Sep 7, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

☢️ Breaking: TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has begun using arrays of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium in violation of its 2015 nuclear deal, a spokesman said today, warning that Europe has little time left to offer new terms to save the accord.

🏈 Get up! It's game day! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,186 words ... 4½ minutes.

1 big thing: What the deadliest mass shootings have in common
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Data: U.S. Mass Shootings, 1982-2019, from Mother Jones. Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The deadliest American mass shootings in the past 20 years have had one thing in common: The perpetrator used an assault rifle, Axios visual journalists Chris Canipe and Lazaro Gamio write.

  • Why it matters: These weapons amplify the destructive will of the person who carries out an attack.
  • Nine people died and 27 were injured in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, in a shooting that lasted 32 seconds. The killer used an AR-15 style assault rifle.

Since 1999, the U.S. has had 115 mass shootings (defined as at least three people killed).

  • 941 people were killed; 1,431 were injured.
  • Of those 115 attacks, 32 — just over a quarter — involved semi-automatic rifles. But those attacks accounted for 40% of all deaths and 69% of all injuries.
  • Since 2017, 12 of the 31 mass shootings involved assault rifles — which caused 39% of the deaths and 92% of the injuries.
  • That includes the Las Vegas massacre of 2017 — which alone accounts for almost 40% of all mass shooting injuries since 1999. The perpetrator of that shooting used over 20 assault rifles.

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2. Feds' advice on vaping: Don't
A woman takes a puff from a cannabis vape pen in L.A. Photo: Richard Vogel/AP

Health authorities are urging people to stop using e-cigarettes and other vaping products while they investigate 5 deaths from a mysterious illness that may have affected over 450 U.S. users, The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription).

  • "The cause of the illnesses is a mystery, though health authorities have linked them to the vaping of key marijuana ingredients or nicotine. Most of the cases seem to be cannabis-related."
  • Many are teens.

Why it matters, from a New England Journal of Medicine editorial:

  • "Although more investigation is needed to determine the vaping agent or agents responsible, there is clearly an epidemic that begs for an urgent response."

What the CDC says:

While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products. People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever) and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns.
Regardless of the ongoing investigation, people who use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer. E-cigarette products should never be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
3. Efforts to combat human trafficking slow under Trump
Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Several federal efforts to combat human trafficking in the U.S. have slowed under the Trump administration, Axios' Stef Kight and Juliet Bartz write, based on government data and human-trafficking advocates.

  • Why it matters: Anti-immigrant sentiment has compounded the problem, as many victims of human trafficking come from other nations.

The big picture: There are thousands of trafficking victims in the U.S., including children trafficked into prostitution as well as agricultural and domestic workers who are paid little or nothing.

  • But the Trump administration has cut back on prosecutions of these crimes and assistance to victims.

By the numbers: Last year, the National Human Trafficking Hotline identified almost 15,000 people who were most likely trafficked. That's more than any year since at least 2012.

  • But prosecutions are down: The number of defendants charged with human trafficking by federal attorneys fell to 386 last year, from 553 in 2017, according to the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.
  • So far this year, federal attorneys have prosecuted 39% of the cases referred to them with child sex trafficking as the lead charge, according to data collected by Syracuse University. That's down from 49% in the last year of the Obama administration.
  • Investigations are also down: In 2018, the Justice Department opened just 657 trafficking investigations — down from a spike of 1,800 in FY 2016, per the TIP reports.

Between the lines: The number of prosecutions isn't the only factor.

  • The Trump administration recently made it more difficult for victims of sex trafficking to clear their criminal records.
  • Federal officials are also denying more "T visas," which are for trafficking victims who cooperate with law enforcement.

The response: The Department of Homeland Security increased the number of specialists working with human trafficking investigators by 70% last year, according to the TIP report.

  • Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr told Axios that DOJ "continues to prioritize fighting violent crime, including human trafficking," and remains "deeply committed to securing restitution for victims and survivors of human trafficking."

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Bonus: Sign of our times

Top three stories on, screenshot from an iPad at 8:58 last evening:

via an Axios AM reader
4. "Hour of darkness": Some Bahamas villages still cut off
Photo: Fernando Llano/AP

Above, residents of an area destroyed by Hurricane Dorian ask for food and water from rescue volunteers in Marsh Harbour, Abaco Island, Bahamas.

  • Search and rescue teams are still trying to reach some Bahamian communities isolated by flood waters and debris.
  • The official death toll has risen to 43, and could soar. (AP)

Below, people wait in Marsh Harbour Port to be evacuated to Nassau.

  • The evacuation is slow, and some said they had nowhere to go after the hurricane splintered whole neighborhoods.
Photo: Gonzalo Gaudenzi/AP
5. Inside this weekend's Bush-Cheney reunion
Last night's Treasury Department reunion. Photo: Matt McDonald/Hamilton Place Strategies

With all the hallmarks of a milestone-year college reunion, more than 2,400 people have saddled up for a Bush-Cheney Alumni Reunion that has drawn old friends and colleagues back to Washington from new lives around the country.

  • It was 10 years in January since President Bush and Vice President Cheney left office. Both will attend the big bash tonight along with their wives, Laura Bush and Lynn Cheney.
  • The Bush administration had dark days, for sure. But many of the Republicans we visited with over the past two nights said everything seemed brighter through the prism of today's times.
  • But mostly this is a time to tell stories, like the former White House press advance man from Texas who waited in the rain, with no coat, to hand Gov. George W. Bush his résumé. After he'd been hired, Karen Hughes gave it back to him — with a scrawl on the back from Bush saying this guy should be hired.

Last night, 29 departments, offices and agencies from the Bush 43 administration held their own "class reunions."

  • The General Services Administration's was in the Trump Hotel Lobby Bar.

Josh Bolten — former White House chief of staff, and now president and CEO of the Business Roundtable — said this weekend's attendees share a "pride in the competence and the fellowship that we all experienced while we were serving."

  • "It's not just a gauzy memory," Bolten said after speaking at a breakfast and hitting eight events last night. "It's was a remarkably collegial, cohesive and competent bunch."

Go deeper: See a partial list of attendees, via the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

6. 1 feed thing
Photo: Alexander Ryumin/TASS via Getty Images

A swallow feeds its nestlings on Russky Island, Vladivostok, Russia.

Mike Allen

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