Oct 23, 2019

Trump's new reality: the daily dump

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump is getting hit with a relentless, daily deluge of leaks — and revelations — from former aides, current officials and Democrats.

Why it matters: This has thrown Trump into a constant state of defensiveness — and turned a growing number of Republicans into skeptics and unwilling full-throated defenders.

  • Approval of the impeachment inquiry reached a new high, 55%, in a Quinnipiac Poll out this morning, with 48% favoring removal from office.

As Democrats' impeachment inquiry hit the one-month mark yesterday, Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, provided some of the most explosive testimony yet about Trump tying aid to a probe of the Biden family:

  • Taylor, told House investigators that Trump demanded that "everything" Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted hinged on making a public vow to investigate Democrats.
  • Taylor testified that he discovered an "irregular" administration back channel led by Rudy Giuliani, and other "ultimately alarming circumstances," per AP.

Lawmakers who emerged after nearly 10 hours of the private deposition were stunned at Taylor's account, which some Democrats said established a "direct line" to the quid pro quo at the center of the impeachment probe, AP reports.

  • Taylor's account reached to the highest levels of the administration, drawing in Vice President Pence and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and sliced at the core of the Republican defense of the administration and the president's insistence of no wrongdoing.
  • Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) told the N.Y. Times: "It’s like if you had a big, 1,000-piece puzzle on a table. This fills in a lot of pieces of the puzzle."

Another big dump on Trump will come Nov. 19, with the publication of "A Warning," a book by the anonymous senior Trump administration official who penned a mysterious and damaging N.Y. Times op-ed last year.

  • The author is represented by Keith Urbahn and Matt Latimer of Javelin.
  • Latimer told the WashPost's Phil Rucker that the author didn't take an advance, "and intends to donate some of the royalties to nonprofit organizations that focus on government accountability and supporting truth-tellers, ... including the White House Correspondents’ Association."

Last evening, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement: "President Trump has done nothing wrong — this is a coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats."

  • "There was no quid pro quo. Today was just more triple hearsay."

Go deeper ... U.S. envoy: Trump tied Ukraine aid to Biden, DNC investigations

Go deeper

The polarized pandemic election

A Trump supporter protests Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order, during a May 15 rally outside the Capitol in Harrisburg. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump is going all-in on pushing for a rapid, robust return to normal life, creating a visual, visceral contrast with Joe Biden and other Democrats who are more reticent to rip the masks off.

The state of play: Business friends have been urging Trump from the beginning to keep the lockdowns short. He's listening more and more.

Tech's long hot summer of antitrust

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google, Facebook and other tech giants face a summer of regulatory grilling as long-running investigations into potential anticompetitive practices likely come to a head.

The big picture: Probes into the power of Big Tech launched by federal and state authorities are turning a year old, and observers expect action in the form of formal lawsuits and potentially damning reports — even as the companies have become a lifeline for Americans during the pandemic lockdown.

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."