Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

I can't overstate the level of anxiety among sources close to Trump after the president told the NYT's Maggie Haberman last week he was willing and eager to submit himself to a live interview under oath with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

What I'm hearing: One source, who knows Trump as well as anyone, told me he believes the president would be incapable of avoiding perjuring himself. "Trump doesn't deal in reality," the source said. "He creates his own reality and he actually believes it." (The president's attorney, Ty Cobb, did not respond to a request for comment.)

A number of people in the president's orbit have read this article by Bloomberg's Timothy O'Brien: "I've Watched Trump Testify Under Oath. It Isn't Pretty."

In the article, O'Brien writes:

  • "Speaking from experience, I think the president's attorneys should grab their worry beads. Trump sued me for libel in 2006 for a biography I wrote, "TrumpNation,' alleging that the book misrepresented his business record and understated his wealth. Trump lost the suit in 2011, but during the litigation my lawyers deposed him under oath for two days in 2007.
  • "Trump ultimately had to admit 30 times that he had lied over the years about all sorts of stuff: how much of a big Manhattan real estate project he owned; the price of one of his golf club memberships; the size of the Trump Organization; his wealth; his speaking fees; how many condos he had sold; his debts, and whether he borrowed money from his family to avoid going personally bankrupt.
  • "He also lied during the deposition about his business dealings with career criminals."

Be smart: Trump's lawyers are already signaling they are deeply uncomfortable about the prospect of a live, freewheeling session between Trump and Mueller. Shortly after Trump made his brash declaration, Trump's attorney John Dowd told CNN: "I will make the decision on whether the President talks to the special counsel... I have not made any decision yet."

Worthy of your time: The Washington Post has a juicy story on how Trump — who is obsessed with personal loyalty — remains perilously at odds with his own Justice Department.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 7 mins ago - World

U.S. no longer recognizes Lukashenko as legitimate president of Belarus

Lukashenko at his secret inauguration. Photo: Andrei Stasevich/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. no longer recognizes Aleksandr Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus, the State Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has clung to power with the support of Russia amid seven weeks of protests that have followed a blatantly rigged election. Fresh protests broke out Wednesday evening in Minsk after it emerged that Lukashenko had held a secret inauguration ceremony.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 31,735,542 — Total deaths: 973,443 Total recoveries: 21,798,488Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 6,925,840 — Total deaths: 201,617 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Poll: 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  6. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.

Trump says he wants 9 justices in case Supreme Court must decide 2020 election

President Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that part of his urgency to quickly push through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump claimed at the Republican National Convention that the only way he will lose the election is if it is "rigged," and he has declined to say whether he would accept the results of November's election if he loses to Joe Biden.

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