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U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump's legal team is making a bold new claim in a letter to Robert Mueller that says he can't obstruct the Russia investigation because his presidential authority is so broad that it makes obstruction impossible, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: That claim would push the boundaries of executive power and probably set up a legal fight over whether he can be ordered to answer questions. The letter from the president's legal team claims that the Constitution gives Trump the power to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”

Yes, but: Trump's team is not claiming to be above the law: "Of course, the president of the United States is not above the law, but just as obvious and equally as true is the fact that the president should not be subjected to strained readings and forced applications of clearly irrelevant statutes,” Trump's lawyers John Dowd and Jay Sekulow wrote in the letter.

One more thing: The lawyers added a significant admission — that Trump dictated the statement to the New York Times that said the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, in which Donald Trump Jr. and other advisers met with a Russian who was said to have dirt on Hillary Clinton, was "primarily" about adoption issues. Trump's lawyers said the statement was "short but accurate."

Go deeper: Read the annotated letter.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan discussed Saudi-Israel normalization with MBS

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg and Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised normalization with Israel during his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three U.S. and Arab sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia would be the biggest regional player to sign onto the "Abraham Accords" peace agreement with Israel, and such a major breakthrough would likely convince other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.

Tech's leaky world

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech companies are learning what everyone in Washington already knows: Leaks of confidential info are inevitable, and "plumbing" operations to close them rarely work.

Why it matters: Most tech firms talk up the power of transparency but prefer to keep details of their operations secret from competitors and the public. Researchers, regulators and the media are increasingly relying on information provided by dissident employees and whistleblowers to see inside companies' workings.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Harris wants more union membership in fed workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a virtual town hall with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Oct. 14. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will today announce new guidelines to encourage federal workers to join unions, according to a White House official.

Why it matters: The Biden administration wants to bolster the collective bargaining power of workers across the country – and they are starting at home, with changes in the federal workforce.