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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In the West Wing, the single biggest mistake President Trump has made is not elevating someone who can and will say "no" to him, and make it stick.

  • One discouraged confidant, worried that the Russia investigation will be a long-term problem, emailed Axios: "DJT has been sort of brilliant at times about navigating things. But... he was never held accountable by anyone."
  • The N.Y. Times' Tom Friedman wrote a memo to Trump's War Cabinet this morning, urging the "five adults with the most integrity in the Trump administration" to act as Trump's parents.
  • The Daddy for today is burly economic adviser Gary Cohn, according to the juiciest (and last) paragraph of an account by the N.Y. Times' Thrush and Haberman: "In a recent meeting in the Oval Office, Mr. Cohn was speaking when Mr. Trump interrupted him. 'Let me finish,' Mr. Cohn interjected ... Trump, unaccustomed to ceding the floor, let him make his point."

No one else does that. Frank Bruni writes in his N.Y. Times column today, "Tweeting Toward Oblivion," that Trump's demons are winning: "He can tweet, or he can govern. ... Trump is no victim. He's the luckiest man alive — or has been, until now." This is the week that it either runs out — or the series gets extended.

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Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.