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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Trump's combative press conference this afternoon, in which he declared his "100 percent" willingness to rebut Jim Comey under oath, reflects the White House's new take-no-prisoners war footing.

  • The Trump theory: The best way to defend is to attack. If you're explaining, you're losing. White House officials, while recognizing the optics were devastating, tell us they were relieved that the substance of Comey's testimony lacked a smoking gun. But they know that special counsel Bob Mueller poses a dire threat to Trump's hold on the office.
  • Behind the curtain: The widely held view in Republican circles, according to Axios' Jonathan Swan, is that Trump's aggressiveness undercuts the notion that there are tapes. Trump clearly sees this as his word against Comey's.
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Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
10 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tesla's wild rise and European plan

Tesla's market capitalization blew past $500 billion for the first time Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's just a number, but kind of a wild one. Consider, via CNN: "Tesla is now worth more than the combined market value of most of the world's major automakers: Toyota, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and its merger partner PSA Group."

Dave Lawler, author of World
51 mins ago - World

China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
2 hours ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.