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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Neither Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi nor President Trump has any real competitor for influence on their side. Each sees themselves as a master dealmaker. Both run in coastal-elite circles.

The bottom line: Their chilly relationship is now the most consequential in American public life.

  • She is the most powerful and recognizable Democrat.
  • She has an iron grip over most her party.
  • She is hated on the right as much as Trump is on the left.
  • She will decide impeachment and every Trump target to hit.
  • She is trash-talking him with glee.
  • She can block any bill.
  • He is the most powerful and recognizable Republican.
  • He has an iron grip on elected Republicans.
  • He is loathed by Democrats.
  • He tried mansplaining to her in the White House this week, and got a biting response.
  • He soon will be subject to the subpoenas and gavels of her committee chairs.

Both sides are relishing the combat to come:

  • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the incoming Democratic Caucus chair, told me that after two years of essentially running a monarchy, Trump this week got a taste of Pelosi's strength: "Everything changes on January 3rd. ... She's just getting started. There will be much more of that to come."
  • David Urban, a Trump adviser who hosted the president at last weekend's Army-Navy game, told me Trump is treating Pelosi as "the new Hillary" until he has a 2020 opponent. "He's already branding her: 'I’m for you. She’s for them,'" Urban said.

Be smart ... Erik Smith — founder of Blue Engine Message & Media, and a former senior House Democratic adviser — said:

  • "Speaker Pelosi's sole job in 2019 will be to serve Trump to the 2020 nominee on a platter ... She won't be bullied or outmaneuvered."
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Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

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Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/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. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.