☕ Good Tuesday morning. It's 90 days until the Iowa caucuses.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
A shadow industry has exploded to help U.S. companies win exemptions to President Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods, but businesses say they're having little luck gaming the opaque process, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes.
"The U.S. Trade Representative's exclusion portal is the most important place for the global economy right now," Daniel Ujczo, an international trade and customs lawyer, tells Axios.
Why it matters: A lot of money is at stake. Tariffs on goods coming from China, imposed by Trump in several waves, have already cost businesses billions.
The intrigue: To boost their odds of getting an exclusion, companies are hiring outside lawyers to file requests and flexing connections on Capitol Hill. But it's not clear how much either move helps.
How it works: China tariff exemption hopefuls, including household names like QVC and Hallmark, are required to fill out a questionnaire on the USTR’s web portal.
What's next: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) recently wrote a letter asking U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer to "update and improve the current exclusion process and better inform businesses on how to respond."
The 2020 presidential race is being fought online at a level we've never seen before, eclipsing the airwaves' traditional dominance, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: TV is still one of the candidates' most important vehicles, especially during the general election. But its dominance is quickly being eaten by digital, including TV alternatives like ads on Hulu.
The split so far between Facebook and Google leans heavily to Facebook — $56 million vs. $31 million.
The context: Well over half of ad spending in 2016, including House and Senate races, went to TV.
Here's who's spending ...
... and where:
The Racing Presidents, a fixture of Washington Nationals games, joined the World Series celebration at the White House.
A transcript of testimony by Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine, "is the first in a wave of witness statements scheduled to be released in the coming days," the WashPost reports.
"The testimony ... describes indignities that would once have seemed unthinkable in the U.S. Foreign Service," per the Post.
⚡ Breaking ... Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate, "has broken ranks, opening a dialogue with congressional impeachment investigators and accusing the president of falsely denying their relationship," the N.Y. Times reports.
Amid signs of future trouble, particularly in the Midwest, the Dow industrials climbed to their "first record since mid-July, the latest example of investors’ faith in the domestic economy," the Wall Street Journal writes (subscription).
"Stocks, bonds and commodities have all posted outsize gains, with resilient consumer spending and labor-market strength easing fears of an imminent economic downturn," per the Journal.
The Army is targeting young people "with a new multimillion-dollar advertising campaign designed to help recruit more than 130,000 people over the next year with promises of jobs everywhere from bio labs to cyber and culinary arts," reports Bloomberg Government's Roxana Tiron.
Why it matters: "Generation Z has had almost no contact or knowledge of the military which has largely fought wars abroad since 2001."
Donald Trump Jr., a popular speaker and radio guest in Trump country, is out today with "Triggered," which includes this account of fatherly advice:
One afternoon, right in the heat of the Russia hoax, even my lawyers approached me and said, "Don, you might want to slow down on social media, maybe not be so aggressive." I politely declined. Shortly after that, my father — yes, my father, Donald J. Trump, our tweeter-in-chief, the so-called Shakespeare of 140 characters — told me that I might be getting "a little too hot" on my social media accounts.
I respect the heck out of my dad, and when he gives me advice I take it ninety-nine point nine percent of the time. This, however, was probably the one time I decided not to listen! He knew as well as I did that there’s no such thing as being "too hot" on social, at least as far as I’m concerned. I consider myself a s--- talker par excellence.
Three years after Election Day, Don takes a jab at Hillary Clinton with his dedication:
I dedicate this book to the DEPLORABLES. While the elite of the other party look down on you and would rather you stay silent, I salute your work ethic, patriotism, and values. America wouldn’t be great without your blood, sweat, and tears. I will always stand with you! I am proudly one of you.
On Friday, Chris Matthews will celebrate 20 years of “Hardball," the longest-running MSNBC program.
As beards go mainstream, many "quickly discover their hair ... reminds them of the more awkward moments of puberty," writes the Wall Street Journal's Ray Smith (subscription).
💰 "In July ... the chief financial officer of [Procter & Gamble Co.] acknowledged the triumph of the beard when he blamed an $8 billion writedown in part on 'lower shaving frequency.'"
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