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Kris Kobach in Emporia, Kansas, in October 2018. Photo: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told the New York Times last year that President Trump gave his "blessing" to a Steve Bannon-guided campaign to privately fund a wall along the southern border.

Why it matters: The "We Build the Wall" project ultimately resulted in Bannon's arrest on fraud charges on Thursday, alongside three others, and Kobach's statement over a year ago highlights the president's closeness to many involved with it.

  • There is nothing to indicate that Trump knew anything about the alleged fraud carried out by Bannon and his associates.
  • The White House did not respond to requests for comment from the Times last year about the claims from Kobach, who served as the project's general counsel on its advisory board and has run failed campaigns in Kansas for both Senate and governor.
  • "President Trump has not been involved with Steve Bannon since the campaign and the early part of the administration, and he does not know the people involved with this project," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement on Thursday.

The big picture: "We Built the Wall" counted a number of conservatives in Trump's orbit on its advisory board, including Bannon, Kobach, Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Sheriff David Clarke.

Go deeper

Kayleigh McEnany: Trump will accept "free and fair" election, no answer on if he loses

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday that President Trump will "accept the results of a free and fair election," but did not specify whether he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Trump refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power, instead remarking, "we're going to have to see what happens."

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

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