Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

By any historical measure, it’s highly unusual for President Trump to repeatedly pressure his attorney general to intervene in an investigation of the White House, as Axios scooped late yesterday.

Why it matters: By any historical measure, it’s highly unusual to have a special prosecutor probing whether a president obstructed justice during his first days in office, like the Robert Mueller investigation is doing. By any historical measure, it’s highly unusual for a president this early in his term to pardon a controversial political donor (conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza) — and to signal he might pardon other celebrity criminals, like Trump did yesterday with Martha Stewart and more.

Be smart: Maybe these three events are mere coincidence. But almost no one around Trump, even his closest allies, thinks this is the case.

  • WashPost front pager, "With pardon, president sends a signal": "Trump ... delivered an indirect but unmistakable message to personal attorney Michael Cohen, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and others ensnared in Trump-related investigations that they, too, could be spared punishment."

Why Trump loves pardons:

  • Remember how on the campaign trail Trump would paint a picture of a click-your-fingers presidency?
  • As soon as he took office, he’d fix the healthcare system, remove the national debt by cutting waste, fraud and abuse — the list goes on.
  • The clemency power is one where Trump can click his fingers and get instant gratification. Better even than those executive orders, which have to face those pesky and inconvenient circuit court judges.

Pardon flurry ahead, per WashPost: "A senior White House official said that as many as a dozen other pardons are under consideration by Trump, adding that most are likely to happen."

Haphazard process .... "Trump’s pardon of D’Souza was his sixth act of clemency as president. Each was issued unilaterally, subverting the traditional Justice Department process of reviewing thousands of pardon requests," per WashPost.

  • "Most of the pardons are impulsive, according to a person familiar with the process, and are driven by his 'seeing something on TV, reading something in a newspaper, hearing from a friend or someone lobbying him personally.'"

Go deeper

Updated 23 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it's too early to say whether next month's elections will be postponed after she announced Tuesday four people had tested positive for COVID-19 after no local cases for 102 days.

Zoom in: NZ's most populous city, Auckland, has gone on lockdown for 72 hours and the rest of the country is under lesser restrictions.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 20,188,678 — Total deaths: 738,668 — Total recoveries: 12,452,126Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 5,138,850 — Total deaths: 164,480 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. States: Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record Florida reports another daily record for deaths.
  4. Health care: Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.

Voters cast ballots in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Vermont

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Primary elections are being held on Tuesday in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut, Vermont and Wisconsin.

The big picture: Georgia and Wisconsin both struggled to hold primaries during the coronavirus pandemic, but are doing so again — testing their voting systems ahead of the general election. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is facing a strong challenger as she fights for her political career. In Georgia, a Republican primary runoff pits a QAnon supporter against a hardline conservative.