Dec 12, 2019

Trump officials leave peace meeting with their jobs

HHS Sec. Alex Azar, President Trump and CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma both still have their jobs after Wednesday night's White House meeting, per three sources familiar with the matter.

Details: The peace meeting between the two feuding officials was held in Vice President Mike Pence's office. Pence, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Azar, Verma and Pence's chief of staff Marc Short attended, two sources familiar told Axios' Jonathan Swan.

  • One of the sources said the message conveyed to Azar and Verma was that the president likes both of them, but they need to cut out the fighting and work together. "The ball’s in their court," the source added. "There are no more conversations to be had."

Driving the news: There's been a constant stream of news reports about the two's toxic relationship over the past week.

The bottom line: The pair's scorched-earth tactics have made it hard to imagine them having a productive working future, but both have strong allies — and enemies — inside the administration, making it equally difficult to predict whether either will be forced out.

Go deeper: Top Trump officials' feud prompts sex discrimination probe

Go deeper

Inside the bitter feud at Trump's health agencies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When Alex Azar took over as Health and Human Services secretary, he was advised not to meet one-on-one with Seema Verma, one of his most important deputies. HHS staff said Verma was difficult to work with and quick to level accusations of sex discrimination — exactly where Azar finds himself now.

The big picture: Verma's claims that she's being discriminated against because of her gender extend throughout her tenure in the Trump administration, but her own behavior makes it difficult to tell whether the problem is her mismanagement or a male-dominated culture that makes it hard for a woman to hold her rightful sway, according to interviews with more than a dozen sources who know the situation well.

Go deeperArrowDec 18, 2019

Scoop: House Dems attend Trump's holiday party amid impeachment

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet guests at the Congressional Ball at the White House. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Half a dozen House Democrats attended the White House Congressional Ball last night while their colleagues on the Judiciary Committee worked late into the night on articles of impeachment, according to two sources familiar with the event.

Why it matters: If you're looking for clues about which House Democrats might vote against impeaching President Trump next week, one tempting place to start is with those who chose to be Trump's guests at the annual ball — but that doesn't mean the two lists will totally overlap.

Go deeperArrowDec 13, 2019

Inside the McConnell-Trump impeachment trial playbook

Trump stands with McConnell during a campaign rally Lexington, Kentucky, Nov. 4. Photo: Bryan Woolston/Getty Images)

The Senate trial is poised to be short — perhaps two weeks — and to involve no new witnesses, and Trump has largely come around on this plan, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: That would represent a significant evolution in the president’s posture, after a flurry of private and public urging by McConnell and Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham. Sources caution that nothing has been decided yet.

Go deeperArrowDec 16, 2019