Good Tuesday morning.
Situational awareness: Oil prices hit highest close since fall 2014. (WSJ)
If you're in D.C. ... At an Axios News Shapers breakfast at 8 a.m., I'll interview FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb about his crackdown on vaping and e-cigarettes. I'll also get a reality check from a pair of high-school students. RSVP here.
Forget your personal political views for one minute. It’s hard to argue politics — White House politics, congressional politics, now Supreme Court politics — hasn't gone crazy, Axios CEO Jim VandeHei writes:
What's next: A public hearing to air all of this, for a panel of partisans on Thursday.
Democratic senators are consulting experts in such fields as sexual assault victimization and college drinking ahead of Thursday's hearing with Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, according to a source inside Democratic prep.
Heading into the hearing, Democrats plan a variety of outside advocacy, both in person and online:
Top Republicans tell me they remain confident that Kavanaugh will get the 50 votes he needs, in a floor vote that leaders hope to hold on Friday or Saturday.
N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Kavanaugh, in a letter to the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which he denounced "grotesque and obvious character assassination":
Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned and plan to leave the Facebook-owned company "in coming weeks," the N.Y. Times' Mike Isaac reported and Systrom later confirmed in a statement:
Between the lines: Business Insider points out the statement's clues that there could be bad blood, including the lack of a shout-out to Mark Zuckerberg, and the suggestion that the two could become Facebook competitors.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves the White House yesterday, and will return Thursday for a conversation with President Trump about his fate.
N.Y. Times: "By Friday evening, concerned about testifying to Congress over the revelations that he discussed wearing a wire to the Oval Office, ... Rosenstein had become convinced that he should resign."
Merger Monday ... "North American companies unleashed a dealmaking spree totaling more than $50bn [yesterday], as executives ignored a pending trade war and uncertainty around US midterm elections to swallow European rivals in a series of industry-changing mergers," per the Financial Times (subscription).
Spending on political ads for the midterms ($2.9 billion) will be nearly as high as presidential-election spending two years ago ($3 billion), estimates MAGNA, the media and research arm of Interpublic Group, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.
If Democrats take back the House in November, the new Congress will have the most minorities in its 230-year history, writes Axios' Alayna Treene.
The 2018 midterms have been widely called the "year of the woman," but it's really the year of the Democratic woman, Axios' Alexi McCammond writes.
Major changes are underway in the very top ranks of the biggest broadcast networks, which despite ratings declines, still drive many millions of viewers and billions in revenue, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.
While executives come and go all the time, no one can remember a time when there was so much change and turmoil at the top of the broadcast nets:
A top media executive told Axios:
Key fobs for cars could give way to fingerprint scanning, reports the Detroit Free Press' Phoebe Wall Howard, on USA Today's front page: