Oct 22, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

😎 Good Tuesday morning. Today's Smart Brevity™ count: 1,161 words ... 4½ minutes.

1 big thing: Speedy impeachment
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Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Today marks exactly one month (four Tuesdays; 29 days) since Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24.

  • Why it matters: It's remarkable how fast it has gotten off the ground, Axios managing editor David Nather writes.
  • Take a look at this graphic, and you can see how quickly the Ukraine phone call came out of nowhere to become the all-consuming impeachment topic — way faster than the impeachment inquiries into Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

By the numbers:

  • It was more than a year and a half between the Watergate break-in (June 17, 1972) and the House vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry into Nixon (Feb. 6, 1974).
  • Nixon resigned about six months later, in the face of certain impeachment and near-certain conviction and removal by the Senate.
  • It took nearly nine months between the first Washington Post report of an affair between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky (Jan. 21, 1998) and the House vote that authorized his impeachment inquiry (Oct. 8, 1998.)
  • The inquiry ran 73 days (10 weeks) until Clinton was impeached on Dec. 19, 1998 — just over two months.
  • He was acquitted by the Senate about two months after that — on Feb. 12, 1999, following a trial that ran for five weeks (37 days).

Now look at the Trump timeline:

  • It was less than a month and a half ago — Sept. 13 — when House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced he had issued a subpoena to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for a whistleblower complaint that the Intelligence Community Inspector General "determined to be credible and a matter of ‘urgent concern."
  • Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry just 11 days later.
2. In political media, it's 2016 all over again

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The same media trends that led to President Trump's unexpected victory in 2016 are growing even stronger leading up to 2020, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.

  • Why it matters: Even amid a historic impeachment process, these patterns suggest Trump could have a significant media advantage over Democrats in 2020 — though there's no guarantee that the result will be the same.

The online realities:

  1. Democrats haven't made a digital comeback, despite vowing to match the sophistication of Republicans after 2016. As Axios has been reporting since March, the Trump campaign continues to outspend all of its Democratic challengers combined on digital advertising.
  2. Some aspects of the Democratic Party are still entrenched in a legacy media culture. There's long been a complaint among progressive activists about Democrats' reliance on outside consultants who are biased towards television and traditional media.
  3. Media companies have become even more polarizing.
  4. More partisan outlets are launching to take advantage of the climate.
  5. State-backed misinformation campaigns are still rampant, and more nations seem to be getting involved this time around. Facebook said yesterday that it found new misinformation efforts from groups linked to Iran and Russia.
  6. Facebook is still a hotbed for political outrage, although it's getting better. 29% — nearly one-third — of the top 100 stories shared on Facebook during the second quarter of 2019 were about politics (down from 34% in Q1), according to the social analytics company NewsWhip.

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3. McKinsey: Half the world's banks ill-prepared for downturn

"A majority of banks globally may not be economically viable because their returns on equity aren’t keeping pace with costs, McKinsey said in its annual review of the industry," Bloomberg reports.

  • Why it matters: "The decade since the global financial crisis has seen a wave of innovation in financial services, bringing new competitors from fintech startups to giants like Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google."
4. Pics du jour
Photo: Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP

A Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit at the Louvre, opening Thursday and marking the 500th anniversary of the Italian master's death, brings together some 160 works from around the world, AP's Claire Parker writes from Paris.

  • The exhibit runs through Feb. 24, 2020.
  • Visitors must reserve tickets online. The Louvre has pre-sold 220,000 tickets.
Photo: Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP
5. Senators target social media giants with data portability bill

Three prominent tech critics in the Senate will introduce new legislation today requiring social media giants to give consumers ways to move their personal data to another platform at any time, Axios' Kim Hart writes.

  • Why it matters: The bill's goal is to loosen the grip social media platforms have on their consumers through the long-term collection and storage of their data.
  • Allowing users to export their data — like friends lists and profile information — could give rival platforms a chance to compete with Facebook or Google's YouTube.

Democratic Sens. Mark Warner (Va.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), along with Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), are introducing the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act.

6. The future is now: Drugstore drone deliveries
Photo: Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP

Above, Wing — owned by Google parent Alphabet — started using drones Friday to deliver Walgreens and FedEx orders near Virginia Tech.

  • And yesterday, UPS announced that it will expand drone deliveries (in small metal boxes) near the University of Utah to include CVS, Kaiser Permanente and other medical payloads, Axios' Marisa Fernandez writes.

Below, Wing's package-carrying drones are dispatched from a launch site called the "Nest," in Christiansburg, Va.

Photo: Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP
7. Milestone: 12,000+ Americans in Afghanistan
Defense Secretary Mark Esper walks with Gen. Scott Miller (right), chief of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, at U.S. military HQ in Kabul on Sunday. Photo: Lolita Balbor/AP

"The United States has been quietly reducing its troop strength in Afghanistan despite the lack of a peace deal with the Taliban, weakening its hand in any future negotiations with the insurgents," the N.Y. Times reports from Kabul.

  • "The top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin S. Miller, said ... the size of the force in the country had dropped by 2,000 over the last year, down to somewhere between 13,000 and 12,000."

"At the height of the war, in 2010 and 2011, more than 100,000 American troops were stationed in Afghanistan."

8. Canada's Trudeau wins second term but loses majority
Justin Trudeau celebrates with his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, in Montreal last night. Photo: Cole Burston/Getty Images

Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party will "govern with a strong minority" after a victory in last night's Canadian federal elections, write the Globe and Mail's Robert Fife and Marieke Walsh.

  • Why it matters: The win brings "an end to an acrimonious campaign and [ushers] in the uncertainty of a divided Parliament and a country split along regional lines."
9. ⚾ World Series starts tonight
Photo: Matt Slocum/AP

Above, the Houston Astros — who host the Washington Nationals tonight for Game 1 of the World Series — take batting practice yesterday.

All games are on Fox (ET):

  • Game 1, tonight, at Houston, 8:08 p.m.
  • Game 2, Wednesday, at Houston, 8:07 p.m.
  • Game 3, Friday, at Washington, 8:07 p.m.
  • Game 4, Saturday, at Washington, 8:07 p.m.
  • Game 5 (if necessary), Sunday, at Washington, 8:07 p.m.
  • Game 6 (if necessary), Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Houston, 8:07 p.m.
  • Game 7 (if necessary), Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Houston, 8:08 p.m.

The Astros opened as more than a 2-1 betting favorite in Vegas.

10. 🎥 1 film thing
Image via YouTube

The final trailer for "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" debuted last night, offering montages of epic cosmic combat and a fleeting glimpse of the late Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia embracing Daisy Ridley's Rey, AP's Jake Coyle writes.

  • The tw0-minute spot strikes an elegiac note of finality.
  • "The Rise of Skywalker," which opens Dec. 20, is the last chapter in the now nine-part Skywalker saga.
  • Even C-3PO appears wistful, saying he's taking "one last look at my friends" presumably before the film's climactic showdown.

The trailer's debut on "Monday Night Football" on ESPN (which, like Lucasfilm, is Disney-owned) coincided with tickets going on sale.

  • Atom Tickets said the film sold more tickets in its first hour than any movie in its seven-year history, besting "Avengers: Endgame."

See the trailer.

Mike Allen

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