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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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

Biden administration seeks to allow separated migrant families to reunite in U.S.

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced Monday that the Biden administration will explore "lawful pathways" to allow migrant families separated under the Trump administration to reunite in the U.S.

Why it matters: Biden has pledged to reunite the hundreds of families still separated as a result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, and signed an executive order last month creating a family separation task force chaired by Mayorkas.

CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions

CDC director Rochelle Walensky warned states on Monday that "now is not the time" to lift public health restrictions, as the recent dramatic declines in coronavirus cases and deaths "appear to be stalling."

Why it matters: While the average of 70,000 new infections and 2,000 daily deaths is nowhere near the extremely high levels recorded at the start of 2021, the figures are still a poor baseline to "stop a potential fourth surge" — especially with the threat posed by more contagious new variants, Walensky warned.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduces "ultra-millionaire" wealth tax bill

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday introduced a bill in the Senate that would impose a new tax on the assets of America's wealthiest individuals.

Why it matters: The plan, which Warren introduced along with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) is similar to a proposal that was the centerpiece of Warren's campaign for the presidency in 2020.

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