Pompeo with Hariri (L). Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday to pass a strong warning to the Lebanese government that Israel will hold it responsible if Hezbollah attacks Israel, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's secretary-general, threatened to attack Israel in retaliation for a drone attack over the weekend on the organization's headquarters in Beirut. Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah are now at their highest point since the 2006 war.

Driving the news: Israel did not formally take responsibility for Sunday's drone attack. Nasrallah said it failed and only damaged the organization's media office. Israeli officials claim it hit a much more important target.

  • Israeli officials tell me Netanyahu told Pompeo in their phone call on Sunday that he should convey to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri that if Hezbollah attacks Israel, Israel won't differentiate between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government and will retaliate against the Lebanese state as a whole.
  • Pompeo spoke by phone with Hariri yesterday and passed on the message. 

The big picture: The Trump administration is supportive of Israeli efforts to counter Hezbollah and has put new sanctions on many members of the organization in the last 2 years. However, the administration has been careful not the harm relations with the Lebanese government and cooperates closely with the Lebanese army.

The latest: After Pompeo's call with Netanyahu, the State Department issued a statement that focused on Israeli airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria and didn't mention Lebanon at all.

  • According to the Lebanese prime minister's office, though, Pompeo told Hariri it was necessary to prevent any escalation as a result of the drone attack. According to the Lebanese statement, Pompeo called for all sides to help “prevent any form of deterioration."

Go deeper

Bill Clinton slams McConnell and Trump: "Their first value is power"

Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) vow to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat before the next presidential inauguration "superficially hypocritical."

The big picture: Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the court in 1993, declined to say whether he thinks Democrats should respond by adding more justices if they take back the Senate and the White House in November. Instead, he called on Republicans to "remember the example Abraham Lincoln set" by not confirming a justice in an election year.

Pelosi: Trump wants to "crush" ACA with Ginsburg replacement

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that President Trump is rushing to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he "wants to crush the Affordable Care Act."

Why it matters: Pelosi wants to steer the conversation around the potential Ginsburg replacement to health care, which polls show is a top issue for voters, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration has urged the courts to strike down the law, and with it, protections for millions with pre-existing conditions.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' Armageddon option

A makeshift memorial outside the Supreme Court yesterday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Furious Democrats are considering total war — profound changes to two branches of government, and even adding stars to the flag — if Republicans jam through a Supreme Court nominee then lose control of the Senate.

On the table: Adding Supreme Court justices ... eliminating the Senate's 60-vote threshold to end filibusters ... and statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. "If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021," Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) tweeted.