Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

The Trump administration is going to war with California. And it’s just getting started.

Why it matters: The bluest state in the U.S. has managed to wield the power of the courts to impede the President’s agenda on immigration, the environment and more. And the White House and Jeff Sessions are fighting back. 

The latest: This week, California Governor Jerry Brown agreed to accept the Department of Defense's funds to send additional National Guard troops to fight "transnational crime," although he was careful to clarify they would not necessarily be sent to the border — as President Trump has called for.

  • California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed 31 lawsuits against the Trump Administration, with 15 legal victories, according to Becerra's office. About half of the lawsuits are over environmental issues, but suits also address issues ranging from immigration, birth control, the transgender military ban and student rights.
“We’re not looking to pick a fight but when the White House threatens our values, we’re ready!”
California AG Becerra

Other injunctions have blocked the Trump administration's actions on birth control access, the transgender military ban and environmental protections.


The heat was turned up between California and the Trump administration after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a warning to citizens of an impending ICE raid in the area, infuriating Sessions.

In a speech announcing DOJ's first lawsuit against California, Sessions personally attacked Schaaf, saying:

How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of law enforcement just to promote your radical open borders agenda

On Friday, DOJ sent a letter to Schaaf asking for information about Oakland’s sanctuary policies which could be in violation of federal law. DOJ “will not tolerate this intentional effort to undermine public safety and the rule of law.”


Three days after marijuana became legal in California, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the "Cole memo," which allowed states to legalize or decriminalize marijuana without federal interference despite federal law banning the use of marijuana.

Go deeper

Trump refuses to commit to peaceful transfer of power if he loses

President Trump repeatedly refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election to Joe Biden, saying at a press briefing: "We're going to have to see what happens."

The big picture: Trump has baselessly claimed on a number of occasions that the only way he will lose the election is if it's "rigged," claiming — without evidence — that mail-in ballots will result in widespread fraud. Earlier on Wednesday, the president said he wants to quickly confirm a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the election.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

The state of play: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 1 hour ago - World

U.S. no longer recognizes Lukashenko as legitimate president of Belarus

Lukashenko at his secret inauguration. Photo: Andrei Stasevich/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. no longer recognizes Aleksandr Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus, the State Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has clung to power with the support of Russia amid seven weeks of protests that have followed a blatantly rigged election. Fresh protests broke out Wednesday evening in Minsk after it emerged that Lukashenko had held a secret inauguration ceremony.

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