Don McGahn. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House counsel Pat Cipollone has instructed former counsel Don McGahn to withhold subpoenaed documents from the House Judiciary Committee.

Driving the news: In a letter to McGahn's lawyer, Cipollone said that the White House provided documents to McGahn as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation with the understanding that they would remain under control of the White House "for all purposes." As such, Cipollone argues that the committee must negotiate with the White House, and that President Trump has the right to invoke executive privilege and prevent the records from being disclosed.

  • McGahn's lawyer William Burck subsequently wrote a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) informing him of the White House's decision.

Why it matters: Interviews with McGahn, who cooperated for more than 30 hours with the special counsel's office, are cited in the Mueller report 157 times — more than any other witness. Refusals from McGahn — and other top White House staffers — to obey presidential directives are part of the reason that Trump may have avoided obstructing justice.

The big picture: Trump's White House has moved to a strategy of simply ignoring congressional subpoenas, highlighting a key limitation of congressional oversight — there's not much Democrats can do if the Trump administration says no to everything. And attempts to hold members of previous administrations in contempt of Congress all fizzled, setting the stage for protracted legal battles.

  • Trump said in an interview with Fox News last week that McGahn and other administration officials should not testify before Congress: "They've testified for many hours, all of them. I would say, it's done ... They shouldn't be looking anymore."

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10 mins ago - World

The 53 countries supporting China's crackdown on Hong Kong

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Rolex/Pool/Getty Images

China's foreign ministry and state media have declared victory after 53 countries joined a statement at the UN Human Rights Council supporting Beijing's new national security law for Hong Kong — compared to 27 who criticized the law.

The big picture: The list of 53 countries was not initially published along with the statement, but has been obtained by Axios. It is made up primarily of autocratic states, including North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Zimbabwe.

CO2 emissions may have peaked, but that's not enough

Reproduced from DNV GL; Chart: Axios Visuals

More analysts are making the case that COVID-19 could be an inflection point for oil use and carbon emissions, but it's hardly one that puts the world on a sustainable ecological path.

Driving the news: The risk advisory firm DNV GL, citing the pandemic's long-term effects on energy consumption, projects in a new analysis that global CO2 emissions "most likely" peaked in 2019.

U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs last month, while the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% from 13.3% in May, according to government data released Thursday.

The state of play: While the labor market showed more signs of recovery when the government’s survey period ended in early June, the lag means that more recent developments, like the surge in coronavirus cases and resultant closures in some states, aren't captured in this data.