🌅 Happy Friday!
Every time President Trump seems to tempt fate — like inviting China on-camera yesterday to investigate the Bidens — remember that he's counting on a red wall in the Senate to save him even if he’s impeached, Axios' David Nather and Jim VandeHei write.
This visual shows just how strong that wall is: 51 Republican senators from states Trump won in 2016.
Remember that impeachment, which only takes a majority vote in the House, doesn’t end Trump’s presidency.
By the numbers:
The bottom line: Trump believes the combination of right-wing media backing, plus GOP senators' fear of crossing Trump voters will save him.
President Trump is going all in: He declared he has the "absolute right" to call for foreign nations to investigate political rivals — and he plans to ask Democrats to vote on starting impeachment or get stonewalled.
Why it matters: It now seems increasingly inevitable the House will impeach Trump. Think about it this way: Imagine a Democrat who called for impeachment before the China comment voting against impeachment after it.
⚡ Some of the day's most explosive news broke at 10:30 p.m.:
🎵 And now there's Whistleblower II ... WashPost front page: An IRS official "filed a whistleblower complaint reporting that he was told that at least one Treasury Department political appointee attempted to improperly interfere with the annual audit of the president’s or vice president’s tax returns."
Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, an Associated Press investigation by Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer has found.
Daily life in locked-down Srinagar. Photo: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images
India and Pakistan are sliding toward potential nuclear war, according to the president of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, writes Axios World editor Dave Lawler.
The big picture: Pakistan is attempting to focus the eyes of the world on Kashmir in part by framing it not just as a human rights issue, but also a global security threat, Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center tells Axios.
"Funds run by computers that follow rules set by humans account for 35% of America’s stock market, 60% of institutional equity assets and 60% of trading activity," The Economist writes in its cover story.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios
Tech giants, TV networks, and even transit companies are all struggling to figure out how to manage political ads ahead of the 2020 election, Axios media trends expert Sara Fischer reports.
TikTok, the Chinese-owned viral karaoke app, said Thursday that it would ban political ads because they don't fit the company's goal of creating an "entertaining, genuine experience" for users.
It's not just Big Tech that's grappling with these decisions.
Stephen Miller "was running a sort of secret immigration think tank out of the West Wing," the N.Y. Times' Julie Davis and Mike Shear report in "Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration," out Tuesday:
The group, which usually met on Fridays, was part of a quiet but methodical effort, ... to seize control of the machinery of government and use it to make good on the president’s immigration agenda ... Miller moved his task force’s meetings to his small office on the top floor of the West Wing, jamming fifteen or twenty people around a conference table ...
They scribbled their plans on large white flip charts, and the list of what they had to do grew longer and longer. They discussed overhauling the way the United States admits skilled workers, revamping ICE’s enforcement priorities and strategies for enhancing visa security. One early assignment from Miller was for the group to scour the immigration statutes and look for grounds of in-admissibility that were not being enforced.
Another target was an old but ill-defined standard that said the country did not have to admit anyone who was likely to become dependent on the government for survival. That one would ultimately become an obsession for Miller.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo never promised Rudy Giuliani he'd investigate the contents of an envelope that the State Department's inspector general delivered to Congress on Wednesday — or anything related to Ukraine — a source with knowledge of Pompeo's discussions tells Axios.
"Some parents who have pleaded guilty in the admissions fraud case are turning to consultants and doctors in an effort to secure lenient sentences." (N.Y. Times)
"Matt Lieberman, an entrepreneur who is the son of former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, became the first Democrat to enter the race for retiring Republican Johnny Isakson’s seat," The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Greg Bluestein reports.
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