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Former President Trump told the Republican National Committee chair that he was leaving the GOP to create his own new political party, according to a new book by ABC's Jonathan Karl.

Driving the news: Trump, who had said "he didn't care" about destroying the GOP, ultimately backed down after party leaders told him they would take actions that could have cost the former president millions of dollars, Karl told ABC's "Good Morning America."

Details: On his last day in office, after boarding Air Force One, "Trump took a call from Republican party chair Ronna McDaniel. ... He told McDaniel he was done with the Republican party. This is according to multiple sources familiar with the conversation," Karl said.

  • "'I'm done,' Trump told McDaniel from his office on board Air Force One. 'I'm starting my own party.'"
  • "'You cannot do that,' McDaniel told Trump. 'If you do, we will lose forever,'" Karl said, quoting the conversation.
  • Republican leaders told the former president that if he left, they would stop paying his legal fees and give out for free Trump's email list, "an asset Trump makes millions on renting out to candidates," per Karl.
  • By the following week, Trump decided against leaving the GOP.

The big picture: "Trump's attitude, according to a source who heard the conversation, was that if he lost, everyone around him deserved to lose too," Karl said.

The other side: McDaniel said Monday that Karl's reporting was not true.

  • "This is false, I have never threatened President Trump with anything," McDaniel told ABC News. "He and I have a great relationship. We have worked tirelessly together to elect Republicans up and down the ballot, and will continue to do so."
  • Karl responded to McDaniel on air, saying that her statement on his book "is a lie," adding, "I spoke to multiple people about this, including a direct witness to the initial conversation with Donald Trump and direct witnesses to the subsequent conversations."
  • Karl read quotes from his sources, who said, "[Trump] didn't care. It was a punishment."

Go deeper

Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Alex Jones and Roger Stone

Roger Stone (left) and Alex Jones (right). Photos: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP and Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 House select committee has subpoenaed several close Trump allies involved in the planning of the rallies leading up to the Capitol riot, including Infowars' Alex Jones and longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone as part of its investigation, chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) announced Monday.

Why it matters: The committee continues to aggressively pursue testimony and documents from those in Trump's orbit and has interviewed over 150 people as part of their investigation.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

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