White House counsel Pat Cipollone and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Trump officials say they feel especially bullish about one key argument against calling additional impeachment witnesses: It could compromise America's national security.

The big picture: People close to the president say their most compelling argument to persuade nervous Republican senators to vote against calling new witnesses is the claim that they're protecting national security.

Why it matters: They're banking on it to speed up the trial, according to people close to the president.

What we're hearing: White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who considers himself a civil libertarian, is expected to argue that the obstruction of Congress article is dangerous and could forever undermine the power of the executive office to protect privileged information.

  • Cipollone will likely frame the Senate trial as a defining moment to set the precedent for executive privilege, especially on national security matters, per a source familiar with his thinking.
  • This approach is something Cipollone is particularly proud of, and one that he is happy to test in court, the source said.
  • The argument: Presidential claims of executive privilege are especially strong when they involve conversations about national security.
  • Weakening that privilege would make presidents less candid when they seek counsel from their advisers on national security (think John Bolton).

The bottom line: Sources close to Trump's legal team have privately expressed confidence that former national security adviser Bolton will ultimately honor Trump's assertion of executive privilege.

Go deeper: Trump's concede-nothing defense

Go deeper

John Roberts' long game

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is not the revolutionary that conservative activists want him to be.

He moves slower than they want, sides with liberals more than they want, and trims his sails in ways they find maddening. But he is still deeply and unmistakably conservative, pulling the law to the right — at his own pace and in his own image.

33 mins ago - Health

The U.S.' new default coronavirus strategy: herd immunity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

By letting the coronavirus surge through the population with only minimal social distancing measures in place, the U.S. has accidentally become the world’s largest experiment in herd immunity.

Why it matters: Letting the virus spread while minimizing human loss is doable, in theory. But it requires very strict protections for vulnerable people, almost none of which the U.S. has established.

Airline recovery falters before it even gets off the ground

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Any hope for a rebound in air travel this year has vanished, with coronavirus cases surging in much of the U.S. and some states imposing quarantines to keep visitors away.

Why it matters: The airline industry is already suffering the worst crisis in its history. The soaring infection rates mean planes will be grounded even longer, putting tens of thousands of people out of work in the coming months.