Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton did not appear for his closed-door deposition on Thursday, instead telling the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry that he would challenge a potential subpoena for his testimony in court.

Why it matters: A House Intelligence Committee official said that Democrats have "no interest in allowing the administration to play a rope-a-dope with us in the courts for months," and that the White House's decision to block Bolton from testifying will be used as further evidence of obstruction for a potential article of impeachment.

The big picture: House Democrats on Wednesday withdrew a subpoena for Charles Kupperman, a former aide to Bolton who had asked a court to determine whether he should cooperate with the inquiry or follow a White House order blocking him from testifying.

  • With House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff's announcement Wednesday that the committee will begin public impeachment hearings next week, it appears Democrats believe they already have enough evidence to proceed without the testimony of White House officials fighting subpoenas.

Go deeper: Adam Schiff announces first public impeachment hearings

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Case growth outpacing testing in coronavirus hotspots

Data: The COVID Tracking Project. Note: Vermont and Hawaii were not included because they have fewer than 20 cases per day. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't due to increased testing — particularly not where cases have grown fastest over the last month.

Why it matters: The U.S. doesn't yet know what it looks like when a pandemic rages on relatively unchecked after the health system has become overwhelmed. It may be about to find out.

The impending retail apocalypse

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Because of the coronavirus and people's buying habits moving online, retail stores are closing everywhere — often for good.

Why it matters: Malls are going belly up. Familiar names like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have filed for bankruptcy. Increasingly, Americans' shopping choices will boil down to a handful of internet Everything Stores and survival-of-the-fittest national chains.

Biden campaign using Instagram to mobilize celebrity supporters

Collins appears on the Build live interview series in November 2019. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is launching a new initiative today that will draft Hollywood celebrities for Instagram Live chats with campaign officials and other Biden supporters.

Why it matters: The campaign, called #TeamJoeTalks, is an attempt to open up a new front on social media, drawing on celebrities’ Instagram followers to help find and motivate voters while large parts of the country remain locked down.