Jan 11, 2018

Sessions to investigate support for Hezbollah

Barack Obama and Jeff Sessions after Obama addressed the National Prayer Breakfast February 2, 2012. Photo: Chris Kleponis-Pool / Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is launching "Project Cassandra" — a coordinated a team that will investigate individuals and entities that help Hezbollah, the Islamist group in Lebanon which Iran supports, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The Obama administration reportedly backed off and even hampered a Drug Enforcement Administration campaign targeting Hezbollah’s trafficking in order to secure the Iran nuclear deal, as Politico reported last month. Trump has said the deal gave Iran too many concessions, and critics will slam Sessions’ move as partisan.

Big picture: Losing sight of Hezbollah’s trafficking has security implications for U.S. awareness of Hezbollah’s work with not only Iran, but Russia, Venezuela, and Syria as well.

What the DOJ is saying: “The Justice Department will leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate threats to our citizens from terrorist organizations and to stem the tide of the devastating drug crisis,” Sessions said.

  • Sessions previously ordered a review of the law enforcement effort to target Hezbollah’s drug-trafficking and money-laundering programs.

Also about Iran ... The administration is expected to decide on whether to waive sanctions on the Iran deal this Friday, and despite Trump’s threats to cancel the deal over his concerns about Iran's behavior in the Middle East, he may very well waive the sanctions to allow Congress more time to develop a fix to the deal.

Go deeper

Tech can't remember what to do in a down market

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Wall Street's two-day-old coronavirus crash is a wakeup alarm for Silicon Valley.

The big picture: Tech has been booming for so long the industry barely remembers what a down market feels like — and most companies are ill-prepared for one.

Brace yourself for a coronavirus outbreak

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Public-health officials’ warnings about the coronavirus are sounding increasingly urgent, with one top CDC official asking the public yesterday "to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."

Reality check: Other administration officials, including President Trump himself, were more subdued in their assessments. But underneath those tonal differences, the reality of the coronavirus is the same: It spreads quickly, and has already spread to many countries, making it likely to start spreading here, too.

Go deeperArrow56 mins ago - Health

Exclusive: Pro-Trump group plans post-Super Tuesday blitz on Democrats

Democratic presidential hopefuls take the debate stage in South Carolina. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is preparing to unleash a series of targeted, swing-state attacks on the Democrats most likely to face President Trump after Super Tuesday, people familiar with the group's plans tell me in an exclusive preview of its strategy.

The state of play: The group has been tracking favorable/unfavorable ratings in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania for 2020 candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg — under the theory that if Trump wins each of these six states he would win re-election.