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Evan Vucci / AP

There was a familiar ring to this week's revelation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Trump's doghouse (provoking a torrent of leaks that Sessions had threatened to resign).

  • Flip back through the clips, and you find: Reince in the doghouse ... Sean in the doghouse ... Bannon in the doghouse ... National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in the doghouse ... White House Counsel Don McGahn in the doghouse.
  • Even son-in-law Jared Kushner, who's pretty close to untouchable, got a little chin music yesterday as the press pool got a glimpse of Trump's meeting with congressional leaders. Trump said, to laughter: "Jared has actually become much more famous than me — I'm a little upset at that."

So what's with the constant needling and belittling?

  • A person who has experienced Trump's moods said: "He feels some sort of deep--seated emotional need to assert his primacy over people he has very clear primacy over. These are people you need to trust, and to be loyal to you."
  • Trump's treatment of his aides is a factor in the unwillingness of some top talent to go into the White House, according to an official involved in the search: "You never know when you're going to get thrown under the bus. He has this constant need for reassurance and affirmation that he takes out on the staff."
  • An irony: It's people who were with Trump on the earlier side (Sessions, Priebus, Spicer) who seem to take the brunt of his fickleness, while later arrivals like Gary Cohn and Dina Powell (so far) have escaped Trump's crowded doghouse.
  • Sound smart: Quick! Name a top-titled White House official — not named Ivanka or Jared — who authentically likes or feels sincere loyalty toward Trump. Then, quick, name a top-titled official — not named Jared or Ivanka — who Trump genuinely likes or feels loyalty toward. This is a problem.

Go deeper: Axios' Shannon Vavra's guide to Trump's doghouse

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Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 18 mins ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.

Poll: U.S. leadership approval rebounds from Trump low

A Gallup report published Tuesday found approval of United States leadership in 46 countries and territories hit 49% — up from 30% at the end of Donald Trump's presidency, and matching former President Obama's first year (2009).

Why it matters: Biden's efforts to reengage with the international community following the Trump administration appear to be improving the global approval ratings for U.S. leadership, though this poll does not take into account the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.