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Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

White House Communications Director "Hope Hicks, the discreet aide always at President Trump’s side whose desk is just outside the Oval Office, ... has worked with Trump longer than anyone he is not related to at the White House," the WashPost's Mary Jordan and Josh Dawsey write.

Why she matters: "Hicks wields considerable power as Trump’s gatekeeper and is often the last to see him every day as she walks him back to his residence."

  • "[I]t is a sign of her influence with Trump, and her unusual role in the West Wing, that no one is seriously talking about removing Hicks even as the turmoil is threatening Kelly’s job."
  • The background: "As a teen, she modeled for Ralph Lauren. After graduating from Southern Methodist University, she worked for a PR firm that counted the Trump Organization as a client. The Trumps persuaded her to work directly for the family business; among other duties, she helped publicize Ivanka Trump’s fashion and accessory line."

P.S. N.Y. Times, "As Other Aides Face Trump’s Ire Over Rob Porter’s Departure, Hope Hicks Is Praised," by Katie Rogers:

  • Trump in a statement released through a spokesman: “Hope is absolutely fantastic ... She was with the campaign from the beginning, and I could not ask for anything more. Hope is smart, very talented and respected by all.”

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

9 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios