Updated Aug 20, 2018

First look: Pentagon, State alumni join Brennan clearance outcry

Former CIA Director John Brennan. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

With a third star-studded letter, more than 175 additional alumni of top national security jobs are joining the bipartisan outcry against President Trump's stripping of former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance.

Who's in ... An organizer tells me: "This third statement includes career officials — from Nick Rasmussen, former Director of NCTC, to Bill Burns, former Deputy Secretary of State, to Doug Wise, former Deputy Director of DIA, to political folks from both sides of the aisle — including Tony Lake, former National Security Advisor and Sean O’Keefe, former Secretary of the Navy and NASA Administrator as well as more than 10 former U.S. Ambassadors and more than 20 former U.S. Attorneys."

Michael Morell — former CIA acting director, and host of the CBS News "Intelligence Matters" podcast — tells me Trump's approach has backfired:

  • "People are essentially saying to the president: 'We will not be intimidated by you. For those of us who have been speaking up, we will continue to. And if we haven't been, we’re going to start speaking up.'"
  • "This is a great example of democracy — exactly what all these folks who signed the letters spent their lives defending."

Read the full letter.

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Federal court temporarily halts "Remain in Mexico" program

Migrant wearing a cap with U.S. flagin front of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Photo: Jair Cabrera Torres/picture alliance via Getty Image

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's earlier injunction on Friday, temporarily stopping the Trump administration from enforcing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of migrants seeking asylum have been forced to wait out their U.S. immigration court cases across the border in Mexico under the policy. The Trump administration has long credited this program for the decline in border crossings following record highs last summer.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: WHO raises global threat level to "very high"

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization raised its global risk assessment for the novel coronavirus to "very high" Friday, its highest risk level as countries struggle to contain it. Meanwhile, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow this morning tried to reassure the markets, which continued to correct amid growing fears of a U.S. recession.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected about 83,800 others in almost 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Bernie's plan to hike taxes on some startup employees

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced legislation that would tax nonqualified stock options at vesting, rather than at exercise, for employees making at least $130,000 per year.

The big picture: Select employees at private companies would be taxed on monies that they hadn't yet banked.