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Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Former communications director Hope Hicks is returning to the White House as counselor to the president, an administration official confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Hicks was one of President Trump's closest and most loyal aides before she resigned in March 2018, working with Trump dating back to the launch of his campaign in 2015.

  • Hicks was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller's team multiple times as part of his investigation into Russian interference and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
  • After leaving the White House, Hicks also testified before the House Judiciary Committee, where Democrats claimed White House lawyers blocked her from answering questions 155 times.

Details: Rather than returning to the communications office she once lead, Hicks will report to senior adviser Jared Kushner and work alongside political director Brian Jack. She will work on Kushner's portfolio, which includes the re-election campaign.

Between the lines, per Axios' Jonathan Swan: Bringing back Hicks — somebody Trump has often said he wished would return — is a sign Trump wants to be surrounded by his original loyalists heading into re-election.

What they're saying: "There is no one more devoted to implementing President Trump's agenda than Hope Hicks," Kushner said in a statement to the New York Times. "We are excited to have her back on the team."

Go deeper

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

CBC members nix border visit

A Haitian migrant carries a toddler on his shoulders today as he crosses the Rio Grande River. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus weighed visiting the U.S.-Mexico border this week to investigate the conditions faced by Haitian migrants and protest allegations of inhumane treatment by U.S. agents.

Why it matters: It's a thorny proposition both in terms of timing and messaging. Going assures a new wave of negative headlines for President Biden amid sinking popularity. And with congressional deadlines in the coming days over infrastructure, a possible government shutdown and debt-limit crisis, Democrats can't afford to lose any votes in the House.