Alex Brandon / AP

Dems smell blood, but it's not necessarily Jeff Sessions'. The attorney general held his own at his high-stakes Senate hearing, at one point raising his voice to declare he was "not stonewalling," and resented the "secret innuendo being leaked out there about me."

But Democrats tell me that with his dodges, artful and otherwise (L.A. Times lead: "Sessions defends, demurs and deflects"), Sessions left a host of openings — about himself and President Trump — that congressional investigators will pursue. Bob Mueller's prosecutors can be expected to do the same.

The real audience: Jeremy Bash, a lawyer and former Obama national security official, told Brian Williams on MSNBC: "I think Mueller could use a grand jury and overcome this [implied] claim of executive privilege."

  • "[W]hen he was asked, ... '[W]hat did [Trump] say about the rationale for firing Comey,' the attorney general refused to answer. That goes to the heart of the question of whether the president may have obstructed justice."

Between the lines: Matt Miller, an Obama Justice Department official who has become a go-to commentator on the investigation, emailed me: "[N]o immediate public revelation, but a red flag in front of the bull named Bob Mueller. ... If Sessions had a good answer about conversations with Trump about firing Comey, he would've just given it."

  • "Sessions can probably get out of ever giving the answer to a Republican Congress, but my guess is his performance earned him a ticket to a grand jury."
  • Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer: "If you had done nothing wrong, the obvious conclusion is you'd be happy to talk about things."

But, but, but: Jonathan Swan points out that the White House and the RNC war room got what they wanted, with more fodder for attacking Comey's credibility, and we should expect them to use it.

Over on Fox News, Tucker Carlson continued his nightly defense of Sessions with a sarcastic: "It's always possible that a high-level defector will appear ... with documents proving that Jeff Sessions is, in fact, a foreign agent, ... perhaps of a sleeper cell sent to Alabama during the Cold War and activated at Vladimir Putin's request during the last election."

Be smart: Sessions was never the "satellite" Trump insiders fret most.

Go deeper

Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.