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President Trump handed Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer the deal of the century this morning.

One top Republican described the move to me as the legislative equivalent of giving an entire stockpile of weapons to Democrats and inviting them to take the entire Republican Party hostage. Republicans are in a state of shock.

Sources inside and close to leadership have used the full range of expletives in text messages reacting to what Trump did this morning. I've yet to speak to a White House official who can convincingly explain Trump's logic.

Here's what Trump did:

He ignored the pleas of his own Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and of Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, and he sided with the Pelosi-Schumer plan to combine Hurricane Harvey relief funding with extending the debt limit and funding the government, both for three months. (GOP leaders wanted to extend the debt limit for 18 months.)Republican leadership sources say Democrats were bluffing and would never follow through on their threat to oppose a longer-term debt ceiling increase.Why this matters: Hurricane Harvey gave Republican leadership a rare opportunity to take the most controversial and politically toxic item — the debt ceiling — off the table for the rest of this Congress. Trump has blown up that opportunity.

When the debt ceiling and government funding bills expire in December, Democrats will have all the leverage, because Republicans can't pass a CR or debt ceiling without Democratic votes.That will also force Republicans to support a funding bill that legalizes the protection of illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children (the DACA program that Trump says he'll end in six months if Congress doesn't act.)

A top Republican close to leadership captures the prevailing sentiment on Capitol Hill today: "Dems bluffed their way into total victory."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

1 hour ago - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.

Arizona certifies Biden's win

Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Arizona officials certified the state's presidential election results on Monday, paving the way for President-elect Joe Biden to be awarded its 11 electoral votes.

Why it matters: The move deals yet another blow to President Trump's efforts to block or delay certification in key swing states that he lost. Biden beat the president in Arizona by more than 10,000 votes.

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