior staffer leaving rattles confidence and prices.

Go deeper

Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 13,589,273 — Total deaths: 584,990 — Total recoveries — 7,607,033Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 3,499,771 — Total deaths: 137,420 — Total recoveries: 1,075,882 — Total tested: 42,521,027Map.
  3. States: Georgia governor bans local governments from issuing mask mandates — Florida breaks single-day record with over 150 coronavirus deaths
  4. World: U.S., Canada and U.K. accuse Russia of trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research.
  5. Politics: RNC to restrict attendance at Florida convention amid coronavirus surge.
  6. Business: More than 32 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits.

How cities can come back stronger from the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cities ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic have a chance to come back stronger — and more equitable — than they were before, if they're willing to get creative in the way they think about budgeting, public services and infrastructure.

Why it matters: Making smart decisions now can help build more equitable, livable cities that will also be better equipped to weather public health crises. But if local leaders simply default to old habits, they'll entrench inequities that the pandemic has exploited and made worse.

2 hours ago - Health

U.S., Canada and U.K. accuse Russia of trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images

Hackers associated with Russian intelligence services are trying to steal information from researchers involved in coronavirus vaccine development, according to a joint advisory by U.K., U.S. and Canadian authorities published Thursday.

The big picture: This isn't the first time a foreign adversary has been accused of attempting to steal COVID-19-related research. U.S. officials in May announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the U.S. for data on a potential cure or effective treatments to combat the virus.