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Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

President Trump has picked Eric Ueland, currently deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy, to replace Shahira Knight as director of legislative affairs, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision. Ueland has deep experience in Congress and is widely respected on Capitol Hill.

Why it matters: As the president's top liaison to Capitol Hill, this is perhaps the hardest job in Washington. The White House is at war with House Democrats, who have initiated a blizzard of subpoenas. Trump has made clear he wants his current and former staff to stonewall House Democrats and that he expects to get no big legislative items done (for example, infrastructure) while Democrats are investigating him.

Context: Joe Grogan, the head of the White House's Domestic Policy Council, brought Ueland onto his team earlier this year, and officials have who worked both with and against Ueland over his long career on the Hill described him as an especially important hire.

  • Ueland previously served as chief of staff to former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and was a senior adviser on the Senate Budget Committee. He also served as a top official on the Trump transition team and later worked in the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance at the State Department.
  • The White House issued a statement on Thursday confirming Ueland's appointment, calling him a "a talented, highly respected individual," and a start date of June 17

Go deeper: How Trump can stall House Democrats

Go deeper

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.