Dan Primack Jan 26, 2017
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(The cost of) Trump's wall keeps getting higher and higher

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Republican Congressional leaders yesterday signaled plans to move forward with President Trump's planned border wall, estimated to cost between $12 billion and $15 billion. That's well below many outside estimates of the construction cost (let alone maintenance), but is significantly higher than what Trump himself has said in the past.

September 2015: $4 billion

"Let's say the wall cost $4 billion. You know, they say $10 billion. That means $4 billion if you know what you're doing and the $4 billion will be much bigger, much better, much stronger than the $10 billion. Believe me. Oh, do I know how to build? Greatest. One of the greats." ― Donald Trump

November 2015: $6 billion to $7 billion

"The wall is going to cost $6 billion or $7 billion if I build it. If somebody else builds it, it's going to cost $20 billion." ― Donald Trump

February 2016: $8 billion

"The wall is probably $8 billion, which is a tiny fraction of the money that we lose with Mexico... I'm taking price per square foot and price per square, you know, per mile, and it's a very simple calculation." ― Donald Trump

Two weeks later: $10 billion to $12 billion

"Now, the wall is $10 billion to $12 billion, if I do it. If these guys do it, it'll end up costing $200 billion." ― Donald Trump

Last night: up to $14 billion

"I think a lot of people are in favor of securing the border on both sides, yes. But the estimates are $8 billion to $14 billion..." Greta Van SustenPaul Ryan: "Some are, right." ― Paul Ryan

The very same day: up to $15 billion

"Roughly ummm" ― Mitch McConnell

"$12 to $15 billion" ― Paul Ryan

"Yeah, $12 to $15 billion. So we intend to address the wall issue ourselves." ― Mitch McConnell

February 10: nearly $22 billion

Reuters got a hold of the internal Homeland Security document projecting it will cost $21.6 billion, and take 3.5 years to build.

Editor's Note: this post was updated on February 11th to add the latest Reuters report.

Mike Allen 14 hours ago
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A huge clue about Mueller's endgame

Robert Mueller testifies before Congress in 2013. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Axios has learned that special counsel Robert Mueller has focused on events since the election — not during the campaign — in his conversations with President Trump's lawyers. The top two topics that Mueller has expressed interest in so far: the firings of FBI director James Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Why it matters: That suggests a focus on obstruction of justice while in office, rather than collusion with Russia during the campaign. But both sagas are interwoven with Russia: Trump himself has linked Comey's firing to Russia, and Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition.

Amy Harder 15 hours ago
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Column / Harder Line

The swamp’s tug-o-war over America’s ethanol mandate

American eagle with corn in its claws
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A biofuels standard Congress passed more than a decade ago in the name of rural development, energy security and climate change has devolved into an arcane fight over market share that has nothing to do with those initial three goals.

Why it matters: The law — called the renewable fuel standard that requires refineries to blend biofuels into gasoline — is a textbook example of how regulations create winners, losers and unintended consequences.