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Alex Brandon / AP

Behind the scenes in the West Wing, President Trump continues to rant and brood about former FBI Director Jim Comey and the Russia investigation that got him fired.

Trump tells aides and visitors that the probe now being run by special counsel Bob Mueller is a witch hunt, and that Comey was a leaker.

So White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was reflecting her boss's moods when she attacked Comey at length from the podium yesterday, after being asked about Steve Bannon's assertion to "60 Minutes" that the firing was one of the worst mistakes in modern political history:

  • "I think there is no secret Comey, by his own self-admission, leaked privileged government information. ... Comey leaked memos to the New York Times ... He politicized an investigation by signaling he would exonerate Hillary Clinton before he ever interviewed her or other key witnesses."
  • Sanders even suggested that Comey himself should be investigated: "His actions were improper and likely could have been illegal."

Why it matters: The Mueller investigation is hitting ever closer to home for Trump, and he's using the tools of his office to try to undermine the special counsel's future findings.

Be smart: Trump allies plan to vilify Mueller the way the Clinton White House treated Ken Starr.

  • Watch for a common Trump theme to solidify: partisan overreach.
  • The president's friends are most worried about Mueller digging into past business deals, which is why his team keeps raising concerns in public and private about the "scope" of the investigation.
Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

CPAC Republicans choose conservatism over constituents

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

Border Democrat warns Biden about immigrant fallout

Henry Cuellar (right). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A Democratic lawmaker representing a border district warned the Biden administration against easing up too much on unauthorized immigrants, citing their impact on his constituents, local hospitals and their potential to spread the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios he supports President Biden. But the moderate said he sees the downsides of efforts to placate pro-immigrant groups, an effort that threatens to blow up on the administration.

In CPAC speech, Trump says he won't start a 3rd party

Trump at CPAC on Feb. 28 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Courtesy of C-SPAN.

In his first public speech since leaving office, former President Trump told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he would not start a third party because "we have the Republican party."

Why it matters: The former president aims to cement himself as Republicans' "presumptive 2024 nominee" as his top contenders — including former members of his administration — face the challenge of running against the GOP's most popular politician.