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In an interview with Jim VandeHei for "Axios on HBO," acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan shrugged off concerns of smugglers cutting through and climbing over President Trump's border wall.

  • In a separate interview with Margaret Talev, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli told "Axios on HBO" that while some may be able to break through, there at least isn't "entire swaths of the border now where they can come and go as they please."

The big picture: Trump had sought to make the wall impermeable to outsiders, but recent reports have shown smugglers cutting through the wall with saws and power tools. Morgan argued that "the wall was never designed to be that no one could ever, ever get through it," but instead to "give the Border Patrol agents an extra boost of operational capacity to get time to get to there."

  • The border wall is still under construction — largely held up by funding and bureaucratic hurdles.

What they're saying:

"The important thing we've been trying to get out to the American people: It's not just a wall. It's a wall system we need. And the wall system needs to be part of a multilayered strategy of infrastructure, personnel and technology. If you have all three of those and the right locations, the right amounts, then we will be successful."
— Mark Morgan to "Axios on HBO"
"The wall is working. I don't think anybody ever thought it would be indestructible. And none of us expect the cartels in particular to sit there and do nothing while we block their chosen paths of their corridors to move their products, whether they be people, drugs, weapons, what have you."
— Ken Cuccinelli to "Axios on HBO"

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Fall and winter COVID surge "unlikely" if people get vaccinated.
  2. Politics: School boards are the next political battleground.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA vaccine approval — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations.
  5. World: Asia faces massive new COVID surgeIndia records its deadliest day of the pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Kevin McCarthy officially endorses Elise Stefanik to replace Liz Cheney

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) officially endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to become the GOP's next House Republican conference chair during a Fox News appearance Sunday.

Why it matters: The GOP has been feuding internally over the fate of the current chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), because of her criticisms of former President Donald Trump, and her vote to impeach him for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Fauci: Vaccines could turn COVID-19 "surges" into "blips"

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday that if more Americans get vaccinated in accordance with the Biden administration's goals, COVID-19 surges may be replaced by "blips."

State of play: Last week President Joe Biden announced his goal to get 160 million Americans fully vaccinated by July 4, with at least 70% of Americans having at least one shot.