Jun 7, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🎬 Coming Sunday at 6 p.m. ET/PT: :Axios on HBO" heads to Italy for an exclusive tour of Steve Bannon's bizarre populism school — in a monastery.

  • Sneak peek at Jonathan Swan’s interview here.
  • And Ina Fried interviews Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

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1 big thing: The long road to impeachment
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Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon and Lazaro Gamio/Axios

59 House Democrats and one House Republican now publicly support impeachment proceedings against President Trump, according to Axios' Zach Basu.

  • Why it matters: The whip count surged in the aftermath of Robert Mueller's statement last week, but pro-impeachment Democrats still amount to only a quarter of the 235-member caucus.
  • That figure is likely to stay well below the threshold necessary to launch impeachment in the House until the moment — if it ever comes — that Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives her blessing.

Impeachment math:

  • 13 of the 24 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, which would open the inquiry, publicly support impeachment. 21 are needed to refer an impeachment resolution to the House floor.
  • Of the eight Democrats that Axios identified as "influential" — the three top members of leadership and five committee chairs investigating Trump — only one publicly supports impeachment: Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters. Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler has reportedly pushed privately to open an impeachment inquiry.
  • None of the 17 Democrats running in "toss-up" districts in 2020 are pro-impeachment, according to the Cook Political Report.

The big picture: Pelosi has long wagered that impeachment would be fruitless without overwhelming public support. And right now, the public isn't there:

  • 41% of the public supported impeachment as of May 31, down from an all-time high of 47% in September, according to a CNN poll.

The bottom line: Many Democrats who publicly support impeachment are already known for being outspoken critics of the president. That masks the reality that 75% of the caucus, including its leader, hasn't come out in favor.

2. The new Gilded Age: For some, too much money

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A truly bizarre trend is having an impact on the economy: Wealthy people and corporations have so much money they literally don't know what to do with it, Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin writes.

  • Wait! What? At a time when growing income inequality is fueling voter discontent and underpinning an array of social movements, the top 1% of earners and big companies are holding record levels of unused cash.

The big picture: U.S. companies raked in a record $2.3 trillion in corporate profits last year, while the country's total wealth increased by $6 trillion to $98.2 trillion (40% of which went to those with wealth over $100,000).

So, where is all the money going?

  • Large companies around the world are overwhelmingly and uniformly choosing not to reinvest much of it into their businesses. They're hoarding it in cash and buying back stock, the IMF notes.
  • Wealthy households and individuals are pouring money into asset managers, betting on companies that lose $1 billion a year, bonds from little-known Middle Eastern republics, and giving hot Silicon Valley start-ups more venture capital than they can handle.

How we got here:

  • The Fed's quantitative easing program pushed the cost of borrowing money to next to nothing for nearly a decade, allowing companies to splurge on debt.
  • Globalization allowed them to reduce labor costs, meaning that gains effectively were returned as profit and used by public companies to boost stock prices.
  • These factors, combined with the tax cut favoring owners over workers, eroded unions and reduced employees' ability to demand higher wages.

The bottom line: Money that would previously have been split between businesses, workers and the government is instead sitting in corporate accounts.

3. Biden's new liberalism
Photo: John Bazemore/AP

In a dramatic reversal, Joe Biden told a DNC summit in Atlanta last night that he "no longer supports a ban on federal funding for abortions, known as the Hyde Amendment, ... after a day of sharp criticism from campaign rivals," the WashPost's Colby Itkowitz reports.

  • "We’ve seen state after state ... passing extreme laws," Biden said. “[T]hese folks are going to stop at nothing to get rid of Roe. ... Circumstances have changed."

The backstory, from AP: "A senior Biden campaign official said some aides were surprised at the speed of the reversal, given Biden's long history of explaining his abortion positions in terms of his [Catholic] faith."

  • "But aides realized that as the front-runner, the attacks weren't going to let up, and his campaign reasoned that the fallout within the Democratic primary outweighed any long-term benefit of maintaining his previous Hyde support."

Be smart: This, plus Biden's left-of-Obama climate plan, shows the gravitational pull of liberals.

4. Pics du jour

President Trump puts his autograph up top when 15 world leaders sign a D-Day proclamation at a ceremony in Portsmouth, England:

Photo: Kerry Davies/AFP/Getty Images
Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Veteran David Edwards gets 75-year thanks in Arromanches-les-Bains, France.

5. U.S. opens new mass facility for migrant kids
Minors exercise at a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children in Homestead, Fla. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The federal government is opening a new mass facility to hold migrant children in Texas — and is considering detaining hundreds more youths on three military bases around the country, adding up to 3,000 new beds to the already overtaxed system, AP's Garance Burke reports.

  • The new emergency facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, will hold as many as 1,600 teens.
  • The agency is also weighing using Army and Air Force bases in Georgia, Montana and Oklahoma to house an additional 1,400 kids in the coming weeks, amid the influx of children traveling to the U.S. alone.

All the new facilities will be considered temporary emergency shelters, so they won't be subject to state child welfare licensing requirements,

6. Watching a delivery to your fridge

Walmart is launching a service that offers grocery delivery directly to your refrigerator, using smart-key technology to let the worker in, and a proprietary, wearable camera so you can watch the delivery remotely. (Reuters)

7. NYPD apologizes for '69 Stonewall raid
Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP

Three weeks before the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid, which catalyzed the modern LGBT rights movement, New York's police commissioner apologized, AP's Jennifer Peltz writes.

  • "The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain and simple," Commissioner James O'Neill said during a briefing at police headquarters.
  • "The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive."

Why it matters: The police raid of the gay bar in Greenwich Village — in the wee hours of June 28, 1969 — gave rise to a series of riots that provided a spark to the nascent LGBT rights movement.

8. Carmakers urge Trump to retool pollution policy

What's new: The world’s largest automakers — 17 companies, including Ford, GM, Toyota and Volvo — warned President Trump in a letter that "his plan to weaken tailpipe pollution standards ... threatens to cut their profits and produce 'untenable' instability" in the industry, the N.Y. Times' Coral Davenport reports.

  • Why it matters: "The carmakers ... had sought some changes to the pollution standards early in the Trump presidency, but have since grown alarmed at the expanding scope of the administration’s plan."
9. A sign of our times

Entertainment Weekly is going monthly (but keeping its name), per CNN's Brian Stelter.

10. 1 ⚽ thing

"Women’s Soccer’s Big Moment, Big-Footed by Indifference and a 'Clerical Error,'" the N.Y. Times' Rory Smith discovered:

  • "Women’s World Cup supporters were disappointed, but hardly surprised, when two major men's finals were scheduled against theirs," which will be played July 7 in Lyon, France, after a month of competition that begins today.
  • Why it matters: Two major international men's competitions, CONCACAF's Gold Cup and CONMEBOL's Copa América, "would end on the biggest day in the women’s soccer calendar in four years."
Mike Allen

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