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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

Biden administration unveils plan to combat domestic extremism

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced at a briefing on Friday that the Biden administration will roll out a three-pronged interagency plan to assess and combat the threat posed by domestic violent extremism.

Why it matters: The federal government's approach to domestic extremism has come under scrutiny in the wake of the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. In his inaugural address, Biden repudiated political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism, vowing to defeat them.

37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

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