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

Go deeper

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 5,885,490— Total deaths: 363,031 — Total recoveries — 2,468,011Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 1,735,971 — Total deaths: 102,516 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.
Updated 1 hour ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Over 500 schools in South Korea have either closed or postponed reopening, according to the Korea Times, which cites data from the Ministry of Education.

Why it matters: South Korea has been a model for how to handle the novel coronavirus, and the closures reportedly followed concerns from parents and teachers over child safety. The country's confirmed death toll has plateaued at 269 over the past few days, with few increases, per Johns Hopkins data.

Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.