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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

White House counsel Pat Cipollone said that Congress has no right to a "do-over" of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and other investigations undertaken by the Justice Department in a letter sent to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Cipollone's letter will further escalate the war between the Trump administration and House Democrats, who are attempting to obtain the unredacted copy of Mueller's report as well as access to the sources and witnesses that helped to form its conclusions.

The key quote from Cipollone's letter:

"Congressional investigations are intended to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or to pursue an unauthorized 'do-over' of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice."

The big picture: While the letter does not invoke executive privilege over any of the documents requested — and leaves the door open to a more narrow request from House Democrats — White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said last week that President Trump "has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege" over the full, unredacted Mueller report itself.

  • "The president isn’t above the law but he also isn’t below the law," a senior White House official said in a background press briefing on Wednesday.
  • The official also denied that the administration's stonewalling is intended to "goad Congress" into launching impeachment proceedings, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of doing last week.

The other side: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) told CNN that the White House is "claiming that the president is a king. No president, no person in the United States is above the law. This is preposterous."

  • He added: "They are saying we should end the investigation. We are not ending the investigation. If we were to agree to that, then no president would ever be subject to any kind of investigation for misconduct of any type."

Read the full letter:

Go deeper: Explore a detailed view of the Mueller report

Go deeper

14 mins ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

Congress passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate voted 69-28 to pass legislation Thursday night to fund the government until February 18.

Why it matters: The move staves off a government shutdown but lawmakers still have a busy month ahead: Congress needs to work out a deal to raise the debt ceiling in a few weeks and Democrats are trying to pass their behemoth social spending bill.

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