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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Attorney General Jeff Sesssions, Donald Trump, Melania Trump. Photo: Mandel Ngan / Getty

The White House is hosting a roundtable on sanctuary cities Tuesday afternoon with the President, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of the Department of Homeland Security, Republican lawmakers and others, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Conservatives tried to use this week’s massive government spending bill to cut federal funds from sanctuary cities, but they failed, according to sources involved in the process. But Trump officials want to use Tuesday’s event to highlight the issue and put pressure on cities that don't comply with federal immigration law enforcement.

The roundtable guest list:

  • Donald Trump
  • Mike Pence
  • John Kelly
  • Stephen Miller
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  • DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
  • ICE acting Director Tom Homan
  • Gene Hamilton, Counselor to the Attorney General
  • Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
  • Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
  • Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
  • Texas AG Ken Paxton (R-TX)
  • Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge
  • Members of the law enforcement community

Big picture: The Department of Justice is already suing the state of California for the state’s “radical” sanctuary cities law. And In his speech on Monday, President Trump blamed sanctuary cities for releasing criminals, drug dealers and gang members back into society, claiming that "ending sanctuary cities is crucial to stopping the drug addiction crisis."

Flashback: Last month, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned residents of an incoming ICE raid. This infuriated ICE officials and Jeff Sessions.

    • ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan claimed 800 targeted undocumented immigrants evaded ICE officers because of Schaaf's warning, which prompted a San Francisco ICE spokesperson to resign because he found the number misleading and reportedly asked for a correction.
    • Shortly after, Sessions announced that the DOJ had filed a lawsuit against California, and personally attacked Shaaf in his speech, saying she endangered the lives of law enforcement to promote her "radical open borders agenda."

Go deeper

CPAC Republicans choose conservatism over constituents

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

Border Democrat warns Biden about immigrant fallout

Henry Cuellar (right). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A Democratic lawmaker representing a border district warned the Biden administration against easing up too much on unauthorized immigrants, citing their impact on his constituents, local hospitals and their potential to spread the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios he supports President Biden. But the moderate said he sees the downsides of efforts to placate pro-immigrant groups, an effort that threatens to blow up on the administration.

In CPAC speech, Trump says he won't start a 3rd party

Trump at CPAC on Feb. 28 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Courtesy of C-SPAN.

In his first public speech since leaving office, former President Trump told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he would not start a third party because "we have the Republican party."

Why it matters: The former president aims to cement himself as Republicans' "presumptive 2024 nominee" as his top contenders — including former members of his administration — face the challenge of running against the GOP's most popular politician.

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