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Lagoa and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tells Axios that President Trump will not meet with shortlisted Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa during a campaign visit to Florida on Friday, and that any talks with court candidates will take place in Washington.

The backstory: Axios reported on Tuesday that Trump would meet with Lagoa during his Friday campaign trip, citing two sources familiar with his plans. When we initially approached the White House with this reporting, officials declined to comment.

  • Several hours after we posted this story, Meadows sent this statement: “There are no plans to conduct interviews in Florida. The entire process will be handled in Washington, D.C. as expeditiously as possible."
  • "Any suggestion of interviews with any candidate in other locations is not accurate."

What we're hearing: Sources who know both Trump and Lagoa say they still expect the president to pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

  • The majority view in Trump’s inner circle is that Barrett would be easier to confirm because senators are familiar with her. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told Trump that senators feel comfortable with Barrett.
  • A source close to the process said anything that complicates the confirmation proceedings — and allows more time for Democrats to inject “mischief” — is to be avoided at all costs. More education would be needed for senators who are less familiar with Lagoa, the source added.
  • Trump met with Barrett at the White House on Monday.

Between the lines: Lagoa, a 52-year-old judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, is the daughter of Cuban exiles.

  • Top aides to the president say Lagoa, who grew up in a heavily Hispanic suburb of Miami, could be politically beneficial to Trump, who without winning Florida could lose reelection.

What they're saying: Trump said Monday that he does not personally know Lagoa, but called her “terrific.”

  • Trump added that he tries not to say that politics would play a role in his decision, but "I think probably automatically it is. Even if you’re not wanting to do that it becomes a little automatic.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Meadows' statement, and the headline has been changed.

Go deeper

Trump trashes McConnell to fellow Republicans

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

President Trump lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday night for acknowledging Joe Biden won the election, sending a slide to Republican lawmakers taking credit for saving McConnell's career with a tweet and robocall.

Why it matters: It's an extraordinary broadside against McConnell by the sitting president and most popular Republican in the party, ahead of a crucial runoff election in Georgia on Jan. 5 that will determine control of the Senate.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

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