Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

The U.S. district judge's decision to block any potential Trump move against DACA while a court challenge is pending shows why Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have placed so much urgency on nominating as many conservatives as possible to the courts.

The big picture: As Congress becomes more dysfunctional, more power goes to the executive branch. The final person who can decide on these issues is a judge, whose term can outlast most elected politicians.

Leonard Leo made the point that it elevates the need for conservatives to care about the courts. As he told me in November:

"[McConnell's] thinking behind that is that the federal judiciary has an enormous impact on the future direction of our country in ways that many pieces of legislation and public policy initiatives don't."

Our thought bubble: This is arguably the most important achievement of the Trump presidency so far, and may have more important long-term impacts than the major tax bill. 

By the numbers: 

  • McConnell confirmed 12 circuit court judges for Trump in 2017
  • Barack Obama was able to confirm 3 in 2009
  • George W. Bush got 6 in 2001
  • Bill Clinton got 3 in 1993
  • George H.W. Bush got 5 in 1989
  • Ronald Reagan got 8 in 1981
  • Jimmy Carter got 10 in 1977

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Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.