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.

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Campaign adviser argues Trump has "very good track record of hiring excellent people"

Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller insisted on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that overall, President Trump has "a very good track record of hiring excellent people."

Why it matters: Steve Bannon this week became the seventh 2016 Trump campaign official to face federal charges, after authorities said he was involved in a scheme to defraud donors of a private border wall construction project.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. EST: 32,135,220 — Total deaths: 981,660 — Total recoveries: 22,149,441Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m EST: 6,975,980 — Total deaths: 202,738 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,481,026Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats prepare new $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package.
  4. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  6. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  7. Sports: Pac-12 will play this fall despite ongoing pandemic — Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  8. Science: Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China — During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.
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Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

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