Jul 25, 2017

Trump in phone call: "What would happen if I fired Sessions?"

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump, in one of his hallmark rituals, recently called a longtime political associate and asked out of the blue: "What would happen if I fired Sessions?"

  • Trump has been openly undermining Attorney General Jeff Sessions, yesterday tweeting that he's "beleaguered." Already this morning, POTUS tweeted that Sessions has "taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes."
  • Remember: This is his own Cabinet member! It's not normal.
  • Reflecting the conversations going on inside Trumpworld, the political associate says he replied: "If you're going to fire people at Justice, don't you want to save that bullet for Mueller?"

There's speculation in both parties that replacing Sessions could be a prelude to firing the special counsel. Axios broke the news yesterday that Trump was considering bringing back Rudy Giuliani as attorney general. (Rudy swats away the idea, but that didn't stop Trump from floating it.)

The WashPost adds Sen. Ted Cruz as a possibility: "Another scenario is that Trump could make a recess appointment, said Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law. ... Trump could choose an attorney general during the August recess who would serve until the end of the next Senate session, which would run to Jan. 3, 2019. That person would have the same authority as someone who is confirmed by the Senate."

Another Post story builds on Jonathan Swan's reporting on Sunday: Incoming White House communications director "Anthony Scaramucci ... is exercising a broad mandate from the president and intends to follow through on threats to purge aides he believes are disloyal to Trump and leaking to the press."

Be smart: This chaotic White House is about to get even more unstable. Insiders expect big changes between now and September.

Go deeper

Trump announces 30-day extension of coronavirus guidelines

President Trump with Dr. Anthony Fauci. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.

Why it matters: Top advisers to the president have been seeking to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for the U.S. to open parts of its economy, amid warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

Go deeperArrow12 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.