☕️ Good Wednesday morning in the August doldrums.
Situational awareness: Facebook discovered several new state-sponsored disinformation campaigns stemming from Iran and Russia, Axios' Sara Fischer, Ina Fried, and Scott Rosenberg report.
Impeachment proceedings against President Trump went from a theoretical danger to a vivid reality with yesterday's guilty plea by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, sources close to the White House tell Jonathan Swan and me.
A big cause for fear: White House officials now see a future where this damning charge of criminal behavior is simply part of a broader case against Trump, including:
The plea by Cohen, paired in a split screen with the near-simultaneous conviction of Paul Manafort, is what Trump’s aides feared all along:
Trump friends say for the first time that they're worried about the president:
Presidential historian Jon Meacham brings in the orchestra, telling MSNBC:
A few hours before the verdict, I asked Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani — in Scotland where he's attending a wedding — about Trump's mood:
Be smart ... A usually buoyant outside West Wing adviser suddenly sees darkness:
Corruption instantly becomes a centerpiece issue in the midterm campaigns — a huge new weight for Republicans in marginal races.
Top Democratic strategists tell me they're poised to exploit this massive vulnerability.
Be smart ... With all the bad news already swirling, look at what will unfold during the heat of midterm campaigning:
1. How Kavanaugh could get Dem votes ... The White House feels extremely good about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's meeting yesterday with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a key swing vote, per Jonathan Swan:
2. "The U.N. nuclear watchdog said it did not find any indication that North Korea had stopped its nuclear activities, adding to doubts about the country’s willingness to abandon its arsenal," Reuters reports.
Nick Merrill shares this summery evening shot, taken by a drone off the coast of Stonington, Maine.
WIRED's September cover story ... "NotPetya, the most devastating cyberattack in history," a Russian hit on Ukraine in June 2017 that went global — by senior writer Andy Greenberg (adapted from his forthcoming book, "Sandworm"):
Why it matters: "This is the confounding geography of cyberwarfare: In ways that still defy human intuition, phantoms ... in a gritty corner of Kiev spread chaos into the gilded conference rooms of the capital’s federal agencies, into ports dotting the globe ... and across the global economy."
Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz are mounting campaigns to get voters to approve housing and criminal justice reforms at the ballot box in November, Axios' David McCabe reports.
The bull market is expected to become the longest on record today, having persisted for 3,453 days, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes (in her Axios AM debut!).
Fox News led with this, on air at 7 p.m. and online, ahead of Cohen-Manafort ... Authorities in Iowa filed charges against an undocumented immigrant in connection with a recovered body believed to be that of 20-year-old University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared from her home a month ago.
Behind the curtain ... Former Speaker Newt Gingrich emailed me to make sure I'd be covering this story, and I asked for his take on why it matters:
U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt sat down with Axios on his first visit to Washington since replacing Boris Johnson last month, and said his early interactions with President Trump lead him to believe Trump “is actually trying to do something quite different from what a lot of people think.”
Tapas, vegan pasta ... Fancy menus are the new normal at college campus dining halls, USA Today's Zlati Meyer writes:
Food is now part of admissions decisions:
Thanks for sharing history with us. We'll have constant updates on Axios.com.