Jul 7, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Today's AM is 1,206 words, a 5 minute read.

"More than a decade after receiving one of the most lenient sentences for a serial sex offender in U.S history, multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein" was arrested yesterday at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, per the Miami Herald.

  • "Around 5:30 p.m., ... about a dozen federal agents broke down the door to Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse to execute search warrants."
  • Epstein, 66, is expected to be arraigned in federal court in New York [tomorrow] on charges that he molested dozens of underage girls in New York and in Florida."

🏝️ Good Sunday morning. The most-read story on NYTimes.com last week was about "elite kid justice": New Jersey "Teenager Accused of Rape Deserves Leniency Because He’s From a 'Good Family,' Judge Says."

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1 big thing: New president would bring big foreign policy changes

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Democratic candidates have stark differences, but there are foreign policy changes that they'd all be likely to make, Axios World Editor Dave Lawler writes.

Trump’s unusually cozy ties with Saudi Arabia and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his warm words for Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and his adversarial relationships with allies are all ripe for course corrections from day one.

  • On Iran, the leading Democrats are all hitting virtually the same notes: The only division on display in the debates was over whether to re-join the Obama-era nuclear deal or negotiate an extension first.
  • Expect an early trip to Europe, Canada or Mexico from any Trump successor to send a signal that the U.S. stands by its allies.

Debates that have raged in U.S. foreign policy for decades — when to use military force, whether to sign on to trade deals — will continue.

  • But there are a number of issues on which it's “more about flipping a switch” than establishing new policies, says Ned Price of National Security Action, a group founded by former Obama administration officials that’s advising Democratic candidates. He says one of those is resetting relations between the White House and the intelligence community.

Between the lines: Many countries — allies and adversaries alike — are trying to wait Trump out.

  • European leaders seem to be hedging their bets, talking more about autonomy and collective security, while quietly hoping Trump is an aberration.
  • Others have placed big bets on Trump. “If Trump loses, the Saudis are screwed,” one Middle Eastern diplomat tells Axios.

Between the lines: By the time Inauguration Day rolls around in 2021, it will be "too late to turn back to the clock" on the most daunting challenges the U.S. faces, says Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations.

  • He says "elements of Trumpism," possibly on trade, could carry over into the next administration. In any case, he says, the next president will be "constrained by the fact that the world has moved on" from the U.S.
  • “Even if the next American president sends reassuring signals, rejoins this or that, there’s still now an element of doubt about U.S. policy," Haass said.
  • "There’s no longer the presumption of continuity that there was, and there’s a sense in the world that if it happened once it can happen again."

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2. One-fourth of Americans think they'll never retire

23% of Americans in a large poll for AP said they never plan to retire, many because they feel financially unprepared:

  • Government figures show about 1 in 5 people 65 and older was working or actively looking for a job in June, Andrew Soergel writes for AP.

Why it matters: That show a disconnect between retirement plans and the realities of aging. Remaining in the workforce may be unrealistic for people dealing with unexpected illness or injuries.

3. California governor calls shakers "a wake-up call"
Courtesy Los Angeles Times

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said governments must strengthen alert systems and building codes, and residents should make sure they know how to protect themselves, AP reports:

  • Newsom: "It is a wake-up call for the rest of the state and other parts of the nation, frankly."

Many residents are finally getting serious about preparation:

  • "The seismic one-two combo that hit Southern California ... left residents particularly unnerved because it robbed them of the single bit of solace that normally comes with a big quake: the sense that the worst is over." (L.A. Times)
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The photo above shows newly ruptured ground in the Mojave Desert, after a Thursday-Friday duet of big earthquakes that left the state fearing the Big One.

  • "Caltech seismologist Lucy Jones said she could not recall a pattern of earthquakes in California in which a 6.4 foreshock was followed by a 7.1 event, only to be followed by an even bigger quake." (L.A. Times)
Bonus pic: Hard to believe this is still a thing
Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

"Three people were gored [today] and a further two people suffered head trauma during the first day of Spain’s best-known bull-running festival in the northern town of Pamplona, ... the Red Cross said." (Reuters)

4. Border horrors were known in Washington
Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas. Photo: Luke Montavon/AFP/Getty Images

The N.Y. Times' lead story is the product of 17 reporters and artists (including three writers from the El Paso Times) ... "Hungry, Scared and Sick: Inside the Migrant Detention Center in Clint, Tex."

What's new: "At least two Border Patrol agents at Clint said they had expressed concern about the conditions in the station to their superiors months ago."

  • "Even before that, senior Homeland Security officials in Washington had significant concerns about the El Paso Sector’s brash chief patrol agent and his oversight of the facility."

Why it matters: The "out-of-the-way border station in the desert outside of El Paso has become the epicenter of outrage over the Trump administration’s policies on the southwest border."

A peek inside ..."[T]hrough interviews with dozens of people with knowledge of the station ... The Times was able to model the main areas where children were held: the station’s central processing area, with its cinder-block cells; a converted loading area and yard; and a warehouse."

5. 2020 vision: 3 things to know
Joe Biden takes selfies after a speech yesterday in Orangeburg, S.C. Photo: Meg Kinnard/AP

1. "President Trump’s approval rating has risen to the highest point of his presidency" in WashPost/ABC News: 44% (39% in April), with 53% disapproving.

  • Why it matters: "Trump has a narrow but real path to reelection," The Post's Dan Balz and Emily Guskin write.

2. Shifting to offense, Joe Biden finally apologizes: "Following weeks of criticism, ... Biden told a mostly African American audience in Sumter, S.C., that he regretted ... remarks about working with segregationist senators in the 1970s." (WashPost)

3. Sen. Kamala Harris unveiled a plan at the 25th Essence Festival in New Orleans to invest $100 billion "in minority homeownership to address the racial wealth gap."

  • HUD would provide grants up to $25,000 to help homebuyers pay for down payments and closing costs.
  • See the plan, "Combatting the Racial Home Ownership Gap."
6. 1 🏀 thing

Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors (left) attempts a shot against Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors during Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Photo: Nathan Denette/Getty Images

L.A. is NBA epicenter: "With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George agreeing to join the Clippers on Friday and the Lakers signing power forward Anthony Davis on Saturday, Los Angeles has emerged as the biggest winner in one of the wildest free agency seasons." (Reuters)

NBA's changing times: "The Clippers got better. The Lakers got better. The Jazz got better. The Rockets will still be good. The Bucks have the MVP. The Nets got Kyrie Irving. The Celtics got Kemba Walker. The Warriors lost Kevin Durant," per AP's Tim Reynolds.

  • The bottom line: "Right now, the odds-makers in Vegas are predicting next June it’ll be Clippers vs. Bucks."
  • "A couple days ago the Lakers were the betting favorites."
Mike Allen

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