Good Friday morning: A week from today, it'll be inauguration morning. Enjoy the last weekend of the Obama era. Thanks for making this a great beta week for Axios AM: Keep your leaks and suggestions coming. And make sure your friends and colleagues join the breakfast conversation: Get them to sign up at this one-click link.
Look for lots of Trump v. Republican action in the weeks ahead. Three things you should know:
Don't believe what you read elsewhere. I'm told that Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO chosen as Trump's Secretary of State, was absolutely reflecting the boss views when he made confrontational remarks about Beijing's behavior in the South China Sea at Wednesday's hearing: "You're going to have to send China a clear signal that first the island building stops, and second your access to those islands is also not going to be allowed."
Some reporter nerds who have been following the confirmation hearings too closely for our own health were trading examples of this at Martin's in Georgetown last night. You snooze, you lose: During that very dinner, the N.Y. Times, WashPost and Wall Street Journal were all posting front-pagers pulling together nominees who have been taking positions that are slightly or notably different than Trump's.
David Ignatius broke some news last night in his WashPost column, "Four burning questions on Russia": "According to a senior U.S. government official, [retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who'll be Trump's national security adviser] phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking."
Jim Rutenberg argues in his NYT "Mediator" column ("Outgunned, Outmaneuvered and in Need of a Game Plan") that reporters need more of a "united front" against kneecappings by the president-elect: "Trump … used his first news briefing since July to expertly delegitimize the news media and make it the story … The news media remains an unwitting accomplice in its own diminishment as it fails to get a handle on how to cover this new and wholly unprecedented president."
New research is out this a.m. that helps explain why voters under 30 leaned less to the left in this election than they did in 2012. (Exit polls show they went 55-37 Clinton-Trump, compared with the 60% who voted to reelect Obama.)
In a priceless metaphor, next week's Davos gathering of global elites will be counter-programming the American inauguration, leading to split-screen images of Donald Trump as the triumphant new president, versus China President Xi Jinping, the first Chinese head of state to attend the World Economic Forum, as the face of globalism.