White House advisor Stephen Miller at an immigration roundtable with President Donald Trump and other officials in January. Photo: by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

White House officials tried to pressure immigration authorities into releasing detained immigrants into sanctuary cities in retaliation against President Trump’s Democratic rivals and "send a message," according to a Washington Post report late Thursday.

Details: Senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller reportedly pitched the proposal two times since November to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The plan was also intended to ease the bed shortage at detention centers and target Democratic strongholds, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district in San Francisco, sources at the Department of Homeland Security told the Washington Post.

  • ICE's legal department rebuffed the proposal, and a top official in the agency pointed out legal concerns, budget issues and "PR risks as well," per the Post, citing both emails and officials within DHS.
  • The proposal was reportedly first brought up on Nov. 16, and again in February amid the government shutdown.

A White House official and a DHS spokesman told the Post in two statements that the proposal is no longer being considered.

  • "This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion," the White House statement said.
  • Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne told the Post: "The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated. Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable."

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U.S. threatens to veto UN peacekeeping in Lebanon over Hezbollah concerns

Peacekeepers with Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon. Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration is threatening to veto a resolution to extend the UN's long-standing peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon if its mandate isn't changed, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: The U.S. is the main funder of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has an annual budget of $250 million. The veto threat is a tactical move, and part of a broader effort to put pressure on Iran and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 20,388,408 — Total deaths: 743,599— Total recoveries: 12,616,973Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 5,150,590 — Total deaths: 164,681 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits — U.S. producer prices rose last month by the most since October 2018.
  4. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.

Trump congratulates QAnon conspiracy theorist on GOP runoff win

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday tweeted congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal QAnon conspiracy theorist who won the Republican nomination in Georgia's deep-red 14th Congressional District runoff.

Why it matters: The president's approval illustrates how the once-fringe conspiracy theory has gained ground within the GOP. Greene is among the at least 11 GOP candidates for Congress who have openly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets, per Axios' Jacob Knutson.