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Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Some top remaining administration officials are preparing to resist any unlawful or dangerous orders in the closing days of Trump's presidency, senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the sensitive conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: After Trump incited protesters to storm the Capitol on Wednesday, there's a near universal view among top officials that he is unfit and unhinged, these sources said.

  • Recently departed Attorney General Bill Barr said as much on the record Thursday.

What we're hearing: While several senior officials have already resigned in disgust since the riots, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Deputy National Security adviser Matt Pottinger, there has been a heavy behind-the-scenes push to urge other top national security officials to stay on as a bulwark against emboldened U.S. enemies.

  • Multiple Cabinet officials and senators from both parties, including senior Senate Republicans, have privately urged National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to stay in their jobs for the sake of the nation's security and continuity of government.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also intends to stay on, according to a source briefed on his thinking.
  • Two senior national security officials told Axios that they and their colleagues at the top level of government have decided to defy any requests they believe would put the nation at risk or break the law. They plan to force Trump to fire them.

Between the lines: Some senior officials at the State Department and other agencies privately discussed the need to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. That idea is going nowhere.

  • Many view it as bad for the country and technically unworkable in such a short period of time.
  • Senior officials described an awkward and troubling alternative — the reality that they are staying away from the West Wing, avoiding Trump, and hoping to white-knuckle their way to Jan. 20 without having to engage much with him.
  • Yesterday, Pence directly urged the Pentagon to hurry the deployment of the National Guard to the Capitol.

What's next: Both Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have publicly signaled that Congress may push to impeach Trump a second time if his Cabinet does not invoke the 25th Amendment.

Go deeper

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde defends comparison of Jan. 6 riot to "tourists"

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) departs a press conference on June 14. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Andrew Clyde defended comments made during a House committee hearing in which he compared the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot to a "normal visit."

Why it matters: The Georgia Republican has routinely tried to downplay the events of Jan. 6, calling the mob of Trump supporters who breached the Capitol "tourists" and voting against awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to officers.

24 mins ago - Health

England lifts quarantine requirement for vaccinated EU, U.S. citizens

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Biden at the G7 in Cornwall last month. Photo: Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Fully vaccinated travelers from the European Union and the U.S. will no longer need to quarantine when arriving in England, effective Aug. 2 at 4 a.m. local time, the U.K. government announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's a reflection of the British government's confidence in its highly successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout, despite the spread of the Delta variant. The move stands in stark contrast to the Biden administration's continued refusal to lift restrictions for travelers from the U.K. and Europe.

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