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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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Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.