Mar 2, 2017

Gorsuch's "inside-outside" addition

Mike Allen, author of AM

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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The big picture: Floyd's fatal run-in with police is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.

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At 3:22 p.m. ET today, SpaceX is expected to launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station for the first time.

Why it matters: The liftoff — should it go off without a hitch — will be the first time a private company has launched people to orbit. It will also bring crewed launches back to the U.S. for the first time in nine years, since the end of the space shuttle program.

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In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Police officers grapple with protesters in Atlanta. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray as the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd spread nationwide on Friday evening.

The big picture: Police responded in force in cities ranging from Atlanta to Des Moines, Houston to Detroit, Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. and Denver to Louisville. In Los Angeles, police declared a stretch of downtown off limits, with Oakland issuing a similar warning.