Jan 10, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🏙️ Good Thursday morning. The Chrysler Building, New York's iconic 1930 art deco office tower, is for sale, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • "[R]eal-estate investors believe the [owners] could struggle to recoup the $800 million that the Abu Dhabi Investment Council paid for a 90% stake ... in 2008."
1 big thing: The American crises ignored

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump, and vast parts of the federal government, have been consumed with walls and a border "crisis" since he tweeted a caravan warning on Oct. 16.

  • While the definition of a crisis is highly debatable, the extent of other problems with wider reach and much higher death tolls is not. 

The border is a big deal, and the problems are real, But, as Axios' Stef Kight writes, often lost in the shutdown madness is whether the crisis is bigger than other vital issues facing the country: 

  • Since that tweet, 547 people have been shot in Chicago, and 111 people have been killed, according to data from the Chicago Tribune.
  • 86 people were killed in the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif. Trump visited after the fires — but he's now blaming California for not exercising "proper Forest Management," and is threatening to cut off emergency aid to the state.
  • An average of three men are killed every day in the U.S. by police officers, according to an estimate in the American Journal of Public Health. That would mean about 255 American men had been killed by law enforcement since Oct. 16.
  • There's no real-time data on deaths from the opioid crisis. But with 67,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC, it's likely that roughly 16,000 Americans have died of drug overdoses — including opioids — since October.
  • Suicide rates continue to climb despite a healthy economy.
  • Seven U.S. military officers were killed in Afghanistan since Oct. 16, including six combat deaths. Trump signaled a strategic shift but never addressed the nation about it. 
  • In Syria, at least 191 civilians were killed by the U.S.-led coalition between Sept. 10 and Nov. 17, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
  • And rather than address a devastating report by government scientists in November on the economic impacts of climate change, Trump simply said he doesn't believe it.

The big picture: While Trump contemplates invoking a national emergency to allow the building of his wall, 31 national-emergency declarations are already active, according to CNN.

  • These national emergencies include efforts to prevent terrorism, election fraud and "Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities."

Be smart: Imagine if Trump invokes emergency power to build the wall and the Supreme Court ultimately backs him. Future presidents could unilaterally impose their will broadly — because a crisis is in the eye of the beholder. 

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2. Trump prepares wide push on executive privilege
President Trump and Vice President Pence arrive at the Capitol yesterday. (Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images)

"A beefed-up White House legal team is gearing up to prevent President Trump's confidential discussions with top advisers from being disclosed to House Democratic investigators" or revealed in the Mueller report, the WashPost's Carol Leonnig reports:

  • "The strategy to strongly assert the president’s executive privilege ... is being developed under newly arrived White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who has hired 17 lawyers in recent weeks."
  • "He is coordinating with White House lawyer Emmet Flood, who is leading the [West Wing's Mueller] response."

Rudy Giuliani "said the president’s lawyers have made clear to Justice Department officials that they want to see Mueller’s completed report before the department decides what to share with Congress."

  • That would give the White House a chance to argue for executive privilege on some parts.
3. Shutdown, Day 20: "Ghost city"
Courtesy TIME

The Washington metro area is home to the largest number of federal workers in the country. As their paychecks stop, the negative effects threaten to spread across the thriving region, the N.Y. Times' Sabrina Tavernise writes:

  • "The metro area has about 360,000 federal workers, representing 11.5 percent of the region’s full-time work force, according to Stephen Fuller, an economist at George Mason University who focuses on the Washington area."
  • "[A]bout 145,000 [40%] have been furloughed, he said. This does not account for the many federal contractors whose pay is dependent on the government and who, unlike those in the Civil Service, do not expect any back pay."
  • As elsewhere, "those who are the most affected are people at the lower end of the income ladder with no savings and no way to make up the loss."

Why it matters, per the Times: The usually recession-proof region "boasts one of the country’s richest, strongest economies."

  • The area's "African-American population has traditionally been one of the chief beneficiaries of the government's large pool of middle-class jobs."
4. Pic du jour
Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

The faithful greet Pope Francis yesterday upon his arrival for the weekly general audience at the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall.

5. Trump address draws 35 million
White House aides pose after the address. (@Scavino45)

An estimated 35.3 million people saw President Trump's Oval Office address and the Democratic response, AP reports:

  • "That's about 10 million fewer viewers than Trump had for his 2018 State of the Union address. The Nielsen company said ... it was similar to President Barack Obama's 2014 presidential address on fighting the Islamic state, which was seen by 34 million people."
  • "Fox News Channel with 8.044 million viewers and CBS with 8.043 million were in a virtual dead heat as the top destination. NBC was third with 7 million, followed by ABC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox broadcasting."

Sean Hannity had 7.1 million viewers, "marking his highest-rated telecast ... since his return to the 9PM/ET timeslot in September 2017," according to Fox News.

  • Hannity will interview President Trump at the border today, and will broadcast tonight's show from McAllen, Texas.

For comparison, about 25 million people watched Monday night's college football national championship game, according to ESPN.

6. "60 Minutes" warning: AI could take 40% of jobs
Kai-Fu Lee talks to Scott Pelley. (CBS News)

40% of the world’s jobs could be done by machines as soon as 15 years from now, one of the world’s foremost experts on artificial intelligence, venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee, tells Scott Pelley on the coming edition of "60 Minutes":

  • "AI will increasingly replace repetitive jobs, not just for blue collar work, but a lot of white collar work."
  • "Chauffeurs, truck drivers — anyone who does driving for a living — their jobs will be disrupted ... in the 15-25 year time frame."

"Many jobs that seem a little bit complex — chef, waiter, a lot of things — will [also] become automated," Lee continues.

  • "I believe [AI] is going to change the world more than anything in the history of mankind. More than electricity."
  • See a clip.

I asked Axios future editor Steve LeVine how we should think about this.

  • "Mike, yes this is credible," Steve emails. "It's the baseline consensus."
  • "The question then becomes can our societies train and retrain these workers — often in entirely different professions — fast enough to prevent a Gilded Age-style worker crisis."
  • "Since we have barely begun even talking about this, there are doubts and profound worries."
7. First look: U.S. Chamber warns on U.S. posture

Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is using his annual "State of American Business" today for an implicit rebuke of the Trump administration's inward-looking posture:

  • "[A]uthoritarian regimes are on the rise across the globe."
  • "The U.S. and our allies spent the last 70 years working to expand democracy and freedom."
  • "Today, we face the task of rebuilding domestic consensus for supporting democracy abroad."

"We must ... reaffirm and modernize multilateral and regional organizations and cooperative arrangements — such as the WTO, NATO, the EU, and others."

  • "Let’s not lose sight of the extraordinary prosperity and peace they’ve provided for three quarters of a century."

"Second, and closely related, free speech is under assault at home and abroad."

  • "When governments move from regulating conduct to regulating or even suppressing opinion, a dangerous line has been crossed."

"Third, ... the misuse of technology and data by even a few bad actors is dangerous and invites the very thing I warned about last year — a techlash."

  • "And then you risk strangling the goose that laid the golden egg with overregulation."

Watch the speech live at 9:30 a.m. ET.

8. Flurry of Dems support more public health care

State and local Democrats are embracing a bigger role for public insurance programs, Axios health care editor Sam Baker writes:

  • On "Morning Joe" on Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio rolled out what he billed as a revolutionary plan to "guarantee health care for every New Yorker," through a locally run public option.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a possible 2020 candidate, announced his own plan for a statewide public option.
  • And when California Gov. Gavin Newsom took office on Monday, he called for expanding the Affordable Care Act’s premium subsidies in his state.

Democrats in Colorado’s legislature are also eyeing a public insurance option.

  • A handful of other states — most notably New Mexico — are also expected to look seriously at Medicaid buy-in proposals this year.

Be smart: This spate of announcements reflects the rising liberalism we told you about yesterday — a defining issue for progressive Dems with national ambition.

9. Data du jour
AP

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10. 1 fun thing
From left, Gwilym Lee, Rami Malek and Joe Mazzello in a scene from "Bohemian Rhapsody." (Alex Bailey/Twentieth Century Fox via AP)

"Bohemian Rhapsody," the Golden Globe-winning Queen biopic, will be released as a sing-along in more than 750 theaters in North America tomorrow, per AP:

  • "The film includes some of the band's most popular songs such as 'We Will Rock You' and 'We Are the Champions.'"
  • "The sing-along version will display song lyrics on screen." (Variety)

"The expansion comes days after 'Bohemian Rhapsody' won the Golden Globe for best film drama," per AP.

  • "Rami Malek took home a Globe for best actor for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury."

"Last year, Fox held sing-along versions for 'The Greatest Showman,'" about P.T. Barnum.

Mike Allen