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Pro-Trump media is getting harder to ignore

Mike Cernovich. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

Before the tweet left President Trump's fingers, alt-right digital media personality Mike Cernovich had already reported to his 323,000 followers that Reince Priebus was being replaced as chief of staff:

Earlier in the week, Roger Stone, on InfoWars, claimed that John Kelly was under consideration for Priebus's job — two days before the New York Times reported it.

.@infowars Exclusive - @realDonaldTrump considering Homeland Security Sec John Kelly for WH CoS.
— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) July 25, 2017

A week prior, Cernovich reported that Priebus was planting hit pieces on new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

Days later, Scaramucci went on a vulgar rant claiming Priebus was the source of leaks in an interview with the New Yorker.

This isn't a brand new phenomenon either. In April, Cernovich tweeted: "Breaking news! Possible air strikes by the U.S. in Syria tonight" on the evening that Trump ordered missile strikes against the Syrian regime. Earlier in April, he beat Bloomberg to the story that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice requested the identities of Trump associates included in "incidental" intelligence surveillance.

In February, controversial internet personality Chuck Johnson claimed on that White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh was responsible for leaks to the press. Walsh was ousted the following month, and Breitbart reported that the Johnson story triggered her departure.

The flip side: Cernovich spearheaded the 'Pizzagate' conspiracy theory and claimed that Hillary Clinton had Parkinson's. InfoWars founder Alex Jones claimed that 9/11 and the Sandy Hook shooting were inside jobs and that President Obama was the "the global head of Al-Qaeda." Johnson claims that Obama is gay and incorrectly identified the anonymous woman at the center of Rolling Stone's retracted campus rape story.

Why it matters: These publishers now appear to have White House access. The fake stories make it hard to spot the true news, but for others, the true news gives credibility to the misinformation.

Jonathan Swan 6 hours ago
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Bolton bombshell: the clashes to come

John Bolton
John Bolton speaks at CPAC in 2016. Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sources close to President Trump say he feels John Bolton, hurriedly named last night to replace H.R. McMaster as national security adviser, will finally deliver the foreign policy the president wants — particularly on Iran and North Korea.

Why it matters: We can’t overstate how dramatic a change it is for Trump to replace H.R. McMaster with Bolton, who was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush.

Erica Pandey 7 hours ago
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How China became a global power of espionage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

As China’s influence spreads to every corner of the globe under President Xi Jinping, so do its spies.

Why it matters: China has the money and the ambition to build a vast foreign intelligence network, including inside the United States. Meanwhile, American intelligence-gathering on China is falling short, Chris Johnson, a former senior China analyst for the CIA who's now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells Axios: "We have to at least live up to [China's] expectations. And we aren't doing that."