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Trump, Sessions & GOP lawmakers to meet about sanctuary cities

Jeff Sessions claps behind Donald Trump's blurry profile at a speech
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."
Axios 4 hours ago
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Haley Britzky 5 hours ago
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Extremist with ties to 9/11 captured by U.S.-backed Syrian forces

Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stand guard on a rooftop.
Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces stand guard on a rooftop in Raqa on October 20, 2017. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a Syrian-born German extremist who is believed to have links to the 9/11 attacks, is being questioned by the Syrian Democratic Forces, NBC reported Wednesday, citing an AFP report, and CNN confirmed on Thursday.

Why it matters: Per CNN, Zammar "is believed to have recruited some of the perpetrators" for the 9/11 attacks. Zammar was "a well-known figure in the Muslim community (and to German and U.S. intelligence agencies by the late 1990s)," the 9/11 Commission Report stated, according to NBC. Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told CNN that Zammar "was captured more than a month ago by SDF partners as part of their ongoing operations to defeat ISIS inside Syria."