Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The New York Times published an unprecedented anonymous op-ed today by a senior Trump administration official who claims membership in an effort to actively undermine the president.

Why it matters: It's not normal for the Times to publish an anonymous staffer bagging on the president — and the fact that the Times permitted anonymity suggests they're taking this person's words seriously. (The Times knows the staffer's identity and is keeping it secret to protect that person's job.)

Between the lines: It's also worth taking a deep breath. There are scores of officials who could be labeled "senior official in the Trump administration."

From the op-ed:

  • "We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous."
  • "But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic."
  • "That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office."

The big picture: "[S]uccesses have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective."

  • "Astute observers have noted... that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals."
  • "This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state."

The bottom line: "Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment... But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis."

  • "[W]e will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over."
  • "The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. "

Be smart: Trump already feeds on "Deep State" conspiracy theories. This is unprecedented ammunition for Trump's fiercest defenders to send him over the top.

Flashback: Why top White House officials won't quit Trump [Axios, August 2017]

Get more stories like this by signing up for our daily morning newsletter, Axios AM. 

Go deeper

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!