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Donald Trump veepstakes

Trump veepstakes roll on as GOP convention looms

The House is out this week. The Senate is in session tonight and tomorrow, out Wednesday for Juneteenth and set to return Thursday for the day. We’ll see what attendance looks like then.

Speaking of attendance … Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer may need to rely on some absences in order to confirm Mustafa Kasubhai to be a federal district court judge in Oregon.

The Judiciary Committee sent Kasubhai’s nomination to the Senate floor in January on a party-line vote. Sen. Joe Manchin (I-W.Va.) has said he won’t vote for any nominee that doesn’t have Republican support. So a few absences — particularly on the GOP side — could help Schumer get Kasubhai confirmed. Kasubhai’s confirmation vote would likely occur on Thursday, and many senators could be gone by then.

Plus: Speaker Mike Johnson is heading to Mar-a-Lago with NRCC Chair Richard Hudson today to meet with former President Donald Trump. Johnson and Hudson were just with Trump last Thursday, of course.

House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good (R-Va.) has his closely-watched primary tomorrow against John McGuire. Trump has backed McGuire, while Johnson has stayed out of the race.

If it’s Sunday, it’s Trump VP Day. The Sunday talk shows have turned into a rolling audition of sorts for Trump’s VP pick, with the GOP convention set to start on July 15 in Milwaukee.

This week’s shows featured several lawmakers who are considered to be in the mix: Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

The key here is to try to get Trump’s attention by saying the most pro-Trump things possible. The former president is all about loyalty, and he especially loves the combativeness when moderators try to push back.

Let’s go over some highlights.

On ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Scott repeatedly ducked Jon Karl’s questions, although the South Carolina Republican was able to mention Trump’s name 11 times. He led this category.

When asked about Trump’s pledge to pardon Jan. 6 defendants, Scott said “the greatest threat to democracy today is Joe Biden.” Karl asked about the Supreme Court’s opinion striking down a ban on bump stocks. Scott responded: “Under Joe Biden, we’ve seen an explosion, 10 million illegal immigrants have invaded our country, leading to migrant crime that we saw just yesterday.” You get the idea.

However, Scott also stood by his vote to certify the 2020 election, which probably won’t make Trump happy. But during his meeting with Senate Republicans last week, we reported that Trump heaped praise on Scott the most out of all the potential running mates in the room.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Cotton was also asked about Jan. 6 and Trump’s promise of pardons for some defendants. Cotton complained to Jake Tapper about “techniques that were used for every grandma in a MAGA hat who was within a country mile of the Capitol on Jan. 6 are not being used for the street militias who protested outside Supreme Court justices’ homes or the pro-Hamas lunatics who were defacing statues of veterans or who occupied college campuses last month.”

Cotton used the “street militias” line a couple of times.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Donalds echoed Johnson’s assertion that — somehow — the Supreme Court should overturn Trump’s conviction in the New York City hush-money case. This is a state case, not a federal one.

And Donalds repeated the claim that Biden and Hillary Clinton violated the Espionage Act in how they handled classified materials. Special Counsel Jack Smith brought charges against Trump in the classified documents probe, while neither Biden nor Clinton were charged after the investigations into their handling of classified information.

We wanted to highlight this Donalds’ quote as well. NBC’s Peter Alexander asked Donalds — who’s in his second House term — whether he could be president if needed:

On Fox News Sunday, Burgum was pressed by Shannon Bream about a previous comment by the former tech industry executive and GOP presidential hopeful on how he ”wouldn’t do business” with Trump.

Here’s Burgum’s response:

— John Bresnahan, Andrew Desiderio and Jake Sherman

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.