May 7, 2019

Pompeo makes unscheduled trip to Iraq amid escalating tensions with Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and U.S. State Department officials in Baghdad Tuesday. Photo: Mendel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an abrupt trip to Baghdad on Tuesday amid escalating tensions with Iran and reported security threats involving U.S. presence in the region, the Washington Post reports.

Details: The State Department reportedly said the unscheduled visit was due to "pressing issues," and according to AP, Pompeo explained that his trip was meant to reaffirm U.S. support for "a sovereign, independent" Iraq, free from the interference of neighboring Tehran. Pompeo also met with Iraq’s president and prime minister.

  • The Trump administration claims Iran is planning to retaliate against the United States' stepped-up sanctions, but the AP noted that "threat information remains vague." U.S. national Security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday that the U.S. is deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Persian Gulf to send "a clear and unmistakable message."
  • Iranian officials pushed back on U.S. claims that new intelligence shows Iran is planning attacks against the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf.

Go deeper: Trump's next moves to tank the Iranian economy

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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.