Apr 20, 2018

Trump “hasn’t cooled off on” Rod Rosenstein

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

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 14,800

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people for the second day in a row, and it's infected more than 432,000 others, per Johns Hopkins data.

Where it stands: More than 14,800 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. — including over 4,500 in New York. The state's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in New York in 24 hours. N.Y. has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 20 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: U.K. PM "stable, improving" in intensive care

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "stable, improving, sat up and engaged with medical staff" in the intensive care unit of London's St. Thomas' Hospital, where he is being treated for the coronavirus, Culture Minister Oliver Dowden told the BBC Thursday.

Zoom in: The update comes as ministers meet to discuss whether to extend the United Kingdom's lockdown and after the country's health officials reported Wednesday the highest daily rise in COVID-19 deaths — 938, taking the total to over 7,300. London Mayor said Wednesday the U.K. is "nowhere near lifting the lockdown," with the virus not expected to peak there until next week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 36 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,484,811 — Total deaths: 88,538 — Total recoveries: 329,876Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 432,132 — Total deaths: 14,817 — Total recoveries: 23,906Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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