🇨🇭 Good Friday morning from the Swiss Alps. What President Trump will tell the World Economic Forum in Davos at 8 a.m. ET: The speech, an America-first pitch laced with niceties and a bit of bragging, is described to me as "a businessman making a business case for America." The gist: "There's never been a better time to build, invest or hire in America. This is what we've done. We're proud of it. You should come."
It was after 2 a.m. in Davos — with even hardy partiers gone from Salesforce's wild "Aloha Nightcap" at the Cabanna Club — when White House officials and reporters were hit by one of the biggest bombshells of this presidency so far ...
"President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, ... but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive," the N.Y. Times' Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman report:
Be smart ... As we told you Wednesday in our piece about Mueller following Trump like a dark cloud: These actions were taken in office knowing the whole world is watching for a cover-up. It’s the ultimate unforced error — and reason many around Trump fear him testifying.
Trump dismisses ... "Fake news. Fake news. Typical New York Times. Fake stories.”
P.S. CNN's Groundhog Day headline this morning: "TRUMP TRIP OVERSHADOWED BY CONTROVERSY."
Warming up for this morning's Davos address at 8 a.m. ET, President Trump told CNBC "Squawk Box" co-anchor Joe Kernen yesterday "that he would reconsider [his withdrawal from] the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal if the United States could strike a 'substantially better' agreement."
A World Economic Forum official said no Davos attendee had gotten as much attention since Angelina Jolie, when she made the scene with her then-husband Brad Pitt a dozen years ago.
P.S. Trump to CNBC's Joe Kernen: "When I decided to come to Davos, I didn't think in terms of elitist or globalist, I thought in terms of lots people that want to invest lots of money and they're all coming back to the United States, they're coming back to America."
"How shifts in technology and geopolitics are renewing the threat" — Economist cover editorial:
Aleppo, Syria, one year later ... The top photo — Dec. 5, 2016 — shows smoke rising after rebel fighters launch a mortar shell on residential neighborhood in west Aleppo.
Axios' Jonathan Swan emails this take on the White House framework on immigration reform that leaked yesterday, then was released:
Robert Rosner, chairman of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, moves the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight yesterday.
"Some liken Michigan State to Penn State amid abuse scandal," AP reports from Lansing:
Vanity Fair's 24th annual Hollywood Issue ...
The music industry may be close to an agreement on how to pay musicians fairly for their work — just in time for Sunday's Grammys, Axios' Sara Fischer writes:
Thanks for reading. See you all day in the Axios stream ...