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Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are edgy about the agreement for Christine Blasey Ford, Judge Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

The big picture: The arrangement isn't really a gamble because Republicans have no choice. They have to let Ford testify if they're going to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, as top GOP sources still (nervously) predict.

  • And in a possible setback for Ford, the N.Y. Times reports, a woman and two men who were said to have attended the party now say they have no recollection of it, seeming to "eliminate any chance of corroboration ... by anyone who attended."

But the risks are blatantly obvious in an election year where women — and especially college-educated women — already loathe Trump and appear motivated to vote out Republicans.

  • Why it matters: Republicans involved in the process worry that the accuser, a college professor, will connect with the voters already most animated against them.
  • And while Republicans involved in Kavanaugh’s confirmation tell Axios that the elderly male Republican senators are approaching this gingerly, there’s nervousness in the sources' voices because there’s so much room for error.

Be smart: A former administration official said Republicans are "walking the tightrope of making sure not to piss off women for the midterms yet not alienating the base by ditching Kavanaugh."

  • And one top Republican texted: "Most Republicans know the party has already lost college women, alienated by Trump’s style and behavior. Cannot lose them twice."
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Go deeper

Updated 28 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.

Australian Open organizers reverse "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirt ban

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai during the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Bai Xue/Xinhua via Getty Images

Australian Open organizers on Tuesday reversed a ban on t-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following widespread criticism.

Why it matters: Tennis Australia's announcement came less than 24 hours after the governing body defended the decision to ask fans last Friday to remove "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirts, citing ticket policy prohibiting political clothing, per the BBC.