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U.S. and Saudi Arabian flags. Photo: Ahmed Youssef Elsayed Abdelrehim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A team of "about a dozen" Green Berets are aiding Saudi Arabia in its fight against the Houthis in Yemen, according to a New York Times report.

Why it matters: The Pentagon has been asserting that U.S. involvement is limited to things like information sharing and aircraft refueling. But the Times reports that the Green Berets "are training Saudi ground troops to secure their border," and "helping locate and destroy caches of ballistic missiles and launch sites” that the Houthis have used to attack Saudi Arabia.

The big picture: The war in Yemen is a primary driver of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and the U.S. military appears to be more involved than originally explained.

  • Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, Pentagon spokeswoman told Axios: "The DOD's limited non-combat support, such as intelligence sharing, focuses on assisting our partners in securing their borders from cross-border attacks from the Houthis and improving coalition processes and procedures, especially regarding compliance with the law of armed conflict and best practices for reducing the risk of civilian casualties... We do not provide or vet Coalition targets, and there are currently no plans to provide offensive targeting support of any kind."
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, who introduced a resolution to pull U.S. support from the Saudis in Yemen's war, said in a statement to Axios: "[T]he article in today’s New York Times only adds to my strong concern that the Trump administration is getting the United States even more deeply involved in a war in Yemen without congressional authorization.  I will be seeking further clarification on these activities from the administration."

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Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

U.S. Chamber decides against political ban for Capitol insurrection

A pedestrian passes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters as it undergoes renovation. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

CDC lets child migrant shelters fill to 100% despite COVID concern

Intensive care tents at overflow shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control is allowing shelters handling child migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement that they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The fact that the country's premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded "facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."