Jun 14, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🇺🇸 Happy Friday! Today is Flag Day. 👔 Sunday is Father's Day.

  • Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,191 words ... < 5 minutes!
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1 big thing: Hill takes on reparations

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For the first time since 2007, Washington lawmakers will have a hearing on reparations for slavery in the U.S., Alexi McCammond writes.

  • Why it matters: This is a sign that reparations could no longer be "a fringe issue and occasional punchline" as they have been in the past, writes the AP's Errin Whack, who broke the news of this hearing.

Between the lines: The House subcommittee hearing is technically a study of the lasting legacy of slavery and how to get on "the path to restorative justice."

  • It will be held on June 19, known as Juneteenth — a holiday to recognize the liberation of black slaves.
  • Author Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose 2014 essay for The Atlantic, "The Case for Reparations," brought the topic back to the national stage, will testify at the hearing by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
  • So will actor Danny Glover, who has been an activist for reparations over the years.
  • Of that subcommittee's 14 members, only three are people of color.

The big picture: While the reparations discussion entered the 2020 conversation early in the cycle, Democratic presidential candidates haven't signed on to directly paying black Americans — the traditional understanding of reparations.

  • Instead, many 2020 contenders have endorsed other ideas like forming a committee to further study the issue of reparations, or proposed paying the descendants of slaves in the U.S.
  • Most have talked about racial economic inequalities and how to solve them.
2. The world is watching
Courtesy The Economist

Huge demonstrations (expected to continue Sunday) over the rule of law have rattled Hong Kong's government — and the leadership in Beijing, The Economist writes in its cover editorial.

  • "The threat is real. Since he took over as China’s leader in 2012, Xi Jinping has been making it clearer than ever that the legal system should be under the party’s thumb."

Why it matters: Hong Kong is "a fragile bridge between a one-party state and the freedoms of global commerce."

  • "Many firms choose Hong Kong because it is well-connected with China’s huge market, but also upholds the same transparent rules that govern economies in the West."
3. 20 for 2020
Graphic: NBC News

20 candidates qualified for Democrats' opening presidential debates, set for June 26-27 in Miami.

  • An NBC News drawing today will divide the large field between the first and second debate night, per AP.
  • Party officials have promised to weight the drawing so that top tier and lagging candidates are spread roughly evenly over the two nights.

In: Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had both been on the bubble, made the debate based on a polling threshold.

  • Out: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts were the only major candidates who failed to meet the DNC's polling or grassroots fundraising measures for a debate spot.
4. Pic du jour: "Clear threat"
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says in the State Department briefing room:

  • "It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today's attacks in the Gulf of Oman ... an unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran."
5. A White House name to watch
Sarah Sanders on April 2. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

You’ll be hearing more about Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s spokeswoman, as discussions heat up about replacing White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.

  • A number of influential people close to President Trump want her in the job.
  • And Trump has told people he likes her and trusts her.
  • Grisham is one of a tiny number of campaign originals left in the White House.

No decision has been made on Sanders’ replacement.

  • A person close to the president said Grisham could potentially take on another senior press job, if not as a direct replacement for Sanders.

P.S. ... Trump tweeted about Sanders: "I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas."

6. D.C.'s other threat to Big Tech
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Besides privacy and antitrust, another big threat to tech platforms is an intensifying call for Congress to revamp a law shielding them from legal liability for users' posts, Axios emerging technologies reporter Kaveh Waddell writes.

  • House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff yesterday joined a motley group of policymakers calling to reconsider the legal protections afforded to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects companies that carry user-generated content from liability for what their users post.

Be smart, from Axios' David McCabe: Lawmakers have been threatening broad changes to the immunity law for over a year but haven't advanced any legislative proposals doing so. At this point, it's leverage.

7. Anita Hill: I could vote for Biden
Anita Hill in May. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Anita Hill told NBC's Andrea Mitchell that she considers Joe Biden partly responsible for how she was treated during Justice Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearings in 1991 — but is still open to voting for Biden:

  • "Of course I could." (NBC)
8. 📚 Coming attractions
Courtesy Hachette Books

"Morning" Joe Scarborough will be out Sept. 17 with "This Ends Badly: How Donald Trump Conned America," including an account of how the MSNBC host's relationship with Trump ruptured:

As Scarborough and "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski observed Donald Trump's political rise in 2016, they found themselves uttering the same line to each other: "This ends badly." ...
After first meeting Trump in 2003, Scarborough and Brzezinski found him engaging and generous, if terribly insecure ...
But as Trump grew to be an unstoppable political force in late 2015, ... Scarborough [spoke] out against Trump's rise, even as the anxious candidate continued calling him to vent and ask for advice.

Preorder.

9. 🎧 What we're listening to: Axe & Murphy
Courtesy Cadence13

Two of the great living campaign talkers, David Axelrod and Mike Murphy, team up for a "Hacks on Tap" podcast (Cadence13), taking listeners "deep inside the top level of American politics."

  • Murphy told me the two have been real friends for a long time.
  • The pod began as long phone conversations, between his base in LA. and Axe's in Chicago.

The vibe is: Walk into a bar full of campaign reporters, and pull up a stool to listen to two guys who have been in it, but now aren't tied to cable news cycles.

  • "It's fairly serious conversation by people who know something," Murphy said.

Hear the trailer and subscribe here. (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Radio.com. New episodes available every Tuesday.)

10. 1 🏀 thing
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green dunks as Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard watches. Photo: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP

The Toronto Raptors won Canada's first NBA championship with a 114-110 victory in a wild Game 6 — 18 lead changes — over the Golden State Warriors in Oakland:

  • "The Raps ... denied the Warriors their third straight championship, and spoiled the party in the ... last-ever game inside their beloved Oracle Arena," one of the NBA’s most storied arenas. (Toronto's Globe and Mail)

The big picture: "This golden era for the [Warriors], which began when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson grew into the Splash Brothers eight years ago, might be dimming a lot sooner than anyone anticipated," per ESPN.

  • "The joyful team culture had been fading for some time now — a casualty of the inexorable media cycle, clashing of egos and generalized organizational fatigue."

Trivia answer: Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, formerly with the San Antonio Spurs, "joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players to win Finals MVP for two different franchises." (NBA.com)

Mike Allen

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