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Image: Politico: Trump Was Keen on Kavanaugh From Beginning

Although President Donald Trump wanted to stoke anticipation of his choice for his Supreme Court nominee by interviewing other contenders, he was already focused on picking Judge Brett Kavanaugh after emerging from his first private meeting with Justice Anthony Kennedy following the announcement of his retirement, Politico reported on Tuesday.


Kennedy highly recommended Kavanaugh, his former law clerk, to the president, and administration officials said that glowing praise only reinforced the preference Trump had for him even before the meeting with Kennedy.

Trump spent more time with Kavanaugh than the other finalists and was impressed with his credentials, long judicial record and fidelity to the Constitution, according to administration officials.


Trump, however, did request that his top lawyers to thoroughly check Kavanaugh’s rulings and asked advisers whether the judge was too close to the Bush family, which for Trump could have potentially been a fatal flaw.

After interviews with the other candidates, Trump was said to have hit it off with Thomas Hardiman and viewed Amy Coney Barrett as a solid contender should he get a third Supreme Court nomination, although Raymond bid was scuttled by rulings that conservatives viewed as too accommodating to illegal immigrants.


The White House declined to comment on Trump’s selection process, but it is preparing to put pressure on red-state Democrats to support Kavanaugh's nomination, with Vice President Mike Pence to participate in a series of interviews to promote Kavanaugh with local television and radio stations in the home states of Sens. Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Joe Donnelly in Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp North Dakota, according to an administration official.


Although Trump was secretive about his preference during the selection process, he had committed to choosing from a pre-vetted list of 25 contenders who were endorsed by conservative organizations and White House counsel Don McGahn.


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