The White House had floated a list of four finalists, but multiple stories Tuesday suggest that President Trump's pick of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court was a no-brainer. "Locked in from the start," is how CNN puts it, adding that Trump liked the 53-year-old for the top court even before Anthony Kennedy announced he was leaving. Both CNN and Politico report that Trump's one-on-one meeting with Kennedy cemented the choice, though NBC News went further in its reporting and is now taking flak for going public with—and then retracting—a one-source allegation of a deal between Kennedy and the White House. Details:
- Meeting helped: CNN and Politico have a similar take: Trump "walked away from a private chat with the retiring justice convinced that Kavanaugh—who once clerked for Kennedy—was the top choice," per CNN. And from Politico: "Administration officials said Trump was taken with Kavanaugh even before his conversation with Kennedy. But Kennedy, in leaving the impression with Trump that Kavanaugh would be a great candidate for the job, helped the president make up his mind."