The White House is currently working to schedule a meeting between Trump and Judge Barbara Lagoa in the Miami area on Friday, according to two CNN sources.
Lagoa is one of five women candidates the President is considering replacing, but two sources said her chances have dropped significantly since the weekend.
But for now, Barrett – currently in the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago – is his clear leader and is considered by the White House as a potential candidate.
The president announced Tuesday morning that he would announce Saturday at the White House.
Officials said Trump seemed very enthusiastic about Barrett after their meeting, which lasted several hours. He told people later that he believed Barrett would be well received by “his people”, an official said. Although no one close to the process could say that Barrett is the choice, Trump gives people the impression that he is completely sold on it.
A source familiar with Trump’s private conversations told CNN that one of his confidants in the matter told him that this choice is so important not only for his legacy but also for his re-election that it will be essentially “the new your partner ”
Lagoa remains on the list, but many people familiar with the matter told CNN that Trump is fading at the idea of taking her. While Trump was initially excited about the prospect of appointing a Cuban-American from Florida, a crucial battlefield, Lagoa had not previously been tried in the Supreme Court and some advisers suggested it would be a heavy lift to quickly clear a new name.
The White House may still schedule a meeting with Lagoa, but two sources said its chances have dropped significantly since the weekend.
On Monday, Trump initially said he was considering five names for the vacancy before adding that he was really focusing only on “one or two” names.
Trump said the weekend timetable was aimed at showing respect for Ginsburg, which will be resting in the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday before a private intervention at Arlington National Cemetery next week.
However, the President also wants to extend the drama of his election, to liken it to his version of a candidate during an election year, according to an adviser.
Trump plans to make the announcement during a prominent first hour, as he did for Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh earlier in his term, according to the adviser.
In the past, the President has revealed the drama of the moment – including orchestrating an attempt to convince the media that he had chosen Thomas Hardiman instead of Gorsuch in 2018, with Hardiman leaving his home and heading to Washington.
This time, Trump was clearer about who is on his list and how many names he takes seriously.
He praised Lagoa in an interview with Fox News, but even some of her supporters – many of whom, including in Florida Republican circles and among Trump political advisers – acknowledge that Barrett is now the top candidate.
And while Cubans-Americans form a major part of Trump’s campaign coalition, Lagoa poses a problem for some conservatives who focus on the courts: her ties to the Bush family, which one source said some Republican-focused Republicans are wary of. The appointment of President George W. Bush by Supreme Court Justice David Sutter, who was expected to be a conservative but came to vote with the Liberal wing.
Another factor influencing Trump’s decision, at least in terms of capacity, is Senator Josh Hawley, who said his support for a Supreme Court justice depends on whether the candidate believes Roe v. Wade has ” wrong decision “.
Hawley said Monday that Barrett “meets that standard.” However, he said he was less confident with Lagoa’s views on abortion and that it was still under consideration.
“I do not know the answer to that,” Hawley said.
Hawley said he spoke to the White House about his views over the weekend.
CNN’s Dana Bash and Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.