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WH Comms Director Hope Hicks. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

White House communications director, Hope Hicks, one of Trump's longest serving advisers, is going to resign. The New York Times broke the news Wednesday afternoon.

"There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump. I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country."
— Statement from Hope Hicks

Why it matters, from Axios' Jonathan Swan: Trump will miss Hope in the same way he misses his former bodyguard Keith Schiller. Hope is family and has been part of his routine for nearly three years now. Trump increasingly finds himself working in a building populated by people he doesn’t know and doesn’t trust. Some of whom did not even vote for him. 

"Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future."
Statement from President Trump

Timing: The news comes one day after Hicks testified before the House Intelligence Committee, where she told the panel that she is occasionally forced to tell "white lies" from her work in the administration. But NYT reporter Maggie Haberman, who broke the story, said her reporting shows Hicks' resignation is not tied to the hearing:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Details: Hicks has been contemplating leaving the administration for a while and told colleagues that "she had accomplished what she felt she could with a job that made her one of the most powerful people in Washington, and that there would never be a perfect moment to leave," per Haberman.

More from Swan: The president trusted nobody like Hope (or “Hopey” as he calls her.) It’s become a cliché that he views her like a daughter, but those who’ve watched them together say it’s true.

  • She spent the Reince Priebus / Sean Spicer era of the Trump administration as a wholly separate entity from the communications shop. She was the Trump whisperer — her role had no more definition than that.
  • But when John Kelly took over as chief of staff, Sarah Sanders became press secretary and Hope communications director, she fully integrated with the press shop. She never appeared on TV; always stayed behind-the-scenes. But reporters like me — I’ve dealt with Hope professionally for 2.5 years now —  know her as the person who understands Trump the best. 

Go deeper

21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Border Democrats want migrants vaccinated

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.

Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.

21 mins ago - World

State Dept. fears Chinese threats to labor auditors

A space for media is designated by Chinese authorities near a mosque in the Xinjiang region of China. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department is concerned organizations performing supply-chain audits in China are coming under pressure from Chinese authorities.

Why it matters: U.S. law prohibits importing products made through forced labor, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to verify whether products from China are tainted.

By the numbers: States with most new guns

Data: USA Facts, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The president unveiled his anti-crime plan Wednesday following a surge in violent crime across the country — particularly in big cities.

Why it matters: Part of the administration's plan involves cracking down on gun dealers. The U.S. has witnessed mass shootings on a weekly basis this year, according to Gun Violence Archive data.

By the numbers: Kentucky and Illinois were the top two for most firearm background checks in 2020, both numerically and per capita. Those checks are one of the best metrics for measuring gun buying in the U.S.

  • A record number of people were blocked from buying guns because of the background check system last year, at more than 300,000, the AP reported.
  • The number of background checks conducted each month has risen over the years, and March set a new record at nearly 4.7 million.