Adviser: Trump Blessed New Pence PAC

President Donald Trump had formally given Sen. Luther Strange his "complete and total endorsement." But as recently as last week, his advisers were deeply divided on whether the president should risk jetting to Alabama to prop up the Republican, who was trailing in his primary race behind a challenger who had become a darling to Trump's base.

That prompted GOP establishment forces to wage an intense behind-the-scenes campaign to convince Trump that he could carry Strange across the finish line with an appearance in Alabama.

Private polls were circulated in the West Wing showing a more favorable race for Strange than public surveys — including one the U.S. Chamber of Commerce commissioned from Trump campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio, whose imprimatur Republicans thought could sway the president. A close ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., briefed Trump and Vice President Pence on the contest. Jeff Roe, Strange's top consultant, fed regular updates to Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser.

And Sen. Bob Corker — whose own relationship with Trump was frayed by a summer of curt criticism — paid a visit last Friday to the Oval Office, where he delivered a blunt request at the end of a broader conversation.

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