President Trump issued an eleventh-hour pardon to his former chief strategist Steve Bannon on Tuesday night, sparing a longtime ally from a federal fraud prosecution over his alleged misappropriation of nonprofit funds.
Why it matters: Bannon was the most high-profile name on a White House list of dozens pardons and commutations, with hours remaining in Trump's presidency. His pardon of the former Breitbart News chief came as Bannon faced criminal charges stemming from a scheme to privately finance a southern border wall.
President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.
Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."
Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.
Donald Trump has one day left in the White House. TikTok has a lot longer left in the app stores, despite still being owned by China's ByteDance.
Why it matters: Trump's failure to force divestiture or eviction was more than just a blunder, or source of schadenfreude for the TikTok users who bedeviled his reelection campaign's event planners. It was part of a "talk loudly and carry a small stick" economic policy toward China that Joe Biden will inherit.
More Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were filed during the past four years than at any time in American history, per the FOIA Project, a non-profit project that gathers comprehensive information on federal FOIA decisions.
By the numbers: During the Trump administration, the media filed a total of 386 FOIA cases. That's more than all of the FOIA cases filed by the media during the 16 years of the Bush and Obama administrations combined.
President Trump is inviting supporters to a sendoff ceremony at Joint Base Andrews tomorrow before he flies to Florida ahead of President-elect Biden's inauguration.
Details: Invitees may bring "up to five guests," and must show up by 7:15 a.m. Trump requested a military-style sendoff, with a band and possibly a flyover.
Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham announced his resignation on Monday, ending his term nearly a year before it ends.
Why it matters: Dillingham's resignation comes a week after multiple employee whistleblowers told the bureau's internal watchdog that they were under pressure to gather and publish rushed data on documented and undocumented immigrants.
In part one of How It Happened: Trump's Last Stand, Axios political correspondent Jonathan Swan draws a direct line from President Trump's election night speech, in which he falsely declared victory, to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
But, but, but: The story really starts in early October, as Trump is recovering from COVID-19 and struggling to turn around a flailing campaign.
Go deeper: New episodes come out Mondays, beginning January 18.
Credits: This show is produced by Amy Pedulla, Naomi Shavin and Alice Wilder. Dan Bobkoff is the executive producer. Additional reporting and fact-checking by Zach Basu. Margaret Talev is managing editor of politics. Sara Kehaulani Goo is Axios’s executive editor. Sound design by Alex Sugiura and theme music by Michael Hanf.
Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.
Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.
In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.
A New Mexico County commissioner who founded the "Cowboys for Trump" group was arrested and charged Sunday in connection with the U.S. Capitol insurrection, after returning to Washington, D.C., to participate in inauguration protests, the Justice Department said.
What they're saying: Couy Griffin, of Otero County, N.M., told FBI agents he got "caught up" in the Capitol siege and remained outside the building, but video posted to his Facebook page shows him in restricted areas of the complex, according to an affidavit.