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

Trump to far-right Proud Boys: "Stand back and stand by"

Asked to condemn white supremacist violence at the first presidential debate on Tuesday, President Trump said the far-right Proud Boys group should "stand back and stand by," before immediately arguing that violence in the U.S. "is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem."

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly been accused of failing to condemn white nationalism and right-wing violence, despite the FBI's assessment that it's the most significant domestic terrorism threat that the country faces. The president has frequently associated antifa and the left-wing violence that has afflicted some U.S. cities with Biden, despite his condemnation of violent protests.

Mike Allen, author of AM
50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?

Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 33,516,946 — Total deaths: 1,005,394 — Total recoveries: 23,273,369Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m ET: 7,188,543 — Total deaths: 205,966 — Total recoveries: 2,809,674 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Politics: 7 former FDA commissioners say Trump is undermining agency's credibility
  5. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  6. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  7. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  8. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic