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Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

House Homeland Security chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday demanding that the agency turn over documents related to its interactions with the "We Build the Wall" campaign, whose founding members were indicted for fraud last week.

Why it matters: Thompson notes that Brian Kolfage, the group's president, tweeted on several occasions that the project to privately fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border had been "approved" and "endorsed" by DHS and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

  • Kris Kobach, a member of the organization's board, "claimed at least three times during 2019 that President Trump approved of the group's border wall projects," Thompson adds.
  • Since the arrest of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, Trump has attempted to distance himself from the project, claiming he did not know much about it.

What they're saying: "On November 20, 2019, you and U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector Chief Gloria Chavez praised We Build the Wall’s New Mexico project at a press event," Thompson writes in the letter addressed to acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf.

  • "Chief Chavez touted the privately built, half-mile barrier as a “game changer” and 'very effective.' Chief Chavez also described specific technical capabilities included as part of the project," Thompson continues.

Read the letter.

Go deeper

Lawmakers probe DHS after whistleblower complaint on Russian interference

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sept. 1. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are investigating the Department of Homeland Security based on a former senior officials' whistleblower complaint that he was told to stop giving assessments on threats of Russian interference in the U.S. because it "made the president look bad," lawmakers announced Friday.

Why it matters: The National Counterintelligence and Security Center has concluded that Russia is seeking to undermine Joe Biden's campaign and the Democratic Party, while supporting President Trump's candidacy.

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.