Happy Saturday! Today's Smart Brevity count ... 985 words ... < 4 minutes.
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1 big thing: States spend big to prevent 2020 undercount
What's new: States and cities have set aside bigger budgets than ever to prepare for the once-a-decade census, which begins in April with Washington's harsh immigration stance as a backdrop, Axios' Courtenay Brown reports.
- Why it matters: An undercount endangers a state's congressional seats and federal funding, both determined by the census.
- "I've seen nothing like this as a threat to the census," Andrew Beveridge, who's advising New York state, tells Axios.
- The states at greatest risk of an undercount, according to the Urban Institute: Florida, California, Georgia, New York, Nevada, Texas and New Mexico.
So cities and states with big immigrant populations — like California and New York City — are supplementing the Census Bureau's efforts like never before.
- It's an effort to coax everyone to fill out a census form, whether they're in the country legally or not.
California is allocating $187 million — nearly 95 times what it did a decade ago, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
- New York City has budgeted $40 million for census outreach — the most ever.
- New York state will dedicate $20 million to Census efforts.
- Utah is setting aside funds for the first time ever — with a big portion of the $1 million being spent to count "a relatively large population of children under 5," PBS NewsHour reports.
2. Rudy's former office investigates him
"Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine," the N.Y. Times scoops.
- "The investigators are examining Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch."
Why it matters, per The Times: "It is ... a stark turn for Mr. Giuliani, who now finds himself under scrutiny from the same United States attorney’s office he led in the 1980s."
- 💬 A former aide to both Trump and Giuliani texts: "Mayor Giuliani’s investigations began as part of his work to clear his client's [Trump's] name" in Mueller's probe.
3. ⚖️ Impeachment state of play
Testifying in defiance of President Trump, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators that Trump himself pressured the State Department to oust her and get her out of the country, AP reports.
- Yovanovitch told Congress: "Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the president, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives."
Bonus: Pics du jour
Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya smashed the two-hour barrier for a marathon, but won't break the world record — which he holds — because it wasn't an open event.
- Kipchoge, 34, clocked 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, an event set up for the feat.
Kipchoge holds the official world record of 2:01:39. In near-perfect circumstances, he shaved almost two minutes off that time, per AP.
Between the lines: Runners were helped by a pace car with a laser beam, projecting the ideal position on the road, and they received drinks handed over by cyclists and other runners to keep them from slowing down.
4. 🇨🇳 Business loves trade truce
Companies welcomed a U.S.-Chinese trade truce as a possible step toward breaking a deadlock in a 15-month-old tariff war, while economists caution there was little progress toward settling core disputes, AP reports from Beijing.
- What happened: President Trump said Washington will suspend a tariff hike planned for Tuesday on $250 billion in Chinese goods. In exchange, Trump said China agreed to buy as much as $50 billion from American farmers.
Why it matters: The battle over China's trade surplus and technology ambitions has disrupted global trade.
- Economists warn a final settlement might take years. Yet markets rise ahead of each round of talks, and fall when no progress is reported.
5. Shep Smith: "This is my last newscast here"
Fox News' Shepard Smith — the fiery native of Holly Springs, Miss., who relished his role as a skeptical, nonpartisan voice in the conservative-leaning channel's 3 pm ET hour — said a surprise goodbye to viewers at the end of Friday's show.
- "Smith, 55, who has been with Fox News since it launched in 1996, [said] he asked management to be let out of his contract and that they 'graciously obliged.' After the program, he left the network’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters for the final time," the L.A. Times' Steve Battaglio writes.
From Shep's valedictory, on covering the life-altering "events that shaped our reality ... while speaking truth to power, without fear or favor, in context and with perspective":
- "Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day. That the truth will always matter. That journalism and journalists will thrive. I’m Shepard Smith, Fox News New York."
6. 1 🏀 thing: Washington's new champs
The Washington Mystics' Kristi Toliver (left) and Elena Delle Donne celebrate in the closing seconds Thursday as their team captures the WNBA championship.
- In a special print section today, The Washington Post calls them the "Greats of Ward 8 ... The Washington Mystics waited 22 seasons for the franchise's first title. You better believe it was worth it."
- Why it matters: The Mystics "give the entire region cause for celebration," The Post writes in an editorial:
Credit to owner Ted Leonsis — whose Washington Capitals ended a major pro sports drought with its 2018 Stanley Cup win — for hiring good people, letting them do the hard work of building a team and, perhaps even more importantly, recognizing the responsibility to be a good member of the community.
This was the first year the team played in a new arena in Ward 8, an often neglected part of the city, and Mystics officials and team members have said they hope their presence and involvement in the neighborhood will help bring about change.
⚾ Last line of the editorial: "With the Washington Nationals advancing in the playoffs, we — fingers crossed — hope Mr. Obama is on to something."