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Emmet Flood, who is joining Trump's legal team. Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Trump legal team shakeup looks nearly complete today, with Emmet Flood replacing the retiring Ty Cobb and joining the newly-named Rudy Giuliani in defending the president from the Mueller investigation.

Why it matters, from Jonathan Swan: "Flood is a big coup. Top-tier lawyer. Rejected them last year. Don McGahn has long been interested in bringing Flood inside, and there had been separate discussions of him joining the White House Counsel’s office."

"Ty Cobb and McGahn had a relationship that was terrible from the outset and never improved. Cobb was seen as one of the few people internally who was skilled at communicating with Trump and calming him down. No idea how Flood will fare with this uniquely difficult client," adds Swan.

Flood's bio:
  • A lawyer (in a minor role) for Bill Clinton during the impeachment proceedings.
  • Was head of the White House Counsel's Office under President George W. Bush.
  • He represented President George W. Bush after his term in office in issues relating to executive privilege.
  • He also personally represented Vice President Dick Cheney in Valerie Plame's civil case against Bush administration senior officials.
  • Flood's firm represented Hillary Clinton during her email scandal, which was considered to be one of the reasons that he had turned down a White House job earlier this year, per Reuters.

Go deeper: "Can a president be forced to testify? While the Supreme Court has never definitively ruled on the subject, the answer appears to be yes." [AP]

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”