This bit of reporting is incredible and very well sourced. In fact, the details of the meetings are not as vague as we sometimes get from sourcing, which makes it interesting to speculate on who the source is.
The fact that the President did come so close to closing the entry point at El Paso also suggests he is probably going to go back to that if the Department of Homeland Security cannot stem the tide of illegal immigration.
Most troubling is that the President does not seem to understand, and I suspect most people do not understand, that any federal employee who violates a clear law is personally liable for that violation. Encouraging border patrol agents to tell judges that they are incapable of accepting more asylum seekers would get the border patrol agents in personal legal trouble.
Lastly, the President does seem intent on restarting the policies of family separation that drove down his and his party’s polling so dramatically last year. The President, who has long wanted to take a hard line on immigration, almost seems intent on overcorrecting for what he perceives as his staff’s failures to implement what he wants.
Unfortunately, the issue is deeply, deeply unpopular even with Republicans and hurt the GOP in the run up to 2018. While the President seems to take the position that causing maximum distress on the families fleeing north will curb their desires to come north, the issue will also cause maximum distress to people in this country. Remember, even evangelicals who support the President mostly opposed family separations. That was the first time his evangelical supporters wavered.