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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House is planning to send Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter as soon as Friday arguing that President Trump and his team can ignore lawmakers' demands until she holds a full House vote formally approving an impeachment inquiry, 2 sources familiar with the letter tell Axios.

Why it matters: By putting in writing the case that Trump and his supporters have been making verbally for days, the White House is preparing for a court fight and arguing to the public that its resistance to Congress' requests is justified.

  • Trump wants to force House Democrats in vulnerable races to be on the record if they favor pursuing impeachment, these sources tell us.
  • Republicans also say the minority party can exert more influence over hearings and other aspects of an inquiry once it is formalized with a vote.
  • By calling this an inquiry without holding a vote, Pelosi and the Democratic committee chairmen are having it both ways, one official said. "They want to be a little bit pregnant."

Worth noting: While a letter to Pelosi and the committee chairmen had been drafted, it had not been finalized or signed as of Thursday night.

Behind the scenes: Several White House lawyers spent a good chunk of their Thursday reviewing the language in the letter, expecting that it could find its way before a judge.

  • Meanwhile, Pelosi maintains that there "is no requirement under the Constitution, under House Rules, or House precedent that the whole House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry," as she stated in a Thursday letter to the House's Republican Leader, Kevin McCarthy.
  • "For several decades, impeachment investigations have frequently been conducted without a full vote,” Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne told Axios.
  • “Given that the President just this morning on national television urged yet another foreign government to meddle in our upcoming 2020 elections, we would think the White House would want to mount a rigorous defense of the President’s clear betrayal of his oath of office," a senior Democratic aide told Axios.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper: Pelosi responds to McCarthy's call to suspend impeachment inquiry

Go deeper

6 mins ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The United States announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.

Stuck jet stream brings blowtorch December in Lower 48, frigid Alaska

Short-term climate outlook for Dec. 13-19, 2021, from the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA. (NOAA/CPC)

The Lower 48 states have seen record-shattering warmth so far this December, with temperatures running as high as 35°F above average for this time of year. The warmth has been so pronounced that during the weekend, brush fires broke out in a snowless, unusually mild Denver metro area.

The big picture: The jet stream, which is a river of air that rides at about 30,000 feet along the temperature contrast between air masses, steering storms as it goes, has been stuck in a position well north of the continental U.S., keeping storms and cold weather at bay.

Ubisoft admits its handling of misconduct lost some workers' trust

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Ubisoft, IGDB

Ubisoft management is acknowledging that its initial response to an ongoing and wide-reaching workplace misconduct scandal was flawed, even as it argues that its corrective actions were largely swift and correct.

Why it matters: Those comments, in an exclusive interview with Axios, come amid recent pushback from workers that the publisher of Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance hasn’t sufficiently addressed a cascade of #MeToo allegations since mid-2020.

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