Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

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 Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

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

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

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

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!

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After a sterling career — including the Bronze Star for heroism as a Marine in Vietnam, and a decade as FBI director after 9/11 — Robert Mueller's last turn in the global spotlight will be remembered as a botch.

The big picture: There had been whispers in both parties about his faculties at age 74, and they became a roar yesterday as he stumbled through back-to-back appearances before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

Despite the takeaway that Mueller rejected Trump's claim of exoneration, Team Trump savored the former special counsel's halting, faltering performance.

  • Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, part of the president's legal team, texted:
Once again case falls apart. ...
If Mueller didn’t write report, as his disastrous testimony made clear, who did? ...
This is like a Grade B horror movie 🎥 🍿 with Nadler and Schiff the stars. Remember the hand keeps coming up and you have to bat it down 4 or 5 times. It’s getting easier and may become a satirical comedy. ...
Soon it will be The End and credits will appear.

Several people who have been in D.C. for decades, and have watched Mueller testify before Congress on many occasions, told Axios that the Mueller we saw yesterday was far less sharp and impressive than they remember.

Knowing how it might go, Mueller should have refused, despite Dems' insistence. Realistically, they weren't going to lock him up.

  • When Mueller read his farewell statement at the Justice Department on May 29, without taking questions — closing with a warning about "multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election," and saying that "deserves the attention of every American" — he should have let that be his final word.

The big picture: This was 100% political theater and 0% meaningful new substance.

  • Members dominated instead of the witness.
  • The hearings felt like electioneering.
  • Mueller didn't make any major new revelations, instead just nodding when members asked him if what he wrote in his report was correct. 

Go deeper: The 9 big moments from Robert Mueller's House testimony

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — America has tuned out the coronavirus at the peak of its destruction — 1 in 3 people in L.A. County believed to have been infected with coronavirus.
  2. Politics: Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan— Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat — Joe Biden will seek nearly $2 trillion in COVID relief spending.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.