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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A Trump campaign tale that never made it into the papers... Jason Miller was excited. The legendary college basketball coach Bobby Knight was visiting Trump Tower and the campaign's senior communications adviser thought it would be a great opportunity to get Knight in front of the beleaguered Trump team for one of Knight's inspirational halftime talks.

Behind the scenes: About 30 Trump communications staff and volunteers were gathered in the war room. Cable news blared on eight TVs that never switched off. Miller came out of his office to give the team a rare "ra ra speech," a "let's go get 'em speech... let's fight hard today and here's what we're pushing," according to two sources who were in the room for the occasion.

"Jason says, 'We've got Coach Knight here, the legendary Coach Knight. Coach, why don't you say a few words to the team here'," one of the sources recalled.

"Sure, sure. Happy to, Jason," Knight replied, in the recollection of the source. "You know, I love Donald Trump. He's a great man. He's gonna be a great president. I'm confident that he's gonna win.

  • "But really the one thing, the one thing I just can't understand is... Well, he's just got to stop talking about this f---ing wall."

Knight kept going, attacking the centerpiece of the Trump campaign, as Miller stood by agog and staff tried to suppress their laughter.

"I go everywhere," Knight said, "all over the country. And people tell me 'Donald Trump is awesome but I don't understand the wall.'"

  • "I'm telling you," Knight continued, "people don't understand the wall and you've got to stop talking about the wall. Trump's gonna win. But you've got to stop talking about the wall.
  • "So go get 'em guys."

Miller appeared befuddled. "Jason was like, 'Uh, thanks for that coach. Alright everybody, let's get back to work'," the source recalled. Then everybody returned to their desks for another day in an office that often resembled The Office.

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.

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