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AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Sources inside the Trump Administration and on the Hill who are close to Andy Puzder's confirmation process believe he'll probably survive what has been a very shaky nomination. These are their hard-headed calculations, with anonymity provided to allow for candor.

We're tipping the fast food executive gets at least 50 votes, though of course that could change if he has a train-wreck hearing Thursday.

Puzder's problems:

  • Puzder has had just about every problem a nominee can have. He employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper. His ex-wife accused him of physical assault then retracted the claim.
  • Democrats are charging he'll be bad for workers because he opposes significantly raising the minimum wage and because of wage violation claims against CKE Restaurants, the company Puzder led.
  • Democrats are set to oppose Puzder en masse, meaning the vote could be as close as the recent one in which Vice President Mike Pence had to use his tie-breaker vote to confirm Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
  • The Washington Post reports that at least four Republican Senators are withholding judgment on Puzder: Susan Collins of Maine, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Why we think he's in better shape than reported:

  • He's a Republican donor and leaders like Mitch McConnell and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander — who heads the Senate committee overseeing Puzder's hearings — are genuinely behind him. They're not begrudgingly pushing through one of Trump's guys. Puzder is one of their own.
  • Republican opposition is weaker than it appears. Sources close to the process aren't as worried as we thought they'd be about the Senators named in the Washington Post piece. Even the story itself suggests that at least two of them — Isakson and Scott — are withholding judgment more out of deference to process than due to immutable concerns.
  • The Republican leadership of the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — which will question Puzder on Thursday — has learned from the rocky nomination process for Betsy DeVos.
  • Sen. Alexander has wisely thrown a bone to Democrats on the committee. This time he waited for all of Puzder's ethics paperwork to come in before holding the hearing.

Go deeper

State Department to set up new cyber bureau to combat hack attacks

Secretary of State Tony Blinken speaks on the challenges during an October conference in Quito, Ecuador. Photo:y Felipe Stanley/Agencia Press South/Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced Monday plans for the State Department to create a new bureau of cyberspace and digital policy.

Why it matters: The establishment of the bureau and plans for a new envoy to oversee critical and emerging technology come after a series significant hack attacks and other online crimes, notably ransomware assaults on U.S. infrastructure.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.