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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

With a tweet complaining that indictments of two congressmen "by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department" put GOP seats at risk, President Trump guaranteed a confirmation minefield for any future attorney general.

Driving the news: Trump tweeted, referring to indictments of Rep. Chris Collins (N.Y.) for insider trading and Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.) for misusing campaign funds: "Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff."

The tweet rattled even key Republicans:

  • A senior Justice Department official said: "It was a very concerning tweet. It shows how POTUS thinks DOJ should be used: As a weapon against enemies and a tool to win elections."
  • Referring to the two congressional indictments, the official said: “Both cases are not even close, the facts are very bad.”
  • One of Washington’s most respected Republican lawyers said: "Like everything else, he shoots first and then asks questions later. So in his ... mind he thinks he can find someone to take the job who will be confirmable and rein in Mueller. So he’ll force out Sessions and then find there’s no one who will take the job who the Senate Republicans can support."

Why it matters: These Trump tweets will become litmus tests in the confirmation hearing of any future Trump attorney general.

  • The nominee will be asked whether they agree with tweets like this, and whether they agree with the president’s conception of the A.G. role — that it’s his personal lawyer, who ought to be indicting political enemies and protecting friends.
  • Nobody who answers those questions in a manner satisfactory to the Senate will satisfy Trump’s desire to replace Sessions with a toady A.G.
  • A top Republican knowledgeable about succession issues told Axios that the tweet "will almost guarantee as a condition of confirmation that the [A.G.] nominee pledge that he or she won’t interfere [with] Mueller."

Be smart: This tweet tested the faith of some of Trump's usually reflexively defensive supporters. Of course, the biggest diehards will stick by him. But he lost some who had already begun to lose patience.

  • P.S. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): "The United States is not some banana republic."

Go deeper

Updated 47 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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