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President Trump. Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

President Trump told The Washington Post Tuesday he's against White House aides — past and present — testifying before congressional panels following the Mueller report findings.

There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan — obviously very partisan."

Why it matters: Trump's comments indicate a further escalation in the White House's power struggle with House Democrats, who've stepped up investigations into his administration.

The big picture: The Trump administration has taken several steps to block oversight by House Democrats this week.

  • Earlier Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin informed House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) the department would decide by May 6 whether to release Trump's tax returns to Congress — effectively ignoring Neal's April 23 deadline.
  • On Monday, the president and the Trump Organization sued House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings in an attempt to block Cummings' subpoena of Trump's longtime accountant, Mazars USA LLP.
  • Also on Monday, the White House directed former security clearance official Carl Kline not to comply with an Oversight subpoena. Cummings is moving to hold Kline in contempt of Congress.
  • And the administration plans on fighting a House Judiciary subpoena of former White House counsel Don McGahn.

Go deeper

House cancels Thursday session as FBI, Homeland Security warn of threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report reviewed by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says an unidentified group of extremists discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

33 mins ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).