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Trump says he is 'saving' Barrett for Ginsburg seat: Axios

President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE has reportedly said he is "saving" Judge Amy Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, according to Axios.

Barrett was a popular choice among conservative activists as a candidate to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy before Trump eventually nominated Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughLaurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election LIVE COVERAGE: Senate set to consider Garland for AG A powerful tool to take on the Supreme Court — if Democrats use it right MORE.

Axios reported that Trump has made clear his desire to replace Ginsburg with Barrett since Kennedy’s decision to retire, telling people on separate occasions, "I'm saving her for Ginsburg."

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Trump also opted against nominating Barrett over concerns that her opposition to abortion rights would lead Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks Biden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate Murkowski undecided on Tanden as nomination in limbo MORE (R-Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks Biden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate MORE (R-Maine) to vote against her, according to the news outlet. Aides were reportedly confident enough Republicans would gain Senate seats in the 2018 midterms that they decided a more conservative nominee would stand a better chance of confirmation after the elections.

Ginsburg, 86, recently returned to the bench after missing a series of cases in January because of cancer surgery last December.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.