A Supreme Court vacancy means a trip to the Sunday shows for the new Most Important Person In American Politics. That’d be Susan Collins, the potential swing vote on Trump’s nominee. She’ll drop by “This Week” and “State of the Union” this morning to *not* answer questions about Roe v. Wade, much like a SCOTUS nominee herself. Is a nominee’s previous criticism of Roe disqualifying? You know what she’ll say: “It’s a factor, it’s concerning, but we need to look at their entire body of work” etc etc. Minor surprise: No scheduled appearances this morning by Lisa Murkowski, the other Most Important Person In American Politics.
If you’re watching the shows for tea leaves about Trump’s pick, skip the cavalcade of senators booked this morning (Graham, Toomey, Durbin, Klobuchar, Duckworth, Blumenthal, and Cantwell are all on tap beside Collins) and watch Leonard Leo on “Fox News Sunday” instead. Leo is executive VP of the Federalist Society and Trump’s point man on court nominees. It’s no exaggeration to say that he has more influence over the future of the court than anyone in America apart from POTUS himself. If hints are to be dropped this a.m., he’ll be the one doing it.
The other star guest is John Bolton, who must be getting hazard pay for agreeing to show up and discuss this week’s news. He’s booked on “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday” ostensibly to discuss his meeting with Putin and the upcoming U.S.-Russia summit but he’ll be dancing over landmines in every interview. Among the questions he’ll face: Has North Korea already broken their promises to Trump by doubling down on nukes? Is POTUS seriously considering removing troops from Germany, a move that might invite Russian provocations? Is he comparing NATO to NAFTA in private conversation — a comparison he doesn’t mean to be complimentary, needless to say? In his pundit days a super-hawk like Bolton would have had aneurysms over any or all of those things. In his new role as NSA he’s going to have to swallow hard and pretend that he’s “encouraged” by Vladimir Putin’s desire for “peace.” Hopefully this morning’s interviews won’t look too much like a hostage video. The full line-up is at the AP.