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A source who spoke to Trump last week told me he left the conversation concerned that the president "actually believes" Ty Cobb's "happy talk." What the source meant was that the White House lawyer has been naive in his view that the Mueller investigation — as it relates to the White House — will be wrapped by end of year or shortly after.

I emailed Cobb today to ask whether he still believed his previous public statements that the White House would be free of the investigation by the end of this year or January. (He'd originally said before Thanksgiving.)

  • Cobb's reply: "Yes Jonathan, still believe shortly after the first of the year absent some unforeseen delay. People keep confusing that estimate with the Manafort/Flynn silos which will certainly continue to be active. My August estimate of when interviews would be completed was less than two weeks off, and that was despite the China trip which cost us 2 weeks, and half a dozen international crises."

I told Cobb I still didn't understand what he meant. Was he saying Mueller has 100% completed all interviews with White House staff? And if the Manafort and Flynn "silos" continue to be active, couldn't they potentially implicate people who currently work in the White House?

  • Cobb replied again: "I am saying the interviews will be completed by the end of next week which I have said often and which has been quoted by 50 news outlets over the last month or more (with the caveat and understanding illness, Acts of God or logistical factors could add 24 to 48 hours). The Manafort inquiry has nothing to do with the White House as the indictment itself and the related public acknowledgement of Manafort's lawyer, make plain. And, we do not anticipate the long awaited Flynn indictment will delay the Special Counsel's conclusion of the inquiry into the White House. Just no there there."

Go deeper

Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 10 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.

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