Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press via AP

In private, sources inside the White House aren't even pretending it's ok.

  • They know the Donald Trump Jr. emails that led to his Russia meeting are a terrible story, and mostly they're scrambling to find ways to deflect it and to turn this back against Hillary Clinton or the media.
  • One line that's been thrown around internally is that this is just normal campaign opposition research, the kind that gets thrown around in a dirty hard campaign, especially one against the Clintons (Don Jr. has already used this line.)
  • It's unclear, though, whether the White House or the legal team surrounding it — which has followed a Hannity-first comms strategy, ignoring mainstream media and preaching entirely to the base — have any good ideas to get out of this pickle.

Go deeper

SurveyMonkey poll: Trump improves, but not enough

Trump and Biden during the final debate. Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."

Hunter Biden saga dominates online debate

Data: NewsWhip; Table: Axios Visuals

The mainstream media turned away. But online, President Trump's charges about Hunter Biden were by far the dominant storyline about the final presidential debate, according to exclusive NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

  • Coverage of business dealings by Joe Biden's son — and pre-debate allegations by one of his former business associates, Tony Bobulinski — garnered more than twice as much online activity (likes, comments, shares) as the runner-up.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

America's poor health is jeopardizing its future

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

From high levels of obesity and opioid addiction to inequities in access to care, America's pre-existing conditions make the country an easy target for COVID-19, as well as future pandemics that could cripple the United States for decades to come.

Why it matters: One of the best ways the country could prepare for future threats — and boost its economy — is to improve Americans' overall health.