Apr 19, 2018

Trump threatens special California National Guard funding

A member of the Arizona National Guard talks on the phone. Photo: Caitlin O'Hara/AFP/Getty Images

Trump is threatening to retract funding that was approved for California's National Guard to support Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) missions on the border citing disagreements with Governor Jerry Brown over the troops' role.

Yes, but: The Trump administration is expected within the next few days to add additional missions that aren't border-specific to the National Guard's tasks in support of CBP, which could win over Governor Brown and indicate a more expansive, supportive relationship between the National Guard and CBP.

The additional tasks are likely to include helping with drug enforcement, cargo control and air and marine operations, according to a DHS official.

How we got here:
  • On Friday, Governor Brown released a memo accepting federal funding for the deployment of National Guard troops to help Customs and Border Patrol fight "transnational terrorism."
  • California National Guard troops were not deployed. The Governor's office told Axios they were waiting for a signed agreement from Defense Secretary James Mattis and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
  • The quarrels: Administration officialsincluding President Trump — claimed that California was refusing to aide in the requested border missions, but when Axios reached out to the California National Guard and the Governor's office, we were pointed back to the Governor's memo and told they are waiting for signatures.
  • DHS and DOD did not sign memos for the other states that deployed National Guard troops to the border.
  • On Wednesday evening, the governor announced he would send up to 400 troops within the state, on the coasts and at the southern border to fight transnational crime. He added that a signed memo from the administration was no longer necessary.
  • But on Thursday morning:

UPDATE: The California National Guard tweeted that the Pentagon has told them that they will continue to fund the mission and, "in short, nothing has changed today."

Go deeper: The ongoing saga between the Trump administration and California

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Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

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Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post at the end of the month, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

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