Oct 1, 2018

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

☕️ Good Monday morning, and welcome to October:

  • It's the first Monday in October — the Supreme Court returns.
  • Marquees along the Las Vegas Strip go dark tonight to mark the first anniversary of a gunman's rampage that killed 58.
  • Goldman Sachs gets a new CEO today as David Solomon succeeds Lloyd Blankfein.
  • ⚾️ Game 163! For the first time in baseball history, two divisions will be determined by one-game playoffs, both today: Brewers-Cubs and Rockies-Dodgers.
1 big thing: Trump's kids crisis gets worse
Children at a tent encampment in Tornillo, Texas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A majority of the separated migrant families who were in the news earlier this year have been reunited. But another kids crisis is growing: The Trump administration is struggling to provide shelter and find homes for a record-breaking 13,000+ migrant children in its custody, Axios' Stef Kight reports.

  • Even though the scandal is mostly out of the news, the numbers have ballooned, from 2,400 detained migrant children last year to 13,000 today, the N.Y. Times reports.
  • The federal government is struggling to house them, resulting in traumatic forced moves from established shelters to spartan tent cities.

The Times reports a shocking detail about the move of hundreds of migrant kids in recent weeks from shelters from Kansas to New York, to "a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas":

  • "In order to avoid escape attempts, the moves are carried out late at night because children will be less likely to try to run away. For the same reason, children are generally given little advance warning that they will be moved."
  • "[I]n the rows of sand-colored tents in Tornillo, Tex., children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks. There is no school."

Why the numbers are growing: Not only was there a surge of minors caught attempting illegal solo crossings of the border this summer, new vetting policies at the Department of Health and Human Services have slowed the process for releasing these kids to suitable families already in the U.S.

  • Some potential caretakers, known as sponsors, have even been arrested by ICE on immigration charges. That could scare away relatives or other caretakers from applying to sponsor migrant children.

There are not only more kids in custody, but they're being held longer:

  • An increasing number of kids under 18 years old are being detained by the U.S. government for an average of almost two months — where previously, the average had only been 34 days, per the Times.

Why it'll get worse ... "[D]eep structural forces threatening to send even more migrants north: hunger, joblessness and the gravitational pull of the American economy," the WashPost's Nick Miroff reports from Guatemala City.

  • "The Trump administration has already tried to stop them with one of the harshest measures in its tool kit — separating parents from their children — and the strategy failed."

What the administration says ... A Department of Homeland Security official told me: "The lack of awareness and discussion of ... debilitating loopholes [under current laws and court rulings] remain one of the great underreported stories of our times."

  • Be smart: With no ability in Congress to pass something as complex and divisive as immigration reform, this shocking situation looks to be a continuing crisis.
2. After 25 years, NAFTA gets a new name

It's now the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. (You can dance to it!)

  • "Trump is set to sign a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement that will make modest revisions to a deal he once called a 'disaster,' easing uncertainty for companies reliant on tariff-free commerce," per Bloomberg.
  • "U.S. and Canadian negotiators worked around the clock this weekend to secure an agreement just before [midnight yesterday], allowing leaders from those nations and Mexico to sign the accord by late November."
3. California is first state to require women on boards

Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday "signed a bill into law that makes California the first state to require corporate boards of directors to include women," per the L.A. Times' Patrick McGreevy:

  • Brown: "Given all the special privileges that corporations have enjoyed for so long, it’s high time corporate boards include the people who constitute more than half the 'persons' in America."

"The new law requires publicly traded corporations headquartered in California to include at least one woman on their boards of directors by the end of 2019 as part of an effort to close the gender gap in business."

  • "By the end of July 2021, a minimum of two women must sit on boards with five members, and there must be at least three women on boards with six or more members."
  • "Business groups have questioned the legality of a state imposing such requirements on corporations."
Bonus: Hot online

Ryan Lizza reports from Sibley, Iowa, for Esquire, House Intellgence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) for years has "spun himself as a straight talker whose no-BS values are rooted in his family’s California dairy farm."

  • "So why did his parents and brother cover their tracks after quietly moving the farm to Iowa?"

"On my third day in Sibley, I became used to the cars tailing me."

  • "In the morning, I was followed by the redhead in the muddy white Yukon. In the afternoon, there was a shift change and I was followed by a different, later-model white Yukon. I stuck a GoPro on my dashboard and left it running whenever I parked my car. When I reviewed the videos, one of the two Yukons could always be seen slowly circling as I ate lunch or interviewed someone."
  • Worthy of your time.
4. "I'm a victim of sexual assault"

During a heated conversation about Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, Kellyanne Conway tells Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union" that she was a victim of sexual assault:

This is about whether or not this man and his impeccable judicial temperament and qualifications in 12 years on the second highest court in this country is qualified to be on the United States Supreme Court. ... I feel very empathetic, frankly, for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment and rape. ...
I'm a victim of sexual assault. ... That is who is responsible for a sexual assault, the people who commit them. ... I have just had it. I have just had it with it all being the same.

P.S. "In a call to Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, nine days ago from his Bedminster, N.J., country club, Mr. Trump unleashed an expletive-filled tirade, telling Mr. McConnell that he had let the process get away from him," the N.Y. Times' Mike Shear and Robin Pogrebin report:

  • "Trump later told associates that the Republicans and [White House counsel Don] McGahn had erred by not quickly holding a full Senate vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday, after the Judiciary Committee advanced it along party lines."
  • "The president said senators like [Jeff] Flake who were wavering about the nomination should have been forced to vote against Judge Kavanaugh and suffer the political consequences."
5. 2020 starts in 2018

Bruce Mehlman of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas says in one of his famous slide decks that the 2018 midterm results will help determine Dems' more promising path for 2020:

  • Leftward ho! (Party of the Popular Vote)
  • Or ... Win Back "Reagan Democrats" (Party of the Electoral College)

See the full deck.

6. "The Committee to Save the World Order"

A new "G-9" .... "America’s Allies Must Step Up as America Steps Down," Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay write in the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs (adapted from their book, "The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership," out Oct. 16):

The major allies of the United States can leverage their collective economic and military might to save the liberal world order. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the EU in Europe; Australia, Japan, and South Korea in Asia; and Canada in North America are the obvious candidates to supply the leadership that the Trump administration will not.
Together, they represent the largest economic power in the world, and their collective military capabilities are surpassed only by those of the United States.

Worthy of your time.

7. Big Oil takes on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A nascent organization funded by global oil companies to address climate change may seem ironic but it's a credible effort that could actually have a real impact, writes Axios' Amy Harder in her "Harder Line" energy column.

Why it matters: Under pressure from investors and lawsuits, oil companies are starting to acknowledge climate change and slowly shift their business models in response.

8. Katie Couric on #MeToo in network news

"In her most pointed comments to date about allegations of harassment at CBS, Katie Couric said the reports about the network's toxic, male-centric culture ring true," CNN reports:

  • Couric told CNN's Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources": "The culture I found at '60 Minutes' personally was very challenging and at times quite offensive."
  • "I think obsequious and subservience was a job requirement in order to thrive there for many women in particular."

What we're listening to: Couric and Brian Goldsmith made a podcast documentary to mark the 10-year anniversary of her interview with Sarah Palin:

  • "We go behind the scenes with top Obama and McCain officials like David Axelrod, Steve Schmidt, and Nicolle Wallace to discuss how Palin was picked, why she was such a captivating candidate, and what led to her downfall."
  • All ears.
9. Tucker Carlson: A "desperate" country
Free Press

Out tomorrow from Fox News' Tucker Carlson, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution" (Free Press):

Donald Trump was in many ways an unappealing figure. He never hid that. Voters knew it.
Trump might be vulgar and ignorant, but he wasn’t responsible for the many disasters America’s leaders created. Trump didn’t invade Iraq or bail out Wall Street. He didn’t lower interest rates to zero, or open the borders, or sit silently by as the manufacturing sector collapsed and the middle class died. ...
Happy countries don’t elect Donald Trump president. Desperate ones do.


10. 1 van thing

"Minivans are the future of transportation — just don’t call them minivans," reports Michael Laris for The Washington Post:

  • "Tech firms are spending billions developing the brains for self-driving cars, and minivans offer what some consider the perfect body for a transplant."
  • "'The platform of that minivan is ideal. It’s an oblong block on four wheels,' said Timothy Papandreou, a former chief innovation officer at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency who also worked at Waymo, a leading self-driving firm.
  • "'It’s familiar and it’s safe. It’s not scary. It’s not a Mustang or Corvette . . . It’s a minivan.'"
Mike Allen