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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."

McConnell circulates revised GOP coronavirus stimulus plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks with reporters in the Mansfield Room at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell circulated a new framework for coronavirus stimulus legislation to Republican members on Tuesday that would establish a fresh round of funding for the small business Paycheck Protection Program and implement widespread liability protections, according to a copy of the plan obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The revised GOP relief draft comes after McConnell's meeting with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, during which they went over in detail what provisions would get backing from President Trump.

Barr appoints special counsel to continue investigating origins of Russia probe

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr told the AP on Tuesday he appointed veteran prosecutor John Durham as a special counsel on Oct. 19 to continue investigating the origins of the FBI's 2016 probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Why it matters: It's an extra layer of protection for Durham to continue investigating possible misconduct by Obama-era intelligence officials past Joe Biden's inauguration as president.

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