Good Thursday morning.
Situational awareness: A court filing shows former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had a $10 million loan from a Russian oligarch with close Kremlin ties. (Reuters)
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
President Trump, with his refusal to take advice or yield to experts, is the West Wing. Republicans who control both halves of Congress won't lift a finger against him and fully support his every move.
The media, normally the last check on a president with total control of government, has lost the trust of most Republicans and many Democrats, after two years of Trump pummeling.
Consider Trump's scorecard:
Be smart: The 2018 elections matter exponentially more today than they did 24 hours ago.
If you're a Democrat who now can't digest breakfast ... Presidential historian Michael Beschloss has this solace:
Photo illustration: Axios visuals
The WashPost's Philip Bump did the math about Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin back during the transition:
How it's playing, via CNN "Reliable Sources" newsletter:
Republican sources tell us that the most likely Supreme Court picks are all in their late 40s to early 50s, meaning the new justice could serve for decades.
President Trump and the White House especially like these five, people familiar with administration thinking tell Jonathan Swan:
Behind the scenes: Trump doesn’t personally care that much about some of the social issues, such as LGBT rights, energizing the Republican base over the Supreme Court.
Trump came into the job knowing only a bit about the Court:
P.S. Online bettors favor Brett Kavanaugh, per Reuters:
The replacement of Anthony Kennedy's swing vote with a more reliable conservative would have immediate implications, Axios' Caitlin Owens and Sam Baker write:
State of play:
What's next: Trump has privately predicted he'll get four justices appointed in his first term. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85, Stephen Breyer is 79, Clarence Thomas is 70 and Samuel Alito is 68.
Go deeper: "Anthony Kennedy’s most important decisions," by Sam Baker.
Although a Reagan appointee, Anthony Kennedy ends his tenure on the liberal side of the spectrum, as Axios Visuals Editor Lazaro Gamio shows.
Here he was during a lunchtime Face-to-Face With Our Future event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building:
And here he was during an evening Make America Great Again Rally in Fargo, N.D.:
"The worst thing to be in many Democratic primaries? A white male candidate," per WashPost's Michael Scherer and Dave Weigel:
"The ideological splits between liberal and far-left candidates were predicted to be the focus of clashes this year, but voters have sent conflicting signals."
N.Y. Times Magazine cover story ... John Brennan, CIA director from 2013 to 2017, "quietly ruled the national-security state under President Obama. Now he’s coming forward to rail against Trump — and to defend his own legacy," by Mattathias Schwartz:
"Bill Shine, a former Fox News co-president, has accepted a role in the White House as deputy chief of staff for communications," per ABC News:
"Amazon packages, which usually show up in a UPS truck, an unmarked vehicle or in the hands of a mail carrier, may soon be delivered from an Amazon van," AP Retail Writer Joseph Pisani writes from Seattle:
Thanks for reading on this epic day. See you on Axios.com.