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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

House Democrats head into next week's public stage of the impeachment inquiry armed with closed-door testimony from witnesses who mostly corroborated each other — and the whistleblower.

Why it matters: Democrats said this week they have no intention of pursuing subpoenas for former national security adviser John Bolton or his deputy, signaling they already believe they have enough evidence to proceed without hearing from White House witnesses who have refused to cooperate.

  • In fact, instead of fighting that defiance in court, Democrats plan to use the refusals as evidence of obstruction for a likely article of impeachment.

Here are the common facts we learned from the six transcripts released this week:

  • Career officials were disturbed by an irregular foreign policy channel toward Ukraine driven by Rudy Giuliani.
  • They largely viewed the allegations that led to the ouster of Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch as a baseless smear campaign promoted by Giuliani, his associates and members of the right-wing media.
  • Witnesses acknowledge that there appeared to be a quid pro quo involving a White House visit for Ukraine’s president, conditioned on the announcement of investigations into President Trump's political opponents.
  • They differ on whether military aid was also used as leverage. But key diplomats intimately involved in discussions with Ukraine believe it was.

Go deeper ... Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. students fell 4 to 5 months behind during pandemic

An empty classroom in Pinole, Calif. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Elementary school students in the U.S. ended the school year four to five months behind their expected level of academic achievement, according to a new report.

Why it matters: Months of school closures and often inferior remote education eroded what schoolchildren would have learned since the pandemic began, and caused some to go backwards.

Updated 59 mins ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

🚨: Simone Biles pulls out of gymnastics team finals citing her mental health

🏄‍♀️: American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

🎾: Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament

⚽️: USA women's soccer ties Australia, propelling them to the quarterfinals

🏉: USA men's rugby knocked out after blowing 21-0 lead to Great Britain

🏊‍♀️: Teen swimmer Lydia Jacoby wins first U.S. women's Tokyo Games gold

👟: World Athletics president supports reviewing marijuana rules in doping

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker

CDC: Vaccinated people in COVID hotspots should resume wearing masks

CDC director Rochelle Walensky and top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci at a Senate HELP committee hearing. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance on Tuesday recommending that vaccinated people wear masks in indoor, public settings if they are in parts of the U.S. with substantial to high transmission, among other circumstances.

Why it matters: The guidance, a reversal from recommendations made two months ago, comes as the Delta variant continues to drive up case rates across the country. Millions of people in the U.S. — either by choice or who are ineligible — remain unvaccinated and at risk of serious infection.