Oct 9, 2017

The Trump staff crisis

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

The biggest threat to the Trump presidency, the markets and our ability to deal with future crises is the coming staff exodus. We cannot stress enough how many essential staff and officials want out — if not this quarter, then soon after the new year:

  • Watch for Gary Cohn to bolt after tax reform, which we think slips into Q1 of 2018.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's situation is untenable: We hear he's likely to leave by the new year. Many insiders think U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will replace him. Then Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell may take Haley's job in New York. Another possible successor in case of a Rexit: CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
  • Chief of Staff John Kelly is the one to watch closest. He doesn't get enough credit for the discipline he has enforced inside the White House. He bristles at the boss's loose, erratic ways, though. The average tenure of a COS who likes his job is roughly a year. A weak chief of staff replacing Kelly would be hugely problematic.

Go deeper

Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.