J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The White House is bringing in veteran inside-outside player Rob Collins as a Strategic Advisor to help with the final weeks of the Supreme Court confirmation battle for Judge Gorsuch, who this week will complete visits with 70 senators.

  • An interesting model: Colllins, 42, will be a volunteer, working on hearing prep, etc., with the confirmation team in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
  • Who he is: Collins, a Republican lobbyist who's taking a leave from his firm, S-3 Group, is a former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and has personal, cellphone relationships with GOP senators.
  • The outlook: The White House is unworried about confirmation, with a Senate vote expected before the Easter recess. A top official tells us: "The Democrats are in a tough spot on this" — no tarnishing info has emerged. Trump knows this win alone locks social conservatives in for his full term, even when he disappoints elsewhere.
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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

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Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

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Why it matters: He's been an influential force in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.