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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Image

White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to top House Democrats on Thursday rejecting their request for documents related to President Trump's conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Politico reports.

Details: Addressing the chairs of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, Cipollone argued: “The committees’ letters cite no legal authority for the proposition that another branch of the government can force the president to disclose diplomatic communications with foreign leaders or that supports forcing disclosure of the confidential internal deliberations of the president’s national security advisors."

Cipollone continued:

"With all respect, the Constitution assigns the President the role of charting the course of U.S. foreign policy and determining which diplomatic communications advance the national interest. Policy disagreements with the President's decisions on those matters do not create a legislative right to review the President's diplomatic communications with foreign leaders."

Why it matters: The Washington Post reported earlier this year that Trump has repeatedly sought to conceal the details of his face-to-face conversations with Putin from senior officials in his own administration, even going as far as to confiscate notes from his own interpreter. In the context of the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to the Russian government, Democrats have said they find this behavior alarming.

The big picture: The White House has now rejected oversight requests from congressional Democrats at least three times. Cipollone sent a similar letter earlier this month refusing to turn over documents related to White House security clearances.

Go deeper

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt will not seek re-election in 2022

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) will not run for re-election in 2022, he announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: The 71-year-old senator is the No. 4-ranking Republican in the Senate, and the fifth GOP senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2022 as the party faces questions about its post-Trump future.

32 mins ago - Health

Popular independent COVID tracker officially ends daily updates

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer group of data analysts, researchers, and journalists brought together by The Atlantic, published its final daily update on Monday — the one-year anniversary of its founding.

Why it matters: The project quickly became a vital resource for news media, academic researchers, and everyday Americans to track COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the absence of reliable and public data from the federal government.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Energy and climate move closer to center stage on Capitol Hill

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The imminent enactment of Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package creates space for lawmakers and the White House to craft infrastructure plans with big climate and energy-related provisions.

Why it matters: President Biden, during the campaign, vowed to make low-carbon energy, climate-resilient infrastructure and transportation projects a big focus of an economic recovery package. And the Texas power crisis could give fresh momentum to investments in grid modernization.

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