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Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Trump enjoyed yesterday's episode of "The Trump Show": He played the president he sometimes fantasizes being — a post-partisan leader, bigger than Republican or Democrat, a celebrity dealmaker with no firm attachments, who’d overwhelm Washington through the sheer strength of statecraft and deal-cutting genius. A real Davos man. P.T. Barnum with a pulpit. 

His presidency hasn’t lived up to that vision. Trump’s victories have been partisan victories — unwinding regulations, appointing conservative judges, withdrawing from the Paris climate deal, passing a Republican tax bill and repealing the cornerstone of Obamacare. 

But Trump yesterday showed the side we often hear about from behind closed doors:

  • He opened an immigration negotiation session to reporters for 54 minutes. During the meeting, he floated that he wanted a comprehensive immigration deal — something that scares the living daylights out of the right wing of his party. (N.Y. Times lead story: "Trump Receptive to Working Out Citizenship Path ... 'I’ll Take the Heat,’ He Says, Seeming to Back a Broader Deal.")
  • He lamented about how the two parties don’t get along, and can’t cut deals like they did in the good old days.
  • He said that maybe Congress should bring back earmarks — a.k.a. “pork” — another Republican apostasy.
  • We learned that he'll attend Davos — the clubby globalist conference in Switzerland (60 heads of state or government, plus top CEOs and over 1,000 leaders from civil society, academia and media).

Why this matters: When Trump is in these moods, he’s at his most unpredictable (and therefore most dangerous, in the eyes of Republican leaders.)

  • Trump is in the middle of high stakes negotiations to avoid a government shutdown, and his lack of attachment to any ideology or principles means he could easily veer into Chuck and Nancy’s arms.

Go deeper

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

Exxon says it's well-positioned amid investor pressure

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

ExxonMobil said Wednesday that its oil-and-gas development plans will create good returns even at modest oil prices as the company looks to win back investor confidence after several rocky years.

Driving the news: The company, just ahead of an investor presentation this morning, said its investments are designed to generate returns of over 30% and touted its spending reductions.

33 mins ago - Technology

Google says goodbye to individual user tracking

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Google made clear Wednesday that after it finished phasing out third-party cookies over the next year or so, it won't introduce other forms of identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web.

Why it matters: The move comes amid increased scrutiny over the way tech giants use consumer data to reinforce their dominance, particularly around personalized advertising.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.