May 10, 2019

Trump's new impeachment trap

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

House Democrats' heightened hunger for impeachment is being fueled by President Trump's scorched-earth strategy of rebuffing every congressional demand for information related to the special counsel's Russia probe.

Why it matters: Multiple fights between the two branches of government will wind through the courts, with some likely to end up at the Supreme Court.

  • An outside adviser to the West Wing tells Axios: "Trump’s statement that they will not comply with the subpoenas and document requests was not posturing or an opening negotiating position. It is administration policy."

The bottom line:

  • Damned if he does: If Trump allows Democrats to rummage through notes and witnesses, he risks new material surfacing that piles on top of the Mueller report, triggering impeachment. 
  • Damned if he doesn't: If Trump refuses all cooperation with Congress, Democrats increasingly see the opportunity to try to impeach him.

Be smart: Some Trump advisers would love nothing more than Dems trying to impeach him before 2020. It's win-win in their minds, per Axios' Jonathan Swan:

  • Run out the clock by obstructing Dem oversight efforts. And if that leads to House Democrats trying to impeach him, then all the better: They think it’ll redound to Trump’s political advantage. 

Go deeper: Where 2020 Democrats stand on impeaching Trump

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The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

How Trump’s economy stacks up

Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health