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"

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Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 3,035,231 — Total deaths: 132,042 — Total recoveries: 936,476 — Total tested: 36,878,106Map.
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Why it matters: High-powered social media accelerates the spread of lies and political polarization that motivates people to believe them. Unless the public health sphere can effectively counter misinformation, not even an effective vaccine may be enough to end the pandemic.

Tulsa health official: Trump rally "likely contributed" to coronavirus spike

President Trump speaks at his campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. on June 20, 2020. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump's campaign rally and related protests in Tulsa in late June "more than likely" contributed to the area's recent surge in confirmed coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Public health officials, including Dart himself, had urged the campaign to postpone the rally, fearing that a large indoor gathering with few people wearing masks could accelerate the spread of the virus.