Welcome to Sneak Peek, our weekly lookahead for both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, plus my best scoops. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
As he was deliberating last year over replacing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump told confidants he had big plans for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
"I'm saving her for Ginsburg," Trump said of Barrett, according to three sources familiar with the president's private comments. Trump used that exact line with a number of people, including in a private conversation with an adviser two days before announcing Brett Kavanaugh's nomination.
Barrett is a favorite among conservative activists, many of whom wanted her to take Kennedy’s spot.
But Trump chose to wait.
Yes, but: There's no guarantee Trump will get another Supreme Court pick. It's very unlikely Ginsburg will retire while he’s in office. And though she's 86 and has had 3 bouts with cancer, she's on the bench now and appears healthy.
Between the lines: Trump changes his mind all the time, and Barrett would need to undergo a fresh round of vetting to review the rulings and public comments she's made since confirmed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017.
Barrett's education didn't appeal to Trump, according to sources familiar with his thinking. She went to law school at Notre Dame, and Trump prefers candidates with Harvard and Yale on their resumes.
Why it matters: Trump has already pulled the court well to the right. If he gets to replace Ginsburg, especially with Barrett, he would cement a young, reliably conservative majority that could last for decades.
Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images
Both parties hate the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. But in a closed-door Hill meeting last week, White House legislative affairs official Paul Teller said the president is fine with it.
Why it matters: Congressional sources found it bizarre that the White House isn't interested in making a deal to block sequestration. Instead, the White House says it can offset those cuts to the Pentagon by parking a huge amount of money in a controversial slush fund that sequestration can't touch.
Behind the scenes: Teller made the comments in a weekly meeting with conservative groups, Republican leadership staff and other conservative Capitol Hill aides. Teller said it in the context of promoting Trump's budget, saying the president "really wants to stick to his numbers and doesn't want a caps deal because that means more domestic spending," said a source familiar with his private remarks.
Context: Trump has not steeped himself in the details of his budget, and his aides wonder how many decisions he'll reverse when he finds out about them. We saw Trump backflip twice over the past week:
"I guarantee you can find all sorts of cuts that he'll turn around and say I'm not cutting this shit," said a source who has been closely involved in the Trump administration's budget deliberations.
Capitol Hill veteran Eric Ueland. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
President Trump is bulking up his policy shop with three new hires, according to sources with direct knowledge of the plans.
Driving the news: Joe Grogan, the head of the White House's Domestic Policy Council, is bringing on Capitol Hill veteran Eric Ueland and Justice Department alum Jennie Lichter, who specializes in legal matters involving religious freedom, as his deputies. He's also hiring Maria Bonner, a health care regulatory expert who has worked in Mike Pence's legal shop.
Between the lines: Mick Mulvaney is a much more ideological chief of staff than John Kelly was, and he is pushing the White House to be more aggressive in its domestic agenda. There's little chance of passing major legislation in this divided Congress, so the Trump administration is focused on deregulatory efforts through the executive branch.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
A major misconception on Capitol Hill right now is the notion that Mick Mulvaney is behind President Trump's decision to back a lawsuit to demolish the Affordable Care Act.
Behind the scenes: Trump has privately said he thinks the lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act will probably fail in the courts, according to two sources who discussed the matter with the president last week.
Young Bernie Sanders supporters, San Francisco, March 24. Photo: Stephen Lam/Getty Images
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who at 77 is the oldest 2020 contender, is the favorite among 18- to 29-year-old likely Democratic primary voters at 31%, according to a new poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics (IOP) given first to Axios. Former Vice President Joe Biden follows in second place at 20%, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.
The big picture: Candidates with the most experience and name recognition are receiving more support among younger voters, as Hillary Clinton did at this point in the 2016 cycle. But we're still 19 months out from the 2020 election, giving lesser-known candidates ample time to win over young people, as Sanders ultimately did in 2016.
By the numbers: IOP's latest poll has former Rep. Beto O'Rourke in third at 10%, then Sen. Kamala Harris at 5%, Sen. Cory Booker at 3%, and Andrew Yang at 2%.
Background: Voter turnout is usually low among young people. However, the 2018 midterm elections saw "the highest level of youth participating in a midterm cycle in at least the last 25 years," according to Tufts University's Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).
Why it matters: The youngest Americans — millennials and Generation Z — will make up 37% of the electorate in 2020, per Pew Research.
Methodology: Interviews of likely Democratic presidential primary voters were conducted between March 8 and March 20. The margin of error for this portion of the sample (n=934) was +/- 4.5% with a 95% confidence interval. The full poll of all 18- to 29-year-olds includes more than 3,000 interviews and will be released later this month.
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
The House will "keep the focus on health care for the foreseeable future," according to a senior Democratic aide. The two main bills on the floor this week:
The Senate will have its next procedural vote on the disaster relief package Monday night.
President Trump's schedule, per a White House official:
President Trump signaled on Saturday that he was intervening to help a Navy SEAL accused of crimes while serving Iraq.
Details, per Politico: "Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to a series of charges stemming from his 2017 deployment with the California-based SEAL Team 7. Apart from the accusation that he murdered a teenage ISIS fighter under his care, military prosecutors contend that he held his re-enlistment ceremony with the detainee’s corpse. Gallagher is also accused of shooting two civilians in Iraq and firing inadvertently into crowds."
Behind the scenes: Trump has been following Gallagher's story closely — especially through the coverage of "Fox & Friends" hosts Pete Hegseth and Brian Kilmeade.
Between the lines: "This is not the first time Trump has cited Fox News while taking an interest in a case involving a US serviceman on combat duty," the Guardian reports.