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.

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
35 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes.

  • A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."

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