CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.
Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow criticized President Trump’s response to last week's U.S. Capitol siege and his treatment of Vice President Mike Pence in the aftermath of the 2020 election, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
The big picture: Trump has lost support from a number of top aides and allies since a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, resulting in five deaths. Kudlow is the latest to publicly speak out against the president.
John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.
Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.
Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.
Democrats are in a dilemma of their own making, and now they want incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to wrap up President Trump's impeachment trial as fast as possible, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.
Why it matters: The party wanted to hold the president accountable for helping incite last week's Capitol attack but the actual mechanism for doing so — a Senate trial — is a balky tool that will inhibit President-elect Joe Biden from launching his effort to heal the country and its economy.
Here’s your guide to President Trump’s second impeachment trial. Remember, his first began almost exactly a year ago, on Jan. 16, 2020.
The state of play: Assuming the House sends the article of impeachment to the Senate on or before Jan. 19 (the day the Senate returns from recess):
Last week's assault on the Capitol felt personal to Black Americans, who found the violence similar to what they experienced during the civil rights riots of the 1960s, Rep. James Clyburn told Axios.
Why it matters: Clyburn said the pitched assault by President Trump's supporters, some of whom have ties to white supremacist movements, has prompted an important question for him and many African Americans: "Are we getting ready to repeat some history that we thought we'd successfully gotten behind us?"
Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) says that while he has "backed [President Trump] through thick and thin," he voted in favor of impeaching Trump on Wednesday because "this utter failure is inexcusable," per a statement released on Wednesday.
Why it matters: Rice is a prolific supporter of Trump's and turned heads by joining nine Republicans in voting to impeach the president for "incitement of insurrection." Rice noted that one week after the Capitol attacks "the President has not addressed the nation to ask for calm. He has not visited the injured and grieving. He has not offered condolences."
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) responded to Wednesday's House passage of a single article of impeachment against President Trump, calling the action "appropriate" in a statement, and adding that she would "consider the arguments of both sides" in the Senate trial.
What she's saying: Though she did not say how she will vote, she noted that "President Trump's words incited violence, which led to the injury and deaths of Americans ... the desecration of the Capitol, and briefly interfered with the government's ability to ensure a peaceful transfer of power."
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions underestimated how complicated the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy would be, and did not fully understand the legal requirements to care for children separated from their families, according to a report released Thursday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Why it matters: At least 545 parents separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border under the now-reversed policy could not be located as of October.