😎 Good Tuesday morning, and welcome back on Shutdown Day 32.
🇨🇳 China’s economic expansion languished to its slowest pace since 1990. (WSJ)
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The biggest political story since the election of Donald Trump is the sudden, stark, sustained rise of the political artists also known as AOC and Beto.
Exclusive: A new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll finds that 74% of Democrats (and people who lean Dem) would consider voting for Ocasio-Cortez if she were old enough to run for president. (She's 29; you have to be at least 35.)
Both AOC and Beto continue to break through news cycles clogged by Mueller and the shutdown:
Be smart: That sounds a lot like President Trump — a sign of our times.
It's easy to lose sight of what truly matters in this Russia investigation. And, to be fair, only Robert Mueller truly knows. But Jim VandeHei points out that, lost in the buzz around the BuzzFeed story, was a bombshell floated by Trump’s own lawyer, Rudy Giuliani:
This possibility is a huge deal for four reasons:
Why this matters: Imagine there was no drip, drip, drip — and we learned in one fell swoop that an American presidential candidate was secretly negotiating a multibillion-dollar business deal with an enemy of the United States (and falsely denied it) while that nation was seeking to tip our election in his favor.
Be smart: It appears the Giuliani strategy includes, little by little, confirming troubling facts so that they won't seem as jarring when revealed in full by Mueller or others.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
A break in the misinformation crisis ... The chaotic media environment is driving a renewed interest in fact-finding, Axios media trends expert Sara Fischer reports.
Edelman's 2019 Trust Barometer finds a stunning rise in the consumption and sharing of information from traditional news over social media:
Trust in traditional media also continues to increase:
Red flags: A majority of Americans still feel the news media doesn't understand them, according to a recent poll from Pew Research Center.
If this view doesn't inspire ya ...
Some fear the shutdown is unraveling the federal safety net, AP's Juliet Linderman writes:
Why it matters: "For those like Cochran who rely on federal aid programs, the social safety net no longer feels so safe."
"There is no guarantee recipients will get food stamps for March."
"Food banks are already stretched thin thanks to a notable spike in demand from furloughed federal employees, contractors and others out of work due to the shutdown."
"U.S. intelligence officials have met with North Korean counterparts secretly for a decade," The Wall Street Journal's Michael Gordon and Warren Strobel report (subscription):
"U.S. officials sometimes called it the 'goon channel,' referring to North Korean interlocutors the Americans found distasteful but important."
"Almost no policy is too liberal for Democrats fighting to win over their party's base, which is demanding a presidential nominee dedicated to pursuing bold action on America's most pressing challenges," AP's Steve Peoples reports:
Why it matters: "[A] handful of moderate Democrats ... fear that promises by well-intentioned presidential prospects may create unrealistic expectations with their party's most passionate voters."
President Trump made 8,158 false or misleading claims in his first two years in office, per the WashPost Fact Checker.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
In Congress and on the presidential campaign trail, America is gearing up to tussle over big climate-change policy for the first time in nearly a decade.
At the heart of any climate policy is this tough task: Make fossil fuels more expensive without hitting American pocketbooks too much, and/or making cleaner energy technologies cheaper.
"Starbucks is expanding its delivery service and aims to offer it at nearly one-fourth of its U.S. company-operated coffee shops," per AP: