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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump is determined to speed up construction on the southern border wall to deliver on his 2016 campaign promise ahead of the 2020 election, reports the Washington Post.

The state of play: Trump has "directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars' worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules," current and former administration officials told the Post. The president has previously promised to complete 500 miles of fence before the election, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has only completed 60 miles of "replacement" barrier so far.

  • Trump allegedly joked to aides, telling them to approve orders and move forward with the wall even if the directives were illegal or unworkable. He reportedly suggested that he would pardon them later, found the Post.

The big picture: Trump also acknowledged that building the wall isn't the most "effective" option to deter illegal immigration, but he continues to insist on bringing the border wall to fruition because his supporters want it, writes the Post.

  • Recently, Trump supporters have erupted in "Finish the Wall!" chants at his re-election campaign rallies.

Yes, but: Trump's persistence that the border wall be painted black is also delaying the process and driving costs up, says the Washington Post. The dark coating is meant to make the wall too hot and slippery to climb. However, painting a single mile of the wall in California cost $1 million.

What's next: Defense Secretary Mark Esper is expected to redirect $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds to build the border wall.

  • Trump has been looking for ways to fund the project after Congress refused to give him $5 billion for it, per the Washington Post.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity

Vice President Harris looks on as President Biden signs executives orders related to his racial equity agenda. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from former President Trump.

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial, making it highly unlikely the Senate will vote to convict. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

Texas judge temporarily halts Biden's 100-day deportation freeze

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants.

Why it matters: Biden has set an ambitious immigration agenda, but he could face pushback from the courts.