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Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump's surprise decision this morning to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military was fast-tracked in order to save a House spending bill — imperiled by a dispute over Pentagon-funded gender reassignment treatment for transgender military personnel — that would fund some of his key promises, including a border wall, per Politico.

  • Conservative Republicans asked more moderate figures, including Paul Ryan and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, to intervene to prevent the Pentagon from funding gender reassignment treatments, but found themselves consistently rebuffed — leading them to contact the White House directly.
  • More than expected: Trump's decision to apparently expel all transgender individuals from military service was far beyond what conservative Republicans were asking for regarding the spending bill.
  • A key quote: A senior House Republican aide told Politico, ""This is like someone told the White House to light a candle on the table and the WH set the whole table on fire."

Go deeper

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.

19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Lawmakers hide behind AG's investigation as Cuomo lingers

A billboard outside Albany, N.Y. Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is politically wounded but not yet dead, several state lawmakers tell Axios.

The state of play: Most are holding their fire and punting to state Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations. They expect the inquiry to be credible and thorough — and buy Cuomo badly needed breathing room.

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