Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday arguing that former communications director Hope Hicks is "absolutely immune from being compelled to testify before Congress with respect to matters occurring during her service as a senior adviser to the President."

Why it matters: The White House has asserted executive privilege in an effort block Hicks and all other current and former Trump officials from complying with subpoenas from House Democrats. Hicks is the first official who will testify — albeit in a closed-door setting — in the committee's investigation into Trump's potential obstruction of justice.

  • Cipollone argues that Hicks' testimony "creates an inherent and substantial risk of inadvertent or coerced disclosure of confidential information." He also contends that questions about Hicks' work on the transition team are covered by executive privilege because they relate to decisions that Trump would later make as president.
  • It's unlikely that this last-ditch effort by the White House to block Hicks' testimony will have any impact on how House Democrats on the committee proceed. Per CNN, a White House official will be in the room during the testimony, and Democrats plan to engage in an "on-the-spot" negotiation if executive privilege is asserted for a particular question.

In a closed-door interview on Wednesday, the committee plan to question Hicks about five incidents of potential obstruction, Politico reports. Hicks, who has already turned over some documents to the committee, was a key witness to several of the most explosive episodes detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report, including the firing of FBI director James Comey and Trump's efforts to remove Mueller.

  • A transcript of the interview could be made public within 48 hours, aides told Politico.

Read the letter:

Go deeper

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging. Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk — Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — U.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  4. World: Australian city to exit one of world's longest lockdowns — In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe
  5. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine after possible COVID-19 exposure
  6. Nonprofit: Rockefeller Foundation commits $1 billion for COVID-19 recovery
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Bond investors see brighter days

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. government bonds could breakout further after yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note ticked up to their highest since early June last week.

But, but, but: Strategists say this move is about an improving outlook for economic growth rather than just inflation.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

The dangerous instability of school re-openings

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Schools across the country have flip-flopped between in-person and remote learning — and that instability is taking a toll on students' ability to learn and their mental health.

The big picture: While companies were able to set long timelines for their return, schools — under immense political and social strain — had to rush to figure out how to reopen. The cobbled-together approach has hurt students, parents and teachers alike.