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President Donald Trump walks to the podium before introducing Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as his nominee to the United States Supreme Court. July 9, 2018. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In the early evening of July 9th, Donald Trump stood in the gold draped East Room of the White House with a small group of senior advisers to rehearse his announcement of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee for the Supreme Court.

Trump stepped on and off the podium, riffing with his aides. While this was going on, Bill Shine, the former co-president of Fox News, was meticulously obsessing over the camera shot which looked out upon a red carpet, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Shine toyed with the lights, adjusted the podium and the microphone, moved objects in the backdrop, and conferred with the camera operator. He seemed oblivious to the other conversations happening around him.

  • Hours before the announcement, Shine had gone to the East Room to test the lighting, according to a source familiar with the situation. He showed the president three different lighting options and Trump selected his favorite.

What we're hearing: Trump has been frustrated that some of his previous appearances on camera have not had the production values of the prime time TV shows he spends so much time watching.

  • Trump frequently complains to aides about the "terrible lighting," sources who've been in the room for his outbursts have told me.
  • Now, instead of taking his grievances out on his chief of staff John Kelly, Trump has his own in-house TV producer to consult.

Yes, but: As a senior administration official pointed out to me, Shine's official role is much larger than being a high-end TV producer. He oversees the entire White House press and communications operations. "And if ever there was a week when [Trump's concern] went from 'how does it look' to 'how does it sound', it was this one," the official told me, referring to the attempted clean-up after Helsinki.

Go deeper

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.