Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File

Nobody like John Roberts. And nobody like David Souter. These two Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices — who disappointed so many conservatives over the years — have been top of mind for the tight team who is working with Trump to fill Antonin Scalia's vacancy on the court.

The overriding goal, says one of Trump's Supreme Court advisers, was to avoid choosing a "stealth" nominee who presents himself as an originalist but turns out to have a more flexible view of the Constitution than conservatives expected.

What conservatives have learned the hard way over the years is lots of people can mouth off the words, 'I am an originalist. I'm a textualist.' But the question is, are they really? — Trump SCOTUS adviser.

Trump has chosen his justice. Only a handful of people — and we're talking a really small handful (like a half dozen)— know his name. The announcement is tonight at 8pm.

A source who knows the final decision would only tell us it's one of two men: Judge Neil Gorsuch, who serves on United States Court of appeals for the Tenth Circuit; and Judge Thomas Hardiman, who sits on United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Trump's made the decision privately, said a source with direct knowledge.

The advisory team — which included Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, White House counsel Don McGahn and the Federalist Society's Leonard Leo (who drew up the original list of 21) — studied both Gorsuch's and Hardiman's records and found enough case evidence to convince them that these were unbending originalists.

Here is who else Trump's team has consulted on the pick:

  • Antonin Scalia's widow Maureen
  • Republican lawmakers, including Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Orrin Hatch.
  • Former Republican lawmakers, including Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
  • Laura Ingraham, the conservative talk show host and former white-collar defense attorney and Supreme Court law clerk (Trump admires her legal mind).
  • Andrew Napolitano, a former judge and the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel.
  • Trump also spoke to Democrats, including Senators Patrick Leahy and Dick Durbin.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!