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From left: Rosenstein, McCabe, Comey, Sessions. Photos: Getty Images

President Trump asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if he was "on my team" during a December meeting at the White House, CNN reports. Rosenstein was visiting Trump for "support in fighting off document demands from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes," per CNN.

Why it matters: It's the fourth report of Trump demanding loyalty from a Justice Department official.

  • Trump summoned then-FBI Director James Comey to the White House for a private dinner in January 2017 and said, per Comey, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty."
  • Trump asked then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe who he voted for in 2016 in an Oval Office meeting that took place shortly after Comey was fired, and McCabe reportedly found the conversation "disturbing."
  • Trump directed White House Counsel Don McGahn to lobby Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the Russia probe. When Sessions went ahead with the recusal, Trump reportedly erupted in anger and said he needed Sessions to protect him.

Go deeper

28 mins ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.