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Via Twitter

President Trump was enraged by a Wall Street Journal scoop that Attorney General Bill Barr worked "for months" during the campaign to conceal the federal investigation of Hunter Biden.

The state of play: The president is re-exploring options for replacing Barr, and Saturday morning tweeted this rebuke: "Why didn’t Bill Barr reveal the truth to the public, before the Election, about Hunter Biden[?]"

A senior White House official said: "It's going to be the longest month."

Why it matters: Barr was viewed as a staunch Trump loyalist — and heavily criticized for the way he pre-spun the Mueller report in the president’s favor. But like many top Trump officials, even he has failed to go far enough to satisfy Trump's desires.

  • For many top officials in the government, it's a white-knuckle ride to Jan. 20 — with Trump making ever more outlandish demands.

The big picture: Life inside the White House since the election has been a daily sweepstakes on who'll get fired first — or at all: Barr, FDA commissioner Steve Hahn or CIA Director Gina Haspel.

Behind the scenes: Trump was privately venting about Barr on Friday with confidants, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), sources familiar with the discussions tell me.

  • A congressional source familiar with the discussions said it's unclear whether the president will follow through.

The intrigue: The fact that the Journal article was single-sourced made people close to the president suspect, despite not knowing, that it came directly from Barr — or from a sanctioned representative as a way to burnish his reputation with legal peers post-Trump.

  • To be clear, these sources have no evidence of how The Journal got the story. But that perception is part of what's driving West Wing anger.
  • The Journal's headline: "Barr Worked to Keep Hunter Biden Probes From Public View During Election ... The attorney general knew for months about investigations into Biden’s business and financial dealings."

Barr has discussed with friends the idea of leaving before the end of Trump’s term.

  • The N.Y. Times reported Sunday that Barr might announce his departure before the end of the year. As of Thursday, The Times later reported, Barr planned to stay.

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and to lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.

Shutdown Plan B

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.