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Hope Hicks in the Oval Office. Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

No decision has been made on Hope Hicks' replacement as White House communications director, but here are some people who could be in the mix, according to my conversations with the inner circle:

  • Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, if she wanted the job, could step behind the scenes.
  • Heather Nauert, a former Fox anchor and correspondent who is the State Department spokesperson, is very well-liked in the White House, and people believe she'd do a great job as press secretary (not comms director.) A White House official said: "With all the stink attached to the State Department, she's one person who all the Trump people know is a Trump person."
  • Mercedes Schlapp, now the White House director of strategic communications, is a veteran of the George W. Bush administration and has been involved in long-range communications planning.
  • Tony Sayegh, now Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, is well-liked inside the White House and was seen as doing a great job leading the tax reform communications. He has managed to keep close relationships with both Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn.
  • Jason Miller — a top official on the campaign and transition, and now a managing director in Teneo's Washington office — may come back inside. Trump loves "my Jas" and would like to have him back. In the ever-changing fault lines of Trumpworld, Jason has managed to maintain good relationships across them all.
  • Wild card: Chief of Staff John Kelly could flex his muscles and bring in one of his aides when he headed Homeland Security. Jonathan Hoffman is well-respected but is not known to the president. Kelly could also look outside of the administration, and is known to like people who have government experience.

Get more stories like this by signing up for our weekly political lookahead newsletter, Axios Sneak Peek. 

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — 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.
  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.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”