Evan Vucci / AP

Elected Republican officials are publicly defending Trump but privately are dumbfounded, disgusted and demoralized by this turn of events.

We haven't had a single conversation with a top Republican that doesn't reflect this. The worries are manifold:

  • This kills momentum on legislating, and unifies Democrats in opposition to everything they want to do.
  • This makes it easier for Democrats to recruit quality candidates and raise money for the off-year elections.
  • It sours swing voters.
  • It puts them on the defensive at home. They want to talk tax reform and deregulation -- not secret tapes and Russian intrigue.
  • But mainly it reinforces their greatest fear: Trump will never change. They keep praying he'll discipline himself enough to get some big things done. Yet they brace for more of this.

Go deeper

Trump says he expects to announce a Supreme Court nominee "next week"

President Trump speaking prior to his departure from the White House on Sept. 19. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump said Saturday he expects to announce a nominee for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat “next week” and that the person will “most likely” be a woman.

What he's saying: “I think we’ll have a very popular choice whoever that may be," Trump said before departing on Marine One. "We want to respect the process. I think it’s going to go very quickly, actually.”

Go deeper: Trump says Republicans have an obligation to fill Ginsburg's seat

Susan Collins says Senate should postpone Supreme Court vote

Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Tom Williams/Getty Images

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement Saturday she believes whoever is elected in the 2020 presidential race should pick the nominee to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat.

Why it matters: Collins will be key in how the nomination process plays out. As one of the most centrist Senate Republicans, whether or not the Senate confirms Trump's SCOTUS nominee could hinge on her vote.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:15 p.m. ET: 30,602,281 — Total deaths: 953,591— Total recoveries: 20,833,568Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:15 p.m. ET: 6,751,119 — Total deaths: 198,969 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 93,150,052Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  5. World: Guatemalan president tests positive for COVID-19 — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.