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Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

In an exit interview with the L.A. Times, White House chief of staff John Kelly argued that his tenure is "best measured by what the president did not do when Kelly was at his side," including a hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, immigration and security reporter Molly O'Toole writes.

The bottom line: "Trump sometimes pressed his advisors on the limits of his authority under the law, often asking Kelly, 'Why can’t we do it this way?’ But Trump never ordered him to do anything illegal, Kelly stressed," O'Toole writes. Kelly leaves Wednesday after 17 months in the West Wing.

As for the border wall, which is at the center of debate during the government shutdown: "To be honest, it’s not a wall," Kelly said.

  • O'Toole writes that one of Kelly's first acts after becoming secretary of Homeland Security in early 2017 was to "seek advice from those who 'actually secure the border,' Customs and Border Protection agents who Kelly calls 'salt-of-the-earth...'"
  • Those people told Kelly that the U.S. needs "a physical barrier in certain places, we need technology across the board, and we need more people.'"
  • Kelly told O'Toole: "The president still says 'wall' — [increasingly] he’ll say 'barrier' or 'fencing,' now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we [abandoned the idea of] a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it."

"Asked if there is a security crisis at the Southern border, or whether Trump has drummed up fears of a migrant 'invasion' for political reasons, Kelly did not answer directly, but said, 'We do have an immigration problem,'" O'Tool writes.

Go deeper

Updated 39 mins ago - Economy & Business

Ubisoft workers demand company accountability in open letter

Photo: Frederic Brown / Getty Images

Close to 500 current and former employees of “Assassin’s Creed” publisher Ubisoft are standing in solidarity with protesting game developers at Activision Blizzard with a letter that criticizes their company's handling of sexual misconduct.

Why it matters: Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard workers are framing the actions as part of a bigger movement meant to have lasting change in the industry and its culture.

Companies deploy tech to prevent retail crime

Customers in a Home Depot in Pleasanton, California, in February 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Retailers have a new edge for fighting theft: They're using technology to disable stolen goods — from iPhones to Black & Decker drills — and render them useless.

Why it matters: Organized retail crime has a considerable affect on retailers every year, costing them an average of $719,000 per $1 billion dollars in sales, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Podcasts

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek does a podcast on the future of podcasts

Spotify on Wednesday reported significant ad revenue growth from its podcast business, as part of its quarterly earnings disclosure.

Take a listen: Company founder and CEO Daniel Ek appeared on the Axios Re:Cap podcast to discuss how the podcast business model is changing, why he's spending big on exclusive shows and his personal favorites in both podcasting and music.