AP / AP / Hogan Lovells

The "Hunger Games" that have afflicted Trump's staff have lately begun to infect the various Russia-related legal teams — backbiting, second-guessing, lack of trust.

Trump loyalists think help is on the way: The White House yesterday announced the appointment of the mustachioed Ty Cobb, a respected Washington lawyer specializing in white-collar defense, to President Trump's government staff as "Special Counsel."We're told Cobb is fully empowered: Jay Sekulow, the outside Trump lawyer who's doing all five Sunday shows today, will stay. Marc Kasowitz, an outside Trump lawyer whose bad press empowered his internal critics, will likely be diminished or leave the team, according to people close to POTUS.There's much hope inside that Ty can help partition the investigation from the rest of White House work — and that he can have a beneficial effect on minimizing POTUS distractions and ill-advised tweets, etc. But few on the inside know him or have been briefed on specifics of the role he's being asked to play.From his Hogan Lovells law-firm bio: "Bet-the-company litigation calls for a unique combination of skills, experience, and track record. Ty Cobb ... has been widely recognized as one of the premier white collar, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement, and congressional investigations lawyers in the world."Clients managing crises, allegations of corruption, and other critical matters turn to Ty ... Ty's wide-ranging enforcement, bribery, and corruption practice has taken him to more than 35 countries and 44 states."Friends of Trump describe Cobb, who's said to be related to the baseball Hall of Famer, as "adult supervision," both internal and external."It hasn't been clear who internally has been in charge," said one Trump confidant. "This brings some struture and grown-up leadership on this issue."Insiders say Cobb will serve as a Grand Central for congressional and other Russia probes, and will set guardrails for who can and can't talk to each other about the matter internally. Everything will have the ultimate aim of protecting the President.Cobb's role will be the eye in the sky — the quarterback. One Trump veteran calls Cobb "the official wall of Russia."The problem is that the President doesn't want to be protected: He has resisted earlier efforts to insulate him from potentially landmines, including defending Don Jr.Scoop: Look for Don Jr. to retain new advisers soon.Be smart: Trump has carried a self-jeopardizing gene that's perplexed partners throughout his career. If Cobb can provide a clear path, it'll take pressure off Trump from thinking he has to do it all himself — which is when he gets in trouble.

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Congress' next moves to rein in Big Tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After grilling the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple last week, members of Congress are grappling with whether to accuse any of the firms of illegal anticompetitive behavior, to propose updating federal antitrust laws — or both.

The big picture: Congress is just one arm of government making the case against these companies. Google is expected to be the first of the firms to face possible antitrust litigation from the Justice Department before summer's end, but all four face a full-court press of investigations by DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

Fauci: Coronavirus task force to examine aerosolized spread


A sneeze. Photo: Maartje van Caspel/Getty Images

The White House coronavirus task force will examine more closely just how much SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted via aerosols, and not just from droplets, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday at an online forum sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Why it matters: The longer the coronavirus can remain infectious in the air, the more likely it can infect people, particularly indoors — leading to the possible need to alter air filtration and circulation within buildings.

The next wave to hit Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.