Oct 14, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good Monday morning. Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,200 words ... 4 minutes.

  • 💰"Economists Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer won the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize for creating an experimental approach to alleviating global poverty." (Reuters)
1 big thing: Focus group of Ohio swing voters hates impeachment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Listening to America ... Swing voters at a focus group in Youngstown, Ohio, had qualms about impeaching President Trump, from fears it will hurt the economy to frustrations with the focus of House Democrats, Alexi McCammond reports.

  • Why it matters: If these sentiments last and play out on a larger scale across pivotal states, it spells trouble for Democrats unless they can reframe what they're trying to accomplish.
  • Before getting serious about impeachment, House Democrats worried the timing was too close to the 2020 election and could backfire at the polls.

Distraction, unease, exhaustion: Those were the main takeaways from an Engagious/FPG focus group Axios attended last week.

  • We heard from seven voters who flipped from Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, and four who switched from Mitt Romney to Hillary Clinton.
  • The findings are a counterpoint to the latest national surveys — including a Fox News poll — that show more and more Americans, in some cases a majority, now favor impeaching and removing Trump.
  • A focus group is not a statistically significant sample like a poll, but these responses show how some voters are thinking and talking about the 2020 election in crucial counties.

Nine of the 11 participants raised their hands to say impeachment is a distraction from the issues they care most about — like wages and unemployment, border security, bringing troops home, and health care costs and access.

  • "They need to be concentrating on the country, not what he’s doing wrong," said Deborah G., a 56-year-old Clinton voter.

Between the lines: Anti-impeachment feelings doesn't necessarily translate to a vote for Trump. One former Trump voter said he'll vote for Andrew Yang.

2. Outrage in Texas as policeman shoots woman inside her house
This bodycam video shows an officer shining a flashlight into the window of Atatiana Jefferson's home. Photo: Fort Worth Police Department via AP

Hundreds joined a candlelight protest in Fort Worth after a 28-year-old black woman was fatally shot inside her house by a white policeman who was responding to a neighbor's report that her front door was open.

  • Atatiana Jefferson was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew.

"Two officers ... went into the backyard. One looked through the window and yelled, 'Put your hands up! Show me your hands!' He did not identify himself as an officer before he fired," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

  • One shot was fired through a window.
  • The Fort Worth Police Department said that officers saw someone near a window inside the home, and that one of them drew his duty weapon and fired after "perceiving a threat." (AP)
3. Chaos in Syria after abrupt U.S. withdrawal
A Turkish-backed Syrian fighter fires during clashes in a Syrian border town yesterday. Photo: Nazeer Al-khatib/AFP via Getty Images

"Kurdish forces long allied with the United States in Syria announced a new deal ... with the government in Damascus, a sworn enemy of Washington that is backed by Russia," the N.Y. Times reports from Iraq.

  • Why it matters: "The sudden shift marked a major turning point in Syria’s long war," as "President Trump ordered the withdrawal of the American military from northern Syria."

"The American military was unable to carry out a plan to transfer about five dozen 'high value' Islamic State detainees out of Kurdish-run wartime prisons before the Pentagon decided to move its forces out of northern Syria." (NYT)

  • 🗞️ WashPost lead story: "Sudden U.S. exit stirs Syria chaos."
4. Pic du jour
Scott Threlkeld/The Advocate via AP

This is what's left of a Hard Rock Hotel that was under construction beside the New Orleans French Quarter, after a collapse Saturday.

5. Fictitious video of Trump shooting media is shown at his resort
Screenshot via N.Y. Times

"A video depicting a macabre scene of a fake President Trump shooting, stabbing and brutally assaulting members of the news media and his political opponents was shown at a conference for his supporters at his Miami resort last week," the N.Y. Times' Mike Schmidt and Maggie Haberman report.

  • "The video depicts a scene inside the 'Church of Fake News' ... Many parishioners’ faces have been replaced with the logos of news media organizations, including PBS, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and NBC.
  • "Mr. Trump stops in the middle of the church, pulls a gun out of his suit jacket pocket and begins a graphic rampage."
  • "It appears to be an edited scene of a church massacre from the 2014 dark comedy film "Kingsman: The Secret Service."

The organizer, Alex Phillips, said: "Content was submitted by third parties and was not associated with or endorsed by the conference in any official capacity ... American Priority rejects all political violence and aims to promote a healthy dialogue about the preservation of free speech."

Jonathan Karl, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said in a statement last night:

The WHCA is horrified by a video reportedly shown over the weekend at a political conference organized by the President's supporters at the Trump National Doral in Miami. All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President’s political opponents.
We have previously told the President his rhetoric could incite violence. Now we call on him and everybody associated with this conference to denounce this video and affirm that violence has no place in our society.
6. Fed's Kashkari is sick of Wall Street's whining

Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari has had it with the "hubris and stupidity" of Wall Street bankers, he told Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin in an exclusive interview.

  • Driving the news: Kashkari's latest grievances are with investors who claim the Fed is being bullied by President Trump and traders pointing fingers at the central bank for the liquidity crunch in the repo market, which the Fed just announced a $60 billion a month standing facility to address.

Read more from the interview.

7. Biden lays out ethical markers
In 2010, then-Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden attend a Duke-Georgetown basketball game in Washington. Photo: Nick Wass/AP

Joe Biden, speaking to reporters in suburban Des Moines, promised to bar family members from occupying any office within the White House if he's elected, and said they won't "sit in meetings as if they are a Cabinet member," AP reports.

  • Biden said no one in his family will have "any business relationship with anyone that relates to a foreign corporation or foreign country."
  • Biden spoke hours after his son, Hunter Biden, said he will step down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity firm at the end of the month.

Read a Medium post by George Mesires, Hunter Biden's lawyer, who outlined a defense of the younger Biden's work in Ukraine and China.

  • Breaking: Targeting Trump by name, Biden rolls out government anti-corruption plan.
8. 📊 First look: Majority of Dems polled in early states want Trump imprisoned
Graphic: Firehouse Strategies

Firehouse Strategies, a Republican firm, and data company Optimus found that a majority of 1,765 likely Democratic primary voters in early-voting states believe that President Trump should not only be impeached, but also imprisoned.

  • 53% of respondents in Iowa, 50% in New Hampshire, and 54% in South Carolina agreed with the statement: "Some members of Congress have stated that President Trump should not only be impeached, but also imprisoned."

See the poll.

9. 👻 Mayor Pete's Snap
Screenshot from Snapchat

Pete Buttigieg talks to Peter Hamby on Snapchat's "Good Luck America," starting today:

  • On Elizabeth Warren’s big ideas: "[A] future president is going to be presiding over a country that will be even more torn apart by politics than we are now. ... This is not a time for purity test."
  • On Beto O’Rourke calling Buttigieg a poll-driven politician on gun buybacks: "I get it. I mean, he needs to pick a fight in order to stay relevant."


10. 1 swing thing
Screengrab: FBN

Fox Business Network, which tomorrow marks 12 years, has new logo graphics that flash red or green, triggered by a 1% up/down tick in the markets.

Screengrab: FBN
Mike Allen

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