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Photo: Twitter/CNN

Journalist Bob Woodward released new audio clips that aired on CNN Sunday night in which President Trump said he expects to have appointed "more than 50% of the federal judges in the country" by the time he leaves office.

Why it matters: The tapes from December to this summer offer insights into the importance Trump places on judicial appointments in his presidential legacy. In one interview, he described federal judges in one interview as being "like golden nuggets."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Trump said Saturday he would announce a nominee for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat "next week" and "it will be a woman," despite the election being some six weeks away.

What they're saying: In one interview, for Woodward's book on Trump, "Rage," the president said that he had "just signed" his 187th federal judge and incorrectly claimed he had "broken every record."

  • "It's a record, 187 judges in less than three years, Bob," Trump said. "And two Supreme Court Judges. Never been done before. The only one that has a better percentage is George Washington, because he appointed 100%. But my percentage is, you know, like ridiculous."
  • Woodward corrected him that former Presidents Clinton, Carter and Nixon were among those to have "filled a greater percentage of federal judgeships by late January of the fourth year of their first term" and that former Presidents Obama, Clinton and George H. W. Bush had appointed two Supreme Court justices in their first term.

Of note: Trump told Woodward during one interview that the "biggest thing ... in the whole world" for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is appointing new judges.

  • "If I have 10 ambassadors — and a judge can take long to get approved, you know? Which I guess is probably right," the president said. "Should be, right? He will absolutely ask me, please let's get the judge approved instead of 10 ambassadors."

Go deeper: Democrats use Bob Woodward tape in new anti-Trump ad

Go deeper

Democrats fret about Garland for attorney general

Judge Merrick Garland. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

If Joe Biden picks Merrick Garland to be his attorney general, he could cost his party control of one of the most important judicial appointments in America — and many Democrats do not want the president-elect to take that chance.

How it works: Biden still hasn't named his choice to lead the Justice Department, and if he taps Garland, it would open up his seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. If Democrats don’t win both Georgia Senate runoff seats next month, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would almost surely prevent the president-elect from filling it.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

3 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.