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Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.

The big picture: Democrats have warned that Barrett's confirmation process has destroyed Republicans' credibility, and some have threatened to retaliate by expanding the Supreme Court if they take the White House and Senate.

  • "[T]he next time the American people give Democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have forfeited the right to tell us how to run that majority," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said ahead of Barrett's confirmation vote on Monday.
  • "You may win this vote, but in the process, you will speed the precipitous decline of faith in our institution, our politics, the Senate and the Supreme Court."

What he's saying: McConnell argued that a judicial appointment is more helpful for Republicans in the long term than the passing of legislation.

  • "Permanency depends on the next election. So that’s the way legislation goes," McConnell told Politico. "But in judicial appointments you can have a longer-lasting positive impact.”
  • “In terms of the politics of it, I think it was helpful for us in 2016 and 2018, and it is clearly, I think, a plus in 2020 as well," McConnell said, referencing Republicans' ability to campaign on filling Supreme Court vacancies with conservatives. "So: good for the country and good for us politically as well."

Go deeper: Amy Coney Barrett's immediate impact

Go deeper

Sen. Gary Peters picked to lead Democratic Senate fundraising

Sen. Gary Peters. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Democratic Party's Senate fundraising arm on Thursday named Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) as its chair ahead of the 2022 election, with several Republicans already announcing they won't run again, per Politico.

Why it matters: As chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Peters will be tasked with raising the enormous amounts of money Democrats will need to preserve their razor-thin majority, write Axios' Hans Nichols and Alayna Treene.

1 hour ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.

Mitt Romney calls Ray Dalio's China investments a "sad moral lapse"

Sen. Mitt Romney walks to a Senate Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 7. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday criticized billionaire Ray Dalio's investments in China, writing in a tweet that "his feigned ignorance of China's horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse."

Driving the news: Romney's comments come after Dalio's firm, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, raised $1.3 billion in November for a new private fund in China, Bloomberg reports.

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