Sep 28, 2018

The next ugly fight: Impeachment(s)

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

In a foreshadowing of how much uglier U.S. politics could get, top Democratic operatives are already talking about impeachment of Brett Kavanaugh as a 2020 campaign issue if he gets confirmed to the Supreme Court.

The impeachment talk reflects the conclusion of Democrats and Republicans close to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh's confirmation is more likely than not — and certainly more likely than it was 24 hours ago.

  • A well-known Democratic strategist says the "only question is who calls for it first."
  • And top Republicans expect President Trump to begin making an even bigger issue of his own possible impeachment as a way of whipping up supporters in the final month of this fall's midterm campaigns.
  • A veteran Republican close to Senate leaders and the White House: "Impeachment of Trump and Kav will be an animating issue on both sides."

Why it matters: Yesterday's epic hearing — a tearful, outraged Kavanaugh following a tearful, credible Christine Blasey Ford — will likely stand as a nine-hour distillation of our toxic era.

What to watch: "Democrats tonight are depleted, raw, furious, and churning," emails an adviser to Ford's camp.

  • A Republican insider texted his belief that Kavanaugh will make it (something the insider had doubted earlier in the day) and added: "What ugly times. We may be doomed."

The war was embodied by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who rallied the GOP by caustically accusing Democrats: "What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020."

  • The N.Y. Times' Jeremy Peters tweeted: "[W]hat I saw today was a fury between members of opposite parties that is as profound and unnerving as I've ever seen. They're not faking it."

Be smart: If Kavanaugh is confirmed, Democrats could be expected to question the legitimacy of his swing Supreme Court vote. Congress degraded itself yesterday. And the Trump White House of course has serious credibility issues.

  • So the United States of America will be three-for-three in diminished trust in its branches of government.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 662,073 — Total deaths: 30,780 — Total recoveries: 139,426.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 122,666 — Total deaths: 2,147 — Total recoveries: 1,073.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces "strong" travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, rules out quarantine enforcement.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump flags travel adversaries for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said Saturday night the CDC would issue a "strong" travel advisory" for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and that a "quarantine will not be necessary."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 mins ago - Health

Trump rules out quarantine in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut after pushback

President Trump on the White House grounds on Saturdya. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's decided not to introduce quarantine enforcement measures fo New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, but a "strong" travel advisory will be issued for those states.

Why it matters: The president said hours earlier he was considering the move to combat the rise in novel coronavirus cases. But he received pushback, most notably from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who told CNN it would cause "chaos." "This would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo added.

Go deeper: Updates on coronavirus in the U.S.