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Evan Vucci / AP

West Wing officials are prepping for a years-long war with investigators and the bureaucracy, with plans to beef up legal, surrogate, communications and rapid-response teams as part of a "new normal" for President Trump — besieged.

"The White House is embracing the fight, which is going to last as long as Donald Trump is president," said a Trump ally familiar with the preparations. "We're getting street fighters ready to go."

A West Wing official said Trump has been frustrated by the ferocity of the incoming, and has demanded a more visible response.

Trump aides recognize that besides being in the crosshairs of investigators on Russia, they will be the continuing target of leaks from the bureaucracy. The Trump ally referred to this second enemy as "nameless, faceless, deep-state types" who have been inflamed and are punching back through the media.

  • What's next: Proposed war-room org charts have been prepared, and final decisions on the structure will be made after Trump returns this weekend.
  • Jonathan Swan hears that comms/rapid response structures are being considered for both inside the White House and on the outside.
  • The moving parts: Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon broke off from the trip and returned early, in part to quarterback planning. Numerous officials are involved. There was extra urgency because fired FBI Director Jim Comey had been expected to testify on the Hill next week. But that has been postponed so he can first meet privately with special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • The backstory: Aides recognize they should have built more push-back capacity from the beginning. But the weakness reflects the minimalist transition planning and thin staffing that have beset the whole Trump machine.

Be smart: The new machinery is an effort to compartmentalize the scandals, so that some officials can focus on probes and revelations while others do their day jobs. But the success of that plan depends partly on President Trump's willingness to compartmentalize. Close aides have trouble imagining that.

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Go deeper

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11

Charles Muro, 13, is inoculated at Hartford Healthcare's mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, as well as tens of thousands of pharmacies, to administer the shots.

1 hour ago - Sports

Where it stands: Weed policies by U.S. sports league

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With public support for marijuana legalization nearing unanimity, and more athletes using cannabis to treat pain, the four major U.S. sports leagues continue to reduce restrictions and punishments.

Driving the news: NBA players won't be subject to random marijuana testing this season, an extension of an agreement between the league and its players' union that began ahead of the 2020 Orlando restart.

4 hours ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan discussed Saudi-Israel normalization with MBS

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg and Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised normalization with Israel during his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three U.S. and Arab sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia would be the biggest regional player to sign onto the "Abraham Accords" peace agreement with Israel, and such a major breakthrough would likely convince other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.

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