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Special counsel Robert Mueller at the Capitol. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will not voluntarily answer questions about obstruction of justice, gambling that Robert Mueller won’t have the stomach for a court fight.

A source close to Trump’s legal team tauntingly tells us it’s “Mueller’s moment of truth.”

  •  If Trump agrees to an interview with the special counsel, questions about obstruction of justice are a "no-go," Rudy Giuliani tells AP's Jonathan Lemire.

Wait! Bob Woodward's book (which won't even be in stores for four more days) ... the anonymous Times op-ed ... the confirmation hearing for a change-the-balance Supreme Court justice ... have been momentarily eclipsed?

  • That's right. In a high-stakes move designed to force Robert Mueller's hand, Giuliani said Trump won't answer the feds' questions — in writing or in person — about whether he tried to block the probe into Russian election interference.

Giuliani later seemed to backtrack, telling NBC News that those questions are "not ruled in or out."

Jonathan Swan reads between the lines:

  • Giuliani is daring Mueller to issue a subpoena.
  • The president's team is itching for the fight.
  • Trump's lawyers are betting that Mueller won’t have the heart for the multi-month court fight that would result from trying to compel the president to be interviewed.
  • The White House bet: Mueller will blink and ultimately issue an incomplete report, avoiding the stakes of a court battle.
  • The source close to the president's team explained: "Mueller backed off from a demand for a face-to-face, to get to a compromise of written Q-and-A on Russia. And Rudy still says no. What is Mueller to do now?"

A source with direct knowledge of the Trump’s legal team machinations said "there is no strategy" beyond the PR tactic of threatening Mueller, and attempting to bruise him as much as possible.

Meanwhile, Mueller stays quiet. And gets ready.

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Go deeper

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker