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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

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
38 mins ago - Axios on HBO

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried mystified by value of NFTs

Crypto exchange FTX, valued last week at $25 billion, recently launched an NFT marketplace by selling an image of the word "Test" for $270,000.

  • FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" that he doesn't quite understand the appeal, but adds that he doesn't personally appreciate many visual arts.