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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

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk."

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

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Butterball CEO Jay Jandrain talks turkey

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Axios Re:Cap talks with the turkey giant's CEO Jay Jandrain about what people are buying, what they're asking the "Turkey Talkline" and what the pandemic has meant for his business.

Biden introduces top national security team

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Tuesday at an event introducing the incoming administration's top national security officials, where he told the story of his stepfather being the only one of 900 children at his school in Poland to survive the Holocaust.

What they're saying: "At the end of the war, he made a break from a death march into the woods in Bavaria. From his hiding place, he heard a deep rumbling sound. It was a tank. But instead of the iron cross, he saw painted on its side a five pointed white star," Blinken said.

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