Evan Vucci / AP

The Washington Post's Bob Costa reports this morning that President Trump left the White House "in a fury" on Friday, "fuming about [Jeff] Sessions's recusal and telling aides that [the Attorney General] shouldn't have recused himself" on a story he thought was "bull."

Why this matters: To understand Trump's psychology you need to grasp that the worst sin in Trumpland is to back down. The staff who've been with Trump the longest have internalized that fact. Their first instincts in any controversy are to deny and attack. Aides who don't get Trump enrage him by being too willing to back down. In Trump's mind, an inch of retreat — even if the facts seemingly demand an apology — is unforgivable.

Behind-the-scenes: Late Thursday afternoon, at the peak of the Sessions' media storm, Trump's top communications staff, including Press Secretary Sean Spicer, huddled in the White House office of Sarah Sanders. Several hours later Trump issued his statement about Sessions' recusal. Mostly, it's Trump giving a full-throated defense of his friend. The only bit that doesn't sound like Trump is when he says of Sessions: "He could have stated his response more accurately..."

Don't expect too many lines like that in the future.

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Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.