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Kevin McAleenan delivers remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations on Sept. 23, 2019. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday evening that acting Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan will leave his position and move into "the private sector" after 6 months in the role.

The big picture: Trump has been wary of McAleenan, whom he associates with the Obama administration, officials told Axios in August. McAleenan, the former commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, took over the acting role following Kirstjen Nielsen’s abrupt resignation.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Stef Kight: Many in the administration and conservative circles have distrusted McAleenan's commitment to Trump’s immigration agenda — despite significant declines in border numbers and McAleenan's role in implementing several big immigration policies, such as the recently blocked public charge rule and asylum deals with Central American nations.

Flashback: While in the role, McAleenan signed an asylum agreement with El Salvador to force Central American migrants who pass through the country to first seek asylum there or be sent back to the country once they reach the U.S.

  • On the Trump administration's recent proposal to cut the number of refugees permitted to resettle in the U.S. next year to just 18,000, McAleenan said the refugee cap would allow DHS "to focus on addressing the ongoing crisis at the southern border, reducing a staggering asylum backlog that unfairly delays relief for those with meritorious claims..."

The bottom line: No president in recent history has started his tenure with as many extended Cabinet vacancies as Trump, who has been happy to fill many positions with "acting" officials, saying it "gives me more flexibility."

Go deeper

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.

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