Oct 19, 2018

Axios AM

⚾️ Happy Friday! Red Sox in World Series; will face Dodgers or Brewers.

1 big thing: A Speaker Pelosi would break diversity record
Expand chart
Adapted, with Axios reporting, from a graphic by Bruce Mehlman of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi likes to say that “beauty is in the mix," arguing that diverse viewpoints lead to a better debate and stronger policy outcomes. 

  • Why it matters: If Dems win back the House in November's midterms, as expected, Pelosi will usher in the most diverse leadership team (in either chamber) in the history of Congress.
  • Half of the 22 committee chairs would be women or minorities — or both.

The chart above shows the projected chairs. In most cases, it's the ranking member (top Democrat) of the current committee; Pelosi has said all of those members are expected to move up.

  • In the case of retirements (two), this chart shows the next member in seniority, who is expected to get the job.

Axios managing editor David Nather points out what a change this would be: The current Republican chairs are all white, with two women.

  • Data point: House Dems are now 41% white male, which is sure to fall in the next Congress, with November's record lineup of Democratic nominees.

Go deeper: "2019 Congress could shatter diversity records."

2. Trump's closing argument
Trump speaks at Minuteman Aviation hangar in Montana last night. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

President Trump, spelling out his closing arguments for the 18 days of midterm campaigning ahead, told a rally in Montana last night: "This will be an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order, and common sense."

  • "The caravan" is a reference to 3,000 Hondurans heading through Guatemala to Mexico and then the U.S. border.
  • Trump tweeted yesterday: "I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught - and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!"
  • AP calls closing the border "a nearly unthinkable move that would disrupt hundreds of thousands of legal freight, vehicle and pedestrian crossings each day."
  • There's no evidence that, as Trump suggested, Democrats or their allies are backing the Central American caravan.
  • Trump was kicking off three consecutive rallies out West, continuing tonight in Mesa, Ariz., and Saturday in Elko, Nev. On Monday evening, he'll hold a rally in Houston.

At the Missoula rally, Trump elaborated on his themes, with supporters behind him holding signs saying 'FINISH THE WALL" and "DRAIN THE SWAMP":

  • "What they did to Brett Kavanaugh and his beautiful family is a national disgrace that will not be soon forgotten. Remember that! [Applause.] And come Election Day, Americans will remember Kavanaugh."
  • "[A] lot of money's been passing through people to come up and try and get to the border by Election Day, because they think that's a negative for us.  Number one, they're being stopped. And number two: Regardless, that's our issue."
  • "As you know, I'm willing to send the military to defend our southern border if necessary." [Cheering.]
  • On illegal immigration: "I will say I have caused the problem. I'm taking full blame. You know why? [Pausing to imagine the reaction.] Everyone's, like, in shock. ... Hey look, 'Fake News' [indicating cameras in the back]: It's my problem. I caused it. Because I have created such an incredible economy, I have created so many jobs, I've made this country and you so great, that everybody wants to come in! So they're all pouring in, or trying to."

Be smart: Trump's new list is a variation on the unifying themes we identified earlier this fall in his tweets and rallies: migration, MS-13, media and Mueller.

3. New clue in Saudi case
In surveillance camera footage published by the pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah, a man identified by Turkish officials as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a Saudi intelligence officer close to the crown prince, walks toward the Saudi consulate before Khashoggi disappeared. (Sabah via AP)

⚡️ Bulletin: "Turkey’s foreign minister says his country has not shared any audio recordings ... with U.S. officials." (AP)

A Turkish official says investigators are assessing the possibility that the remains of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi were taken to a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul or to Yalova, a city 60 miles away, AP reports.

  • The official said police have established that two vehicles belonging to the Saudi consulate left the building on Oct. 2 — the day Khashoggi vanished.
  • One vehicle went to the Belgrade Forest, while the other traveled to Yalova.

Smearing Khashoggi ... "Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a whispering campaign against ... Khashoggi that is designed to protect ... Trump from criticism of his handling of the ... alleged murder," the WashPost's Bob Costa and Karoun Demirjian report:

  • "[A] cadre of conservative House Republicans ... has been privately exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that fuel suspicion of Khashoggi, highlighting his association with the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth and raising conspiratorial questions about his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin Laden."
  • Fact check 1: "While Khashoggi was once sympathetic to Islamist movements, he moved toward a more liberal, secular point of view."
  • Fact check 2: "Khashoggi knew bin Laden in the 1980s and 1990s during the civil war in Afghanistan, but his interactions with bin Laden were as a journalist with a point of view who was working with a prized source."
4. Pic of the week
Frank Franklin II/AP

Fans interfere with Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, trying to catch a possible tying home run hit by Houston Astros' Jose Altuve in the first inning on Wednesday night in Houston. Altuve was called out.

  • The Red Sox advanced to the World Series last night; details at #10.
5. West Wing shouting match over immigration

"The White House chief of staff and the national security adviser got into a profanity-laced argument about immigration outside the Oval Office early [yesterday] morning, prompting the chief of staff to leave the White House complex and not return for the rest of the day," the N.Y. Times' Julie Davis and Maggie Haberman report.

  • "The blowup between John F. Kelly, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, his national security adviser, was loud enough to be overheard by several officials in the West Wing."
  • "It erupted as the president — disappointed by new government data showing that his restrictive immigration policies have failed to discourage migrants from seeking entry into the United States — is grasping to resolve a problem that has bedeviled his administration."

Per Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs, the argument included "the performance of the Homeland Security Department under Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen."

  • "Bolton criticized DHS, and Kelly defended Nielsen, a former deputy whom he supported to replace him at the department."
6. Tech startups could set IPO record

"2019 could be a record-breaking year for IPOs in terms of dollars raised. It could top 2000, the high-water mark, when tech companies raced to cash in on lofty valuations at the height of the dot-com boom," The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription).

  • "Uber, which is eyeing a potential early-2019 listing, could be valued at as much as $120 billion ... If it raises the typical amount for a company that size, its IPO proceeds could hit as much as $25 billion. ... [That] would ... make the ride-sharing pioneer the biggest company to debut since Alibaba ... in 2014."
  • "Palantir, a data-mining specialist co-founded by famed investor Peter Thiel, may debut next year or in 2020 at a valuation that could reach $41 billion."
  • "Lyft is considering an early-2019 listing that could value Uber’s principal U.S. rival at more than $15 billion."

"Other big tech startups in the 2019 IPO queue ... include workplace-messaging platform Slack Technologies Inc. as well as a raft of smaller but closely watched companies including food-delivery service Postmates Inc., security firms CrowdStrike Inc. and Cloudflare Inc., and videoconferencing-software provider Zoom."

  • "Other large private companies that haven’t decided on IPO timing but could potentially debut next year include Airbnb Inc. and Pinterest Inc., along with a number of Chinese tech heavyweights like ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co. and Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba affiliate."

Why it matters: "All this is a drastic change for companies that for years relied on ample supplies of cash from private sources and chose to build their businesses away from the prying eye of public investors and analysts."

7. Uber for temps is ... Uber

"Uber is developing a new short-term staffing business, dubbed Uber Works, that would help to diversify its business ahead of next year’s planned initial public offering," the Financial Times' Tim Bradshaw and Shannon Bond report (subscription):

  • "Uber hopes to apply its 'on-demand' model and large database of contractors to provide a temporary workforce for events and corporate functions, such as waiters or security guards."
  • "The project has been in development in Chicago for several months following an earlier trial in Los Angeles."

Why it matters: "Uber Works could help to persuade potential investors in next year’s IPO that Uber is more than just a transportation service, instead pitching it as a broader platform for all kinds of flexible work and on-demand services."

8. Facebook shows off "elections war room"
Jeff Chiu/AP

"In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook's expansive [Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters], a locked door bears a taped-on sign that reads 'War Room.' Behind the door lies a nerve center the social network has set up to combat fake accounts and bogus news stories ahead of upcoming elections." (AP)

  • Below, Samidh Chakrabarti, Director of Elections and Civic Engagement (left), stands at yesterday's media demo with Katie Harbath, Global Politics and Government Outreach Director, and Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy.
Jeff Chiu/AP
9. "End of engagement"
Courtesy The Economist

"America fears that time is on China’s side," The Economist writes in its cover editorial:

  • "The Chinese economy is growing more than twice as fast as America’s and the state is pouring money into advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and biotech."
  • "Action that is merely daunting today — to stem the illegal acquisition of intellectual property, say, or to challenge China in the South China Sea — may be impossible tomorrow."
  • Why it matters: "Like it or not, the new norms governing how the superpowers will treat each other are being established now. Once expectations have been set, changing them again will be hard. For the sake of mankind, China and America need to come to a peaceful understanding."

P.S. Wall Street Journal lead story: "China’s economic expansion slowed to its weakest pace since the financial crisis [2009], as top financial regulators launched an extraordinary coordinated effort to calm jittery investors."

10. 1 ⚾️ thing
The Boston Red Sox pose after winning in Houston last night. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Red Sox in World Series for first time in five years ... Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy:

  • "The relentless Red Sox won the pennant [last] night, beating the defending world champion Houston Astros, 4-1, in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series."
  • "Winners of 115 games, the Sox are trying to become the first team of the 21st century to win four World Series."
  • "In October of 2018, they’ve erased the 100-win Yankees and the 103-win Astros, winning seven of nine playoff games, including five straight on the road."

"The Sox open the 114th World Series Tuesday at Fenway Park vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers."

  • Dodgers lead that best-of-seven series, 3-2.