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Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senior Trump administration officials are increasingly alarmed that President Trump might unleash — and abuse — the power of government in an effort to overturn the clear result of the election.

Why it matters: These officials tell me that Trump is spending too much time with people they consider crackpots or conspiracy theorists and flirting with blatant abuses of power.

  • There are 32 days until President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The big picture: Their fears include Trump's interest in former national security adviser Michael Flynn's wild talk of martial law; an idea floated of an executive order to commandeer voting machines; and the specter of Sidney Powell, the conspiracy-spewing election lawyer, obtaining governmental power and a top-level security clearance.

A senior administration official said that when Trump is "retweeting threats of putting politicians in jail, and spends his time talking to conspiracy nuts who openly say declaring martial law is no big deal, it’s impossible not to start getting anxious about how this ends."

  • "People who are concerned and nervous aren’t the weak-kneed bureaucrats that we loathe," the official added. "These are people who have endured arguably more insanity and mayhem than any administration officials in history."

At Friday's meeting, first reported by The New York Times, Trump discussed making Powell a special counsel for election fraud.

  • The ideas included commandeering voting machines, with Powell as a special counsel to inspect the machines, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
  • White House counsel Pat Cipollone and chief of staff Mark Meadows "pushed back strenuously and repeatedly against the ideas put forth by Sidney Powell,” the source said.
  • The meeting included Flynn, who was pardoned by Trump in November and is a celebrity with election-denying Trump supporters.

Go deeper

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
10 mins ago - Economy & Business

Stock buybacks are kicking back into high gear

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was expected that with the economy improving and company balance sheets already loaded with cash, U.S. firms would slow down their debt issuance in 2021 after setting records in 2020. But just the opposite has happened.

Why it matters: Companies generally issue bonds for one of two reasons — because they're worried about not having enough cash to cover their expenses or because they want to lever up and make risky bets.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
59 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Japan vows deeper emissions cuts ahead of White House summit

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan on Thursday said it will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% below 2013 levels by 2030, per the AP and other outlets.

Why it matters: The country is the world's fifth-largest largest carbon dioxide emitter and a major consumer of coal, oil and natural gas.