Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The WeWork soap opera had been scheduled to take a short hiatus, at least until Q3 numbers could be compiled, but then the company surprised everyone with a pop-up episode over the weekend.

What's happening: The WSJ reported yesterday that "a bloc of WeWork directors is planning to push Adam Neumann to step down as chief executive." CNBC added that SoftBank's Masayoshi Son supports the move.

What we’re hearing: The unofficial narrative is that the directors were shocked, just shocked to find out that Neumann likes to smoke pot and had some questionable self-dealing with the company. Too bad they didn't ask anyone who knows Neumann about the former or read their own financial disclosures about the latter.

  • Yes, the part about transporting marijuana over international borders was likely new, but hardly the sort of thing that would get most CEOs canned in 2019.

Between the lines: What the directors do seem to have learned recently is that public market investors are very hesitant to invest in a WeWork with Neumann at the helm, so they're putting up a smoke screen to deflect from their own blind spot.

  • Again, please don't peddle that the board is suddenly blanching at how Neumann spent company money. Save for fraud, of course, but there's not yet even a whisper of that.
  • There also are market concerns about losses, but that's one in which Neumann and SoftBank seemed to share the same "grow at all costs" philosophy. (Hey DoorDash, you watching this?)

Our thought bubble: We've previously pondered SoftBank's endgame, with the most plausible theory being that it would like to become WeWork's investor of last resort.

  • It is unclear if SoftBank really wants Neumann out or is just using the threat as leverage to postpone the IPO (thus buttressing internal rates of return for Vision Fund 1, as fundraising for Vision Fund 2 continues).
  • SoftBank runs the risk of scaring off future founders, but a bigger one of WeWork blowing up Vision Fund 2. Plus, it can just tell other entrepreneurs that they're smarter, more stable, etc., than a loose cannon like Neumann. Silicon Valley may run on hubris, but it's underwritten by flattery.

The big picture: Yes, there are lots of shades of Uber here, particularly once you notice that Benchmark is on the board. But it's unclear how Masa currently views the Travis-for-Dara swap, given Uber's lackluster public market performance.

  • As Axios colleague Felix Salmon said: When a company's CEO is also its mascot, it's hard to know what firing the CEO will do.

The bottom line: That's true for WeWork, SoftBank, Neumann, Wall Street and yours truly. All we know for sure is that we'll get more shocks and cliffhangers before a conclusion.

Go deeper

Bill Clinton slams McConnell and Trump: "Their first value is power"

Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) vow to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat before the next presidential inauguration "superficially hypocritical."

The big picture: Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the court in 1993, declined to say whether he thinks Democrats should respond by adding more justices if they take back the Senate and the White House in November. Instead, he called on Republicans to "remember the example Abraham Lincoln set" by not confirming a justice in an election year.

Pelosi: Trump wants to "crush" ACA with Ginsburg replacement

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that President Trump is rushing to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he "wants to crush the Affordable Care Act."

Why it matters: Pelosi wants to steer the conversation around the potential Ginsburg replacement to health care, which polls show is a top issue for voters, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration has urged the courts to strike down the law, and with it, protections for millions with pre-existing conditions.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' Armageddon option

A makeshift memorial outside the Supreme Court yesterday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Furious Democrats are considering total war — profound changes to two branches of government, and even adding stars to the flag — if Republicans jam through a Supreme Court nominee then lose control of the Senate.

On the table: Adding Supreme Court justices ... eliminating the Senate's 60-vote threshold to end filibusters ... and statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. "If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021," Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) tweeted.