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McConnell: Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will help GOP retain Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.


The big picture: Democrats have warned that Barrett's confirmation process has destroyed Republicans' credibility, and some have threatened to retaliate by expanding the Supreme Court if they take the White House and Senate.

  • "[T]he next time the American people give Democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have forfeited the right to tell us how to run that majority," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said ahead of Barrett's confirmation vote on Monday.
  • "You may win this vote, but in the process, you will speed the precipitous decline of faith in our institution, our politics, the Senate and the Supreme Court."

What he's saying: McConnell argued that a judicial appointment is more helpful for Republicans in the long-term than passing of legislation.

  • "Permanency depends on the next election. So that’s the way legislation goes," McConnell told Politico. "But in judicial appointments you can have a longer-lasting positive impact.”
  • “In terms of the politics of it, I think it was helpful for us in 2016 and 2018, and it is clearly, I think, a plus in 2020 as well," McConnell said, referencing Republicans' ability to campaign on filling Supreme Court vacancies with conservatives. "So: good for the country and good for us politically as well."

Go deeper: How Amy Coney Barrett will make an immediate impact on the Supreme Court

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for violence ahead of Biden inauguration

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and in states across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

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Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after sheltering with maskless colleagues during last week's deadly Capitol riot. But he did not specify whether his diagnosis was connected to the siege.

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Far-right figure "Baked Alaska" arrested for involvement in Capitol siege

The FBI arrested far-right media figure Tim Gionet, known as "Baked Alaska," on Saturday for his involvement in last week's Capitol riot, according to a statement of facts filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

The state of play: Gionet was arrested in Houston on charges related to disorderly or disruptive conduct on the Capitol grounds or in any of the Capitol buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session, per AP.

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Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

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Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

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Off the rails: Trump's premeditated election lie lit the fire

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. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

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Armin Laschet elected as leader of Merkel's CDU party in Germany

Armin Laschet, the centrist governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, was elected on Saturday as the new leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), defeating the more conservative Friedrich Merz by a 521-466 margin.

Why it matters: Laschet is now the most likely successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel as the standard bearer of the German center-right heading into September's elections. With Merkel preparing to step down after 16 years in power, Laschet is seen as a continuity candidate.

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