☕️ Good Wednesday morning. Voting for Senate leaders scheduled for 9:30 a.m., and House GOP leaders at 1 p.m., per AP.
For AMers in Columbus, Ohio: I'll be in town tomorrow morning, and I hope you'll join me at The King Arts Complex for a breakfast conversation about the future of work.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
When John Kelly publicly announced this summer that President Trump had asked him to stay on as White House chief of staff until 2020, the most common reactions in Trump's inner circle were bemusement and, in some cases, laughter — no one thought it was real. And they were right, Jonathan Swan reports:
The case for Ayers, according to his boosters: He has sharp political instincts and business acumen — and that's what some believe Trump needs in his chief job heading into the 2020 presidential election.
At the White House’s election night gathering, Trump huddled with Ayers over to the side of the room towards the end of the evening, according to a source who was there.
The other official who was considered a main contender for the chief job, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, appears to be out of consideration.
The bottom line: We still don't know when, or even if, Kelly is getting replaced. That's why Axios hasn't written a single story saying he's gone.
Go deeper: Swan's dispatch on two other brewing changes.
U.S. national security is in greater peril "than at any time in decades," according to a new report from national security experts tasked by Congress with reviewing American national defense, Axios World editor Dave Lawler reports.
As U.S. superiority fades, the authors write, the likelihood of war rises:
Between the lines: Ambassador Eric Edelman, a co-chair of the commission, tells former acting CIA director Michael Morell, on his "Intelligence Matters" podcast from CBS News, that many of these warnings have been issued before: “[W]e had to wrestle with ... the consequences of all those warnings having been ignored.”
Eight days after election night, Democrats are still holding out hope they can flip several seats from the House, Senate and gubernatorial races with margins of tenths of a percentage point between the winners and the losers, Axios' Chris Canipe and Marisa Fernandez report.
Nine House seats, two governorships and one Senate seat are still up for grabs.
Infrared satellite imagery of Malibu after the Woolsey fire made it all the way to the ocean:
Above: Linda Rawlings, a wildfire evacuee, sits outside a hotel in Corning, Calif., after finding out that her home in Magalia is gone.
Below: A message is left at The Neighborhood Church in Chico, Calif.
"At $61,000 Per Amazon Job, New York Pays Twice What Virginia Does," per Bloomberg News:
P.S. ... "Amazon's furious expansion is inviting increasing political scrutiny," the WashPost's Jonathan O'Connell and Rachel Siegel report.
How it's playing: L.A. Times front page, "Amazon snubs L.A., and some are relieved."
Legal experts say CNN is likely to win the lawsuit it filed yesterday against the Trump administration for removing chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Legal experts are mostly in agreement that the law is on CNN's side.
CNN says it has grounds to sue the administration based on three legal principles that stem from the Bill of Rights and other U.S. laws that have been tested in the courts.:
What's next? The case has been assigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Trump last year.
Be smart: While many legal precedents have been set around these issues, this lawsuit is unique in targeting a sitting president and his staff.
"Shortly after 9/11, the CIA considered using a drug it thought might work like a truth serum and force terror suspects to give up information about potential attacks," AP's Deb Riechmann reports:
Why it matters: "The 90-page CIA report ... is a window into the internal struggle that medical personnel working in the agency's detention and harsh interrogation program faced in reconciling their professional ethics with the chance to save lives by preventing future attacks."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The unlikely bond between President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron — once dubbed "Le Bromance" by the N.Y. Times — appears to have taken a turn for the worse following Trump's weekend visit to France, Axios' Zach Basu and Dave Lawler report.
Between the lines: Macron was elected on a promise to, essentially, "make France great again," says Erik Brattberg of the Carnegie Endowment — more specifically, to make the country matter on the world stage. For a time, it seemed the way to do that was to develop influence with Trump. Now, given Trump's hardheaded approach and immense unpopularity in Europe, Macron may calculate that his best bet is to stand against him.
Sony Pictures has given Axios AM readers a first look at a new preview of "The Front Runner," the film about the sex scandal that ended Gary Hart's political career. (Opens nationwide Nov. 21; in N.Y., LA., D.C. now).
Here are the Miami Herald reporters confronting Hart (Hugh Jackman) at his townhouse in May 1987, after Donna Rice appeared to have spent the night there.