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Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks to President Donald Trump. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Over the past few months, President Trump has clashed with top officials — including outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen — over border security, urging them at different points to reinstate a stricter family separation policy, deny asylum seekers entry, and shut down the port of entry in El Paso, CNN's Jake Tapper reports.

The bottom line: A senior administration official reportedly told CNN, "At the end of the day, the President refuses to understand that the Department of Homeland Security is constrained by the laws."

Details: Multiple sources told CNN that Trump pushed Nielsen to separate families, even those that entered through legal ports of entry and were legal asylum seekers, because he "thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming."

  • Trump reportedly told border agents not to let migrants into the country and to tell judges: "Sorry judge, I can't do it. We don't have room." He has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. is full and does not have room for more immigrants in recent tweets and speeches.
  • On shutting the El Paso border, Trump was warned that it would inflict negative consequences on legal trade and travel, but told officials: "I don't care."

Go deeper

37 mins ago - Health

U.S. ahead of pace on vaccines

A health care worker administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Ruleville, Mississippi. Photo: Rory Doyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. is now vaccinating an average of 2 million people a day, up from 1.3 million in early February.

Why it matters: That puts us on track to hit President Biden's goal of 100 million doses a month ahead of schedule.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is forcing the Senate clerk to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, a procedural move that will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate.

3 hours ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.