Dec 2, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Happy Monday, and welcome back!

  • Today's Smart Brevity™ count: 993 words ... a 3½-minute read.
1 big thing: Trump monetizes impeachment

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Impeachment has brought out President Trump's marketing instincts: He and his campaign are trying to turn the perilous process into a fundraising and mobilization tool, Axios' Sara Fischer and Alayna Treene write.

  • Fascinating stat: Republicans have spent $6.8 million on impeachment TV ads since Oct. 1. Democrats have spent $4.7 million, per Advertising Analytics.
  • Why it matters: Democrats competing to challenge Trump in the general election are getting a preview of how he may seek to upend and monetize their arguments against him.

A campaign official tells Axios that a lot of the ideas for responses are being generated by Trump himself.

  • His nearly three years on the job have helped him become an expert in framing his own missteps to his advantage.

Merchandise: Recent additions to the Trump campaign's store include "Bull-Schiff" T-shirts demonizing House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, and "Where's Hunter?" T-shirts mocking Joe Biden's son.

  • Sources close to Trump's campaign say the recent impeachment-focused merchandise has sold well and given the team an added bonus of additional data about Trump supporters.

Facebook: The Trump campaign has been blitzing Facebook with ads urging supporters to "sign up" to fight impeachment.

  • The Trump campaign has spent nearly $2 million on impeachment ads on Facebook since Sept. 28, according to data from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

TV: Trump will air a re-election ad on Fox [Corrected] during the 2020 Super Bowl, per two sources familiar with the ad buy.

  • His campaign made a similar buy during Game 7 of the World Series.
2. ⚖️ New impeachment phase to move "really fast"

Screenshot via CNN

The House impeachment report on President Trump will be unveiled today behind closed doors for key lawmakers, per AP.

  • Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee say the report will be made available to committee members ahead of a vote tomorrow to send it to the Judiciary Committee for Wednesday's landmark hearing.
  • "This next phase is going to happen really fast," an official working on impeachment told Axios' Alayna Treene.

In a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), White House counsel Pat Cipollone spurned an invitation to participate on Wednesday.

  • Cipollone called impeachment a "baseless and highly partisan inquiry [that] violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness."

Wednesday's hearing will convene legal experts to lay the groundwork for articles of impeachment, which the panel is expected to draw up quickly.

  • Trump will be in London for a NATO summit.

Read the White House letter.

3. GOP's next impeachment move

House Republicans will try to go on the offensive this week, as both sides make closing arguments for and against the impeachment of President Trump.

  • A senior House GOP aide told me to look for Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, to engage Chairman Jerry Nadler with "a bunch of procedural maneuvers."

Collins prides himself on mastery of process and rules.

  • He will rely heavily on Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and John Ratcliffe of Texas to engage on substance.

The GOP aide told me: "We feel like this is our moment in the House."

4. Trail pic du jour
Photo: The (Raleigh) News & Observer via AP

Laboring to win over black voters, Pete Buttigieg listens as the Rev. William Barber, pastor and civil rights activist, discusses racism and poverty at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C.

  • Buttigieg attended a Sunday service with Barber's racially diverse congregation, AP's Elana Schor writes.
  • Then the mayor stayed for a discussion with the Poor People’s Campaign — begun by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. shortly before he was assassinated in 1968, and revived by Barber, a former North Carolina NAACP president.
5. Climate summit warned of "point of no return"
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres gives a speech at COP25. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP via Getty Images

The UN opened a two-week climate summit in Madrid today — moved from Chile due to protests — as "world leaders face growing pressure to prove they can muster the political will to avert the most catastrophic impacts of global warming," writes Reuters.

  • "The conference aims to lay the final pieces of groundwork needed to support the 2015 Paris agreement to tackle climate change, which enters a crucial implementation phase next year."
6. Clean energy isn't enough for climate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Instead of renewable energy, the world needs to focus far more on cutting its use of oil, natural gas and coal to really fight climate change, writes Axios' Amy Harder in her "Harder Line" column.

The big picture: Like adding salad to your pasta doesn’t help you lose weight, adding cleaner energy to a world run on fossil fuels won’t cut greenhouse gas emissions — yet that’s what we’re doing now.

  • That's the upshot of a new climate-change simulator that MIT and think tank Climate Interactive will unveil this week.

Share this story.

7. "How a Divided Left Is Losing the Battle on Abortion"

"Nationwide access to abortion is more vulnerable than it has been in decades," write the N.Y. Times' Elizabeth Dias and Lisa Lerer.

  • That's due partly to strong organizing from the right, but the authors write that "less attention has been paid to the left’s role in its own loss of power" on the issue.

Why it matters: "National leaders became overly reliant on the protections granted by a Democratic presidency under [President Obama] and a relatively balanced Supreme Court, critics say, leading to overconfidence that their goals were not seriously threatened."

  • "Their expectation that [President Trump] would lose led them to forgo battles they now wish they had fought harder, like Judge Merrick B. Garland’s failed nomination to the bench."

Worthy of your time.

8. Race to fill local newsrooms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Efforts to fill local newsrooms are ramping up as the industry continues to face rapid cuts, consolidation and closures, writes Axios' Sara Fischer.

  • In one of the largest single-day hiring announcements for local journalism, nonprofit Report for America said that it's on pace to place 250 journalists in 164 local newsrooms in 2020.

Why it matters: The death of local news in America is routinely cited as one of the country's biggest threats to democracy. With fewer opportunities in local journalism and less job security at the local level, finding talent to fill local newsrooms has become a central focus.

9. "CBS Evening News" launches in D.C.
Nora O'Donnell's new set. Photo: Michele Crowe/CBS

"The CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell" moves to its new permanent home in Washington with tonight's broadcast, making it the only network evening newscast based in the capital.

  • Jay Shaylor, the show's executive producer, said in a CBS announcement: "Our move to Washington, D.C., allows Norah to bring viewers the heart of the story from the center of where everything is happening."
10. 1 historic thing
Photo: Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser via AP

A new statue of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks was dedicated in Montgomery, Alabama’s capital city, yesterday — the 64th anniversary of her historic refusal to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man, per AP.

  • The statue stands on downtown's Dexter Avenue, with the state capitol behind it.

Below, Parks rides a newly integrated Montgomery bus in December, 1956, after the Supreme Court declared the city's segregation laws unconstitutional.

Photo: Don Cravens/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

Go deeper: "Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat and changed the world."

Mike Allen

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