Dec 14, 2018

Scoop: Trump meets Chris Christie to discuss chief of staff job

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump met with Chris Christie last evening and considers him a top contender to replace John Kelly as chief of staff, a source familiar with the president’s thinking tells Axios.

Behind the scenes: Trump has met with a couple of others, but the way he’s discussed Christie to confidants makes them think he’s serious. Christie is "tough; he’s an attorney; he’s politically-savvy, and one of Trump’s early supporters,” the source said. The former New Jersey governor's legal background may also come in handy next year.

Between the lines: Christie is used to being a principal, and it’s unclear how he would handle playing second fiddle. Also, he is not a friend of the Kushners. (As U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Christie sent Jared’s father to prison.)

Also spotted at the White House yesterday ... another contender for chief of staff: David Bossie, Trump's 2016 deputy campaign manager.

P.S. "President Trump's hunt for a new chief of staff has taken on the feel of a reality TV show," the AP reports.

  • Author Chris Whipple, an expert on chiefs of staff, called the search process "sad to watch."

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Why it matters: Snapchat is taking action on the president's account for comments he made elsewhere. That's going farther than other big tech firms and signals a commitment to aligning content served to users with core values, rather than making moderation decisions based narrowly on each post made on its own platform.

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Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

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Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Wednesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Chinese coronavirus test maker agreed to build a Xinjiang gene bank

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A leading Chinese gene sequencing and biomedical firm that said it would build a gene bank in Xinjiang is supplying coronavirus tests around the world.

Why it matters: U.S. officials are worried that widespread coronavirus testing may provide an opportunity for state-connected companies to compile massive DNA databases for research as well as genetics-based surveillance.