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The Comey memos. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

President Trump "hasn't cooled off on" Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who oversees the Mueller investigation) and could still fire him, according to a source close to Trump.

The source gave Axios a behind-the-scenes read on the latest thinking at the White House, which the source said is "in a defensive posture."

  • "Trump doesn't know exactly what to do with [Rosenstein]. They don't have a clean way to get rid of him. That's the problem."
  • But Rosenstein may be "about to be spit-roasted."
  • "I do think a case is being built against him [Rosenstein]. That's what Meadows and Jordan are doing." (Reps. Mark Meadows [R-N.C.] and Jim Jordan [R-Ohio], both members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, met with Rosenstein on Monday to press him on the Russia and Clinton email probes, per the WashPost.)
  • On the addition of Rudy Giuliani to Trump's legal team: "The way it's been characterized by senior administration officials is that the president is frustrated and casting about. That's typical of him. He's done it before. He's upset, and the way he thinks more will happen is if new people are brought onto the scene."
  • "This is all Trump trying to move the ball and he thinks by having substitutions and additional players he'll do that. ... What he really needs is what he's not getting. He needs a lead lawyer who has the backing and resources of a large firm."

A possible White House addition, according to the source:

  • Another "senior lawyer is ... needed on the inside. There are indications that [White House counsel] Don McGahn would like to bring Emmet Flood [who represented Bill Clinton during impeachment] into the White House Counsel's office to help with the oversight and investigations work that is currently in play, and would likely intensify if the House was captured by Democrats." (In early March, the N.Y. Times reported that Trump was in discussions with Flood to help with the Mueller response.)

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
8 hours ago - World

China's economy grows 6.5% in Q4 as country rebounds from coronavirus

A technician installs and checks service robots to be be used for food and medicine delivery in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, on Sunday. Photo: Hu Xuejun/VCG via Getty Images

China's economy grew at a 6.5% pace in the final quarter of 2020, the national statistics bureau announced Monday local time, topping off a year in which it grew in three of four quarters and by 2.3% in total.

Why it matters: No other major economy managed positive growth in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in China, the country got the virus under control and became one of the main positive drivers of the global economy even as the rest of the world was largely under lockdown.