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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Over the past week or so, we've heard all kinds of theories from administration officials and President Trump's friends on the outside about why he's cutting deals with "Chuck and Nancy" and softening on his core issue of immigration.

The points we keep hearing:

  • Trump is loyal to nobody but himself, and certainly no political party given how frequently he changes party affiliation.
  • He wants deals at any cost and, unburdened by ideological beliefs, he'll switch sides overnight.
  • He's so frustrated by Republican leadership that he's been driven into the enemy's arms.
  • And lastly, for the first time in his presidency, he's enjoying positive media coverage and coherent reinforcement from his top aides.

Our thought bubble: The dramatically different information Trump receives daily under the leadership of Chief of Staff John Kelly is an under-looked factor in Trump's decision to double down on his partnership with the Democratic leaders.

Trump's top advisers — Jared and Ivanka, General Kelly, and Gary Cohn among them — are mostly sympathetic to "Dreamers." There's no more Steve Bannon. And Stephen Miller's nationalistic voice is a lonely one inside the White House these days. So consider how different life is these days for aides bent out of shape by Trump's public pivot to Marco Rubio-style arguments regarding a path to citizenship for young immigrants brought here illegally as children.

  • Remember, to the ears of immigration hardliners, Trump's tweets Thursday would have sounded like something Marco Rubio might have said during the Gang of Eight fight.
  • Instead of being able to march into the Oval Office and hand Trump the latest Breitbart headline or printouts of tweets showing how badly his amnesty drive is playing with his fiercest nationalist supporters, aides opposing the decision would now have to go through the Kelly process, which would involve submitting an official, documented, request to meet with the president.

The result: Trump gets mostly positive feedback for his turn towards bipartisanship. He watches cable news in the morning, and even "Fox and Friends" finds a way to praise his deal with the Democrats. He reads his morning news clips and briefing materials, which are managed by Staff Secretary Rob Porter, under the guidance of Kelly. And during the day it's not possible for a staff member to sneak a story onto Trump's desk that might rile him up and turn him in a wildly different direction in an instant.

Bottom line: Staff who oppose the moderate immigration turn no longer have unfettered access to Trump, and nor do allies on the outside who, in the first six months of the administration, used to send text messages to Trump's bodyguard Keith Schiller, and often receive a snappy callback from the president. Kelly now has real control over the most important input: the flow of human and paper advice into the Oval Office. For a man as obsessed about his self image as Trump, a new flow of inputs can make the world of difference.

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against American workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

Report: U.S. Latinos near 50% homeownership rate

Real estate broker Alex Betances sits in front of a home in Reading, Pa. Photo: Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Image

Latinos increased their homeownership rate to nearly 50% in 2020, according to a report from a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

Why it matters: The Hispanic Wealth Project found that the homeownership rate grew despite the lack of diversified financial assets among Latinos and around 15% who still live below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four).