Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

President Trump with Maryanne Trump Barry in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1990. Photo: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday sought to downplay comments made by his sister Maryanne Trump Barry in audio leaked to the Washington Post that he has "no principles," is prone to "lying" and "you can’t trust him."

Why it matters: Maryanne Trump Barry has never publicly criticized the president on his policies. But, according to 15 hours of secretive recordings made by their niece Mary Trump, the retired federal judge said of his immigration policies in 2018: "It's the phoniness of it all. It's the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel."

  • The latest controversy comes before next week's Republican National Convention, where Trump is to formally accept his party's nomination to run for a second term.

What he's saying: When asked for comment on the revelations, President Trump said in a statement to Axios: "Every day it's something else, who cares."

  • He added that he missed his late brother Robert Trump, for whom a funeral procession was held Friday afternoon at the White House.
  • "I’ll continue to work hard for the American people," Trump added. "Not everyone agrees, but the results are obvious. Our country will soon be stronger than ever before."

Context: Per WashPost, Mary Trump Barry made the comments to their niece, who wrote a best-selling tell-all book on her uncle, after he joked to Fox News in 2018: "Maybe I'll have to put her at the border" amid a shortage of judges.

"His goddamned tweet and the lying, oh my God. I'm talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy s---. But he's appealing to the base. What they're doing to the kids at the border, I mean."
— Excerpt from audio recording of Mary Trump Barry

What they're saying: Mary Trump's spokesperson Chris Bastardi said in a statement to Axios that the author made the recording after she "realized members of her family had lied in prior depositions." "Anticipating litigation, she felt it prudent to tape conversations in order to protect herself," Bastardi continued.

  • "She never expected to learn much of what she heard, including the president’s sister, Federal Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, state that Donald Trump had paid someone to take an SAT exam for him.
"Those with questions about who Joe Shapiro is, why the president chose him to take his SAT, and why such behavior was constantly rewarded should contact Judge Trump Barry and President Trump.
"Several prominent individuals are currently facing prison sentences for taking unethical steps to get their children into college. All while the President of the United States paid someone else take his SATs."
— Bastardi

Of note: The audio leak comes after a California judge's decision earlier this week was posted online Friday ordering Trump to pay Stormy Daniels $44,100, to cover legal fees over her $130,000 nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with the president, reached with his former attorney Michael Cohen.

  • Trump denies having an affair with the adult film actor, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and her lawsuit was dismissed. But the judge found she's the "prevailing party" in the case despite this as Trump had reimbursed Cohen and his lawyers had argued that an NDA arbiter should handle her defamation suit.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details from the audio recording and of the judge's decision in the Clifford case.

Go deeper

Chris Christie: Trump's legal challenges against election results have been "a national embarrassment"

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday denounced a lack of evidence in President Trump's legal challenges against election results as "a national embarrassment," emphasizing that Trump has had his chance to prove allegations of widespread voter fraud in court.

The big picture: Despite the president's legal challenges in various states gaining little to no ground, only a handful of congressional Republicans have acknowledged Biden as president-elect.

Updated Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign asks Georgia for another election recount

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Georgia will conduct another presidential election results recount following a Trump campaign request on Saturday.

Why it matters: State election officials and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Friday certified Georgia's election results that show President-elect Joe Biden officially won the state by just over 12,600 votes.

Updated Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey: Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options

Sen. Pat Toomey during a Senate hearing in May. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his election win, saying in a statement, "President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania."

Why it matters: Toomey made the announcement hours after a Republican judge in his home state dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit that sought to block the certification of Pennsylvania's election results.