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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Rudy Giuliani is wasting no time as Trump's new lawyer, calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step in on the Michael Cohen case and comparing the investigators to "storm troopers."

Be smart: These story lines are coming together, and a Giuliani-empowered Trump will only get more aggressive.

The Rudy media tour:

  • To the Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff: “Anybody who says that I’m exaggerating when I say that this is an out-of-control investigation and they’re acting like storm troopers––give me a break, baby! They prove it every day."
  • He also told Woodruff that, "Us lawyers have talked about it, we don’t believe [NBC's wiretap story is] true. We think it’s going to turn out to be untrue because it would be totally illegal."
  • To The Hill's Niall Stanage: “I am waiting for the Attorney General to step in, in his role as defender of justice, and put these people under investigation."

The backdrop: NBC News reported today that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's phone was wiretapped in the weeks prior to the FBI raid. They later corrected their story on air, noting that federal authorities were “monitoring” Cohen's phone calls but not listening to them as previously reported.

  • "At least one phone call between a phone line associated with Cohen and the White House was intercepted," a source told NBC.

Why it matters: Cohen's role in the Stormy Daniels case, which Giuliani shocked Sean Hannity last night by discussing on Fox News, was confirmed in a series of Trump tweets this morning:

"Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are... very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair... despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair. Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction."

P.S. "Giuliani said in an interview with The Washington Post that he discussed the issue with Trump a few days ago and that they agreed that he would reveal details about the reimbursement." [WaPo's Josh Dawsey, Phil Rucker, Robert Costa and Ashley Parker]

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect NBC's on air correction.

Go deeper

39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.

Jan. 6 committee recommends contempt charges against Bannon

Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night recommending that former Trump aide Steve Bannon be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Why it matters: The resolution sets up a House vote to refer Bannon for potential criminal prosecution, signaling that the committee will not tolerate attempts by former President Trump and his associates to stymie the investigation.

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