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Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

Yesterday was crazy. The rumor mill was in overdrive with reports that President Trump could replace as many as four senior administration officials, including a Scott-Pruitt-for-Jeff-Sessions switcheroo at Justice.

What we're hearing: All this was news to the small band of aides traveling with the president in Missouri.

  • Yes, Trump is irritated by a fairly long list of people. And, yes, those people include John Kelly, H.R. McMaster, Jeff Sessions and, now, the troubled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.
  • But if Trump has settled on a concrete plan to replace any of them, it’s news to his closest advisers.

We can tell you that Trump has been putting on a heck of an act privately in the past two days, if he really does have all these elaborate plans that are being attributed to him.

  • Here’s all we really know: Trump is in the mood for change, and there’s a long list of people he’s been fed up with for a while.
  • That’s it. As far as when they might go, and who might replace them, serious people are in the dark. Trump floats ideas all the time, and often nothing comes of them.

Bottom line: The reason this White House is so bad at tamping down speculation is because the guy in the Oval Office quite likes all the gossip and is constantly floating ideas.

  • Most are dead on arrival. But he keeps them alive in the rumor-sphere with his own constant, unguarded ramblings.
  • And the people he talks to do not feel compelled to keep any of this to themselves — because they know Trump doesn’t care.
  • In Trumpworld, there’s no such thing as a secret — or prior planning. 

P.S. Trump just tweeted: "Larry Kudlow will be my Chief Economic Advisor as Director of the National Economic Council. Our Country will have many years of Great Economic & Financial Success, with low taxes, unparalleled innovation, fair trade and an ever expanding labor force leading the way! #MAGA"

Larry Kudlow's "Trumpian" moment ... He tells CNBC how he found out yesterday that his appointment as Gary Cohn's successor had been confirmed by the White House:

  • "The president called and he said: 'It's out. ... You're on the air. ... I'm looking at a picture of you. ... Very handsome!"

Go deeper

16 mins ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.

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