President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who blocked former President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland from ever having a hearing in 2016, told the New York Times Magazine that his "decision not to fill the [Justice Antonin] Scalia vacancy" was the "most consequential thing I've ever done."

The big picture: McConnell cited "a longstanding tradition of not filling vacancies on the Supreme Court in the middle of a presidential election year" in his refusal to even meet with Garland after the death of Scalia — a tradition deemed "false" and "entirely a matter of circumstance" by Politifact. Since Trump's election, McConnell has led the effort to reshape the ideological makeup of the federal judiciary, successfully confirming 2 Supreme Court justices and at least 84 lower-court judges.

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Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
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1 hour ago - Health

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

2 hours ago - Health

How to help save 130,000 lives

People wear face masks outside Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.