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U.S. Judge Brett Kavanaugh (C) arrives at the Capitol. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Red state Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who will cast a key vote during Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process, said on Talkline Communications radio Wednesday that Kavanaugh "has all the right qualities" of a Supreme Court Justice, and he will defer to his constituents when casting his vote.

Why it matters: With comments like these, it's no wonder the White House is feeling good about Kavanaugh's confirmation. The conservative movement — after some early warning shots — appears to be rallying around Kavanaugh as well. And so far we've not seen anything from the moderate Republican senators, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, to signal they won't vote for him either.

Manchin's full quote:

"No I don’t have a lean [on how I will vote]. I think he seems to be a very fine person of high moral standards. A family person who’s very involved in his community. Has all the right qualities. He’s well-educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed ... I’ll be hearing from West Virginians and their opinion. And I think they have, also, a right. And that’s who I work for. They’re my boss. And we want to hear from them, too, during this process.”

Axios spoke earlier today to a senior administration official involved in the Kavanaugh confirmation process, and they pointed to all of these factors.

Another argument the White House is seizing on to help their case:

  • Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes, who is no fan of President Trump's, wrote a nuanced defense of Kavanaugh's past writings on special counsel investigations.

The bottom line: The White House's optimistic outlook on Kavanaugh isn't unfounded, especially as more of the uncertain voices continue to come out in support of Trump's nominee.

Go deeper

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.