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Biden's major border shake-up

Vice President Kamala Harris' trip to the border on Friday will play out amid the Biden administration widening shake-up of U.S. border policy and leadership.

Driving the news: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) tells Axios that he's been advised by a border official that as soon as mid-July the Biden administration will end all use of Title 42, a Trump-era policy citing coronavirus as rationale to block migrants at the border.


  • The policy has prevented migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. and going through the normal immigration court process — instead being immediately returned to Mexico, regardless of their country of origin.
  • Meanwhile, Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott told colleagues Wednesday in a Facebook post that he'll step aside in about 60 days so the administration "can place the person they want in the position." Scott's departure was first reported by the Washington Post.

A White House official said a decision on Title 42 was not yet final while acknowledging plans were under discussion.

Why it matters: Republicans see twin fears among some voters about rising U.S. crime rates and undocumented migration as a way to weaken Biden and drive against Democrats in next year's high-stakes midterm elections.

  • President Biden and his team are seeking to balance humanitarian concerns and progressives' demands against strains on national security, capacity and resources and the risk of political bludgeoning by the right.

What we're watching: Harris announced that on Friday she will make her first trip as vice president to the border, where she'll be joined by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

  • Former President Trump plans to take his own trip to the border next week.

Between the lines: Harris is in charge of the administration's efforts to address the root causes of the northward migration from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

  • Before her announcement, Republicans criticized her for not traveling to the southwestern border earlier in her role as vice president.

By the numbers: Border patrol agents carried out nearly 650,000 expulsions of migrant families, children and adults between October 1 and the end of May. They did so using Title 42, which originated in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Axios first reported earlier this week that the Biden administration was considering ending the policy for families by the end of July.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

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Jan. 6 panel to paint haunting scene of Capitol attack with graphic footage

The Jan. 6 select committee will paint a haunting picture of what unfolded during the attack on the Capitol during its first public hearing on Tuesday, Axios is told.

Why it matters: The nine-member panel will not only hear from four police officers on the grounds that day, but show graphic video footage similar to the chilling 13-minute video Democrats aired during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

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Bipartisan infrastructure bill reaches do-or-die as infighting breaks out ahead of deadline

A host of new problems emerged Monday morning threatening whether the Group of 10 can actually make this "infrastructure week" after all.

Why it matters: This is the bill's do-or-die moment.

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Peter Thiel floods 2022 GOP races with cash, makes candidates an easy target

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel is injecting huge sums into some crucial 2022 midterm contests — and drawing fire from Republicans eager to tie their rivals to the GOP's Silicon Valley bogeymen.

Why it matters: Whether he's backing a candidate or being attacked by one, Thiel embodies the present GOP zeitgeist. His brand of nationalist conservatism mimics the party's Trump-era shift. Yet the fortune he's using to bankroll like-minded candidates derives from an industry reviled by much of that base.

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