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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

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.

Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/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 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Jan 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump send-off in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in July. Photo: Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.