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Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP.

The Koch donor network, helmed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, is poised to join the fray on President Trump's behalf. At their retreat in Indian Wells, Calif., top Koch officials said they're waiting for the nominee's identity to be revealed, but they liked the initial list of names Trump released.

Why this matters: The Kochs have the biggest political infrastructure and the most cash of any outside group on the right, and they want to be helpful to Trump where they align with his policies, including on regulatory reform, tax cuts, and now, SCOTUS. Charles Koch, 81, has made it abundantly clear to donors and officials that he's not going anywhere.

What's next: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to get Trump's nominee through the traditional way: Marshaling 60 votes in the Senate. He'd rather not break precedent and use the so-called "nuclear option" for the highest court (ramming the nominee through with 51 votes.) To do that, Republicans need to pressure eight Democrats into supporting the nominee.

Outside groups matter in this battle: The Judicial Crisis Network "will lead a $10 million effort encouraging 10 Senate Dems up for re-elect in 2018 to vote to confirm nominee or face losing their seats in 2018," says conservative operative Greg Mueller.

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Defense Sec. Austin stresses U.S. commitment to Israel's security amid growing Iran tensions

Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

"I was horrified": Leaders respond to footage of Black and Latino Army officer threatened at traffic stop

An Army officer is suing two Virginia police officers after he said they drew their guns and pepper-sprayed him during a traffic stop in December.

Why it matters: Footage of the incident has drawn widespread criticism from leaders and groups in the state. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, is heard saying “I’m honestly afraid to get out," to which a police officer responds “Yeah, you should be," in a video from a body-worn camera.

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.