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Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

If you were gobsmacked watching Rudy Giuliani’s media tour this week — which he launched on Fox News' Hannity by announcing that Trump reimbursed lawyer Michael Cohen for a hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels — you weren't alone.

What we're hearing: A White House official told me there were "a couple of Mooch references" in the West Wing last week, as Giuliani’s performance recalled Anthony Scaramucci's frenzied 11-day stint last summer as White House communications director.

  • If the Giuliani circus continues unabated — with him taking media calls day and night and freelancing on legal and policy matters — White House staff will likely quit, a well-placed source tells me.
  • When Giuliani began opining about U.S. hostages held in North Korea, senior staff were irritated and perplexed.
  • And West Wingers raised their eyebrows when he took a gratuitous shot at Jared Kushner, describing the president's son-in-law as "disposable."
  • Meanwhile: Trump has been growing increasingly frustrated that his legal team wasn’t "fighting back" against Special Counsel Bob Mueller, according to sources familiar with the president's thinking.

Rudy's latest: Giuliani continued his media blitz over the weekend, proclaiming that the president supports regime change in Iran at a Saturday event, telling Fox News' Judge Jeanine Pirro on Saturday evening that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should end the Mueller probe, and telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday's "This Week" that he can't be confident Trump will plead the Fifth if subpoenaed by Mueller.

The bottom line: Giuliani's been so sloppy that he's had to revise his statements multiple times. From a PR standpoint, it's been a mess.

  • Trump's public undermining of Giuliani on Friday — telling reporters his newest lawyer wasn't fully up to speed and would "get his facts straight" — came as a relief to many in the White House.

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.