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Photo: Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images

Charles Cooper, an attorney who represents former national security adviser John Bolton and his deputy Charles Kupperman, argued Tuesday that a ruling that found former White House counsel Don McGahn must comply with a congressional subpoena does not apply to national security officials.

Why it matters: House Democrats had hoped that Bolton and other officials may use the ruling, which is being appealed, to justify cooperating with the impeachment inquiry.

The big picture: Cooper argues that because Democrats in the McGahn lawsuit emphasized they were not seeking testimony involving "the sensitive topics of national security or foreign affairs," the ruling is not authoritative on the "validity of testimonial immunity" for national security advisers to the president.

  • He adds that Kupperman will continue to pursue his own lawsuit to seek an "authoritative and binding judicial ruling" on whether to comply with a House subpoena or an order from the White House.
  • It could be months until the lawsuit is resolved, however, and Democrats have signaled that they will not wait for the case to play out in the courts before concluding the impeachment inquiry.
  • Worth noting: Cooper's statement never explicitly mentions Bolton by name.

What he's saying:

"In McGahn, the House Judiciary Committee emphasized to the district court that the information it sought from Mr. McGahn “did not involve the sensitive topics of national security or foreign affairs.” Therefore, any passing references in the McGahn decision (instead of court’s opinion) to Presidential communications concerning national security matters are not authoritative on the validity of testimonial immunity for close White House advisors, like Dr. Kupperman, whose responsibilities are focused exclusively on providing information and advice to the President on national security."

Go deeper: Judge rejects White House theory of "absolute immunity" from congressional subpoenas

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
6 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

7 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.