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Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump unveiled Wednesday his revamped list of potential Supreme Court justices that includes 20 new names, including Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Why it matters: Top aides and advisers to the president urged him months ago to put together a new list of justices ahead of Election Day to pump up his base and remind them why a Republican needs to remain in the White House.

What they're saying: Cotton said in a statement that he was "honored" by the selection and added that he believes "the Supreme Court could use some more justices who understand the difference between applying the law and making the law."

  • Cruz said in a statement that he is "grateful for the president’s confidence in me and for his leadership in nominating principled constitutionalists to the federal bench."
  • Hawley tweeted that he has "no interest in the high court" and will "look forward to confirming constitutional conservatives" as a member of the Senate.

The other additions:

  • Bridget Bade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Paul Clement, partner with Kirkland & Ellis LLP
  • Stuart Kyle Duncan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel
  • Noel Francisco, former U.S. solicitor general
  • James Ho, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • Gregory Katsas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Barbara Lagoa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Christopher Landau, U.S. ambassador to Mexico
  • Carlos Muñiz, Supreme Court of Florida
  • Martha Pacold, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Peter Phipps, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • Sarah Pitlyk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • Allison Jones Rushing, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • Kate Todd, deputy White House counsel
  • Lawrence VanDyke, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

What we're hearing: Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who has long been viewed in Trumpworld as next in line to fill a vacancy on the bench, is still at the top of the list after her inclusion on Trump's original list, along with Judge Amul Thapar and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

  • Many within the conservative movement have been lobbying the Trump administration to give more consideration to Lee, especially after his performance fiercely defending the Constitution during Trump's impeachment proceedings, one source familiar with the discussions tells Axios.

Behind the scenes: The list's release was originally slated to take place prior to the Republican National Convention — providing another talking point for Trump's re-election campaign.

  • White House Counsel Pat Cipollone played a big role in the creation of the list, sources involved in the process tell Axios.

The bottom line: "The list is a political statement as much as a working document," one of the sources said. “You're trying to create as many touch points as possible to people who you want to re-elect him as president, and energize them to help him get re-elected."

  • "But secondly, it is a working document, in the sense that he’s making a commitment to pick from the list, so you can't just throw it to the political wind. You have to be committed to only putting people on the list that you’ll be comfortable appointing to the court.”

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump lawyers to avoid Michigan lawmaker meeting after COVID exposure

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani and other key members of President Trump's outside legal team won't be attending today's meeting with two Michigan lawmakers because they've been exposed to the coronavirus, two sources familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: This added turmoil inside the president's legal operation comes at a time when the president is urging Republican state lawmakers to interfere with the electoral process and reverse Joe Biden's victory to a Trump win.

6 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

9 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.