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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.

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Go deeper

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be traveling on the westbound Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle and Portland when eight cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.