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Local city officials visit prototypes of the proposed border wall in San Diego in November. Photo: Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

President Trump plans to visit the concrete-and-steel prototypes of his beloved border wall in San Diego after his State of the Union address on Jan. 30, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump insiders say that as they think about 2020, no promise is more vital in Trump Country. He can't blame Democrats for the fact that there's not a wall — he has to find a way to deliver one. It was such a central and symbolic promise that there's no averting your gaze from it.

  • At a time when Trump could be waffling on his signature commitment — perhaps shifting the conversation to border enforcement in an effort to get a deal with Democrats — he plans to solidify his insistence on the actual physical wall, the sources said.
  • Aides say Trump has been unequivocal for months: "Wall, or no deal."
  • The field trip to see the prototypes had been planned for this week, but was pushed back after Trump decided to attend tonight's college football championship.
  • Trump's renewed fervor on the wall could make it harder to win a budget or "Dreamer" extension deal with Democratic leaders. They have made the wall a red line, but have been flexible on border security.
  • Administration officials see a possible deal with Dems because terrain doesn't allow wall construction in some places, and the wall could help with drug interdiction as well as curtailing border crossings.

A source close to Trump said: "The wall is bigger than a policy proposal — it’s a symbol. Ending chain migration may be more impactful policy, but he understands the power of the wall as a concept and in terms of the way he and his presidency will be perceived and judged."

Be smart: As the White House looks to this year's midterms and reelection in 2020, and as more moderate advisers depart, look for President Trump to sound more like Campaign Trump on immigration, trade and other issues.

Go deeper

DOJ seizes 36 U.S. website domains for Iranian government disinformation

Iran's President-Elect Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference at Shahid Beheshti conference hall in Tehran on Monday. Photo: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

American officials seized 36 news website domains linked to Iran's government for spreading disinformation as part of a propaganda campaign, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The action comes at a time of heightened tension between the two countries, with Iran's hardline President-elect Ebrahim Raisi on Monday ruling out negotiating over missiles or meeting with President Biden as the two nations hold talks on returning Tehran to the 2015 nuclear deal.

NYT: Khashoggi's killers had paramilitary training in U.S.

A vigil for journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, following his killing in 2018 in Turkey. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Several Saudis who took part in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi had paramilitary training in the U.S. under a State Department contract a year before his 2018 death, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: While there's no evidence the department knew that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sanctioned Saudi officials to detain, kidnap and torture dissidents in 2017, the approval of such training underscores how "intensely intertwined" the U.S. has become with a nation known for human rights abuses, per the NYT.

U.S. attorney finalist trashes Labor secretary

Rachael Rollins and Marty Walsh. Photos: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images (Rollins); Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images (Walsh)

A finalist for U.S. attorney in Boston is publicly trashing the city's former mayor — Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Why it matters: Rachael Rollins’ approach is perpetuating scrutiny of a troubled Cabinet secretary and fellow Democrat — and hints at the independence she may exhibit if tapped for top federal prosecutor for the eastern half of Massachusetts.

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