☕ Good Wednesday morning.
San Francisco readers: You're invited to the 2019 kickoff of Axios' Hometown Tour tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.
Beto O’Rourke has projected a mostly blank canvas during the first week of his campaign — often asking voters for solutions rather than outlining policy specifics himself, Axios' Alexi McCammond writes.
Be smart ... O'Rourke has something you can't buy: People are interested in him and excited about him. Now, his challenge is putting meat on the bone.
As in the 2016 election, voters in 2020 have a lot of feelings about what's wrong with the country, and want to project those feelings onto someone.
O'Rourke has talked policy more than you might realize from the coverage:
The bottom line: Beto's opening feat — raising more than any other 2020 Democrat in his campaign's first 24 hours — shows his potential as a vessel for voters' hopes, dreams, and fears.
The two exchanged soccer jerseys in the Oval Office yesterday. (Chris Kleponis/Pool/Getty Images)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro won with a pro-American campaign that emulated President Trump, and the bromance was consummated yesterday with a White House visit that included a joint news conference.
A senior administration official told reporters that Trump started keeping an eye on Bolsonaro early on after hearing him referred to as the "Trump of the Tropics," Axios World editor David Lawler tells me.
The extent to which Bolsonaro has embraced the right fringe of Trumpworld is interesting, Jonathan Swan points out.
Be smart ... Bolsonaro’s rhetoric has offended even more people than Trump’s has: He's wildly homophobic and misogynistic.
At 12:02 a.m. ET, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger completed his sure-footed effort to position Disney as the world’s pre-eminent entertainment company, the L.A. Times' Meg James writes:
Why it matters ... "Disney Moves From Behemoth to Colossus With Closing of Fox Deal," says the N.Y. Times:
Search warrant documents made public yesterday show the FBI used the Triggerfish — a highly secretive and controversial cellphone sweeping technology — to zero in on Michael Cohen last year, AP's Michael Sisak reports:
The FBI "obtained logs of the numbers Cohen was calling and texting, and reams of location data — including for the time period just before the 2016 presidential election, when he negotiated hush-money payments."
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
China is criticized for its use of deeply controversial surveillance systems to control untrusted elements of its population. But the U.S., too, is developing such know-how as artificial intelligence fast becomes a leading factor in the race for power in the new world order, writes Axios Future editor Steve LeVine.
With Robert Mueller's findings expected any day, President Trump has grown increasingly confident the report will produce what he has insisted all along — no clear evidence of a conspiracy between Russia and his 2016 campaign, AP's Jonathan Lemire and Mary Clare Jalonick report:
"One scenario would have seemed downright implausible until recently: The president will take the findings and run on them."
"None of Mueller's indictments, guilty pleas, or court filings has yet shown evidence of 'collusion,'" Garrett M. Graff writes for WIRED.
"Mueller — or the Southern District, or one of the other 18-plus investigations targeting the president — could dramatically alter the impeachment narrative in Washington in at least three ways":
"President Bush ordered the start of a war against Iraq on Wednesday night, and American forces poised on the country's southern border and at sea began strikes to disarm the country, including an apparently unsuccessful attempt to kill Saddam Hussein," the N.Y. Times' David E. Sanger and John F. Burns wrote in 2003.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The first wins of this year's NCAA tournament are on the books after the first batch of this year's First Four games, per CBS Sports.
P.S. ... Kendall Baker's Axios Sports is hosting a March Madness contest and you're invited.
"Can You Improve Upon Ranch?" asks the N.Y. Times' Florence Fabricant.