Dec 5, 2019

Axios AM

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Breaking: Speaker Pelosi will deliver a statement at 9 a.m. on the status of impeachment.

1 big thing: The end of Trump's manufacturing renaissance

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The manufacturing industry got a huge boost from President Trump's election, with a groundswell of job gains during his first year in office. But the trade war with China has undone that progress, Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin writes.

  • Jobs in the sector have stalled out and turned negative in 2019.

Why it matters: Reviving American manufacturing was a central tenet of Trump's 2016 campaign. The industry's retrenchment shows how, like farmers, another Trump constituency is being punished by his trade war.

By the numbers: In Trump’s first 30 months as president, manufacturers added 499,000 jobs, some 314,000 more than were added in President Obama's last 30 months on the job — a 170% increase.

  • That seemed to put Trump in position to fulfill a central campaign promise to "bring back" manufacturing jobs in the U.S. — jobs that Obama said would never return.

That progress has evaporated this year. Manufacturing employment has slowed, and in October employers cut jobs in the sector by the highest number in a decade.

  • October's purge was blamed largely on striking auto workers, but it followed a clear trend.
  • Over the last six months, manufacturing has lost a net 23,000 jobs, and average hours worked has fallen to its lowest level in eight years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
  • The number of people employed in the sector also remains well below the 2008 level.

What's next: Things will likely get worse before they get better, Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at tax and consulting firm RSM, tells Axios.

  • More companies are starting to face higher costs from tariffs, and those that have already been affected are starting to cut back hours and lay off workers to compensate for the losses.
2. ⚖️ House Dems signal impeachment expansion
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler signaled that the Mueller investigation could be included in articles of impeachment drafted by the committee: "Then, as now, this administration’s level of obstruction is without precedent."

  • Nadler said: "President Trump welcomed foreign interference in the 2016 election. He demanded it for the 2020 election. In both cases, he got caught."

The Republican defense was waged by a legal scholar who thinks what President Trump did is questionable — just not impeachable, Axios' Alayna Treene reports from the hearing room.

  • Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University, said he's "not a supporter" of Trump and voted against him in 2016.
  • Turley conceded that Trump’s behavior was worth investigating: "His call was anything but perfect."
  • But he said Dems are rushing, when they should be waiting for courts to decide whether key witnesses — like Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo — must testify. 
  • Turley's top quote: "This isn’t improvisational jazz — close enough is not good enough."
Photo: Alayna Treene/Axios

The three Democratic witnesses agreed that Trump could be impeached for bribery as it is defined in the Constitution, AP reports.

  • Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School said the "clear sense" of the framers on bribery was "when the president corruptly asked for or received something of value to him from someone who could be affected by his official office."
  • Pamela Karlan, a Stanford Law School professor, said the Founding Fathers were particularly concerned about foreign interference in American politics.
  • UNC law professor Michael Gerhardt said: "If what we are talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable."

The committee's top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, called the process a "sham": "If you want to know what's really driving this, there are two things — a clock and a calendar."

3. Missing testimony
Expand chart
Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon, Aïda Amer/Axios

At yesterday's hearing, Democrats displayed a sign listing "Obstruction of Congress" as one of three impeachable offenses.

  • This graphic shows administration officials and allies who haven't voluntarily testified.
Photo: Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images

Editor's note: The graphic has been updated to reflect that Katie Wheelbarger did cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, but investigators decided they did not need her testimony.

4. Pic du jour
Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Last night was the 87th Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony.

  • About that star: The 9-foot, 4-inch topper, backlit by LEDs, includes 3 million Swarovski crystals adorned across 70 triangular spikes. (Rockefeller Center)
5. Impeachment as fundraiser
Courtesy TIME

TIME's Brian Bennett and Chris Wilson write in the new cover story that Trump campaign officials "are leaning into the impeachment threat, using it to mobilize supporters and try to extract a political price — and millions of dollars":

  • "One of the single most powerful weapons in the Trump campaign’s arsenal has been Facebook."
6. Sanders ousts Warren as top candidate for college students
Expand chart
Data: College Reaction (±3.1 margin of error). Kamala Harris dropped out while the poll was ongoing.) Chart: Axios Visuals

In the past two months, Bernie Sanders overtook Elizabeth Warren as the top 2020 Democratic candidate among college students in the College Reaction/Axios poll, Axios' Neal Rothschild writes.

  • Warren's decline among college students mirrors polling of the general population. But while Pete Buttigieg has been gaining among all voters during that time, Sanders is the one who's gained the most among students.

Between the lines: Warren's descent in national polls followed criticism about how she planned to pay for Medicare for All.

  • But the corresponding spike for Sanders — who wrote the Medicare for All legislation — among college students is a sign that their problems with Warren aren't due to her support for the idea.
  • Buttigieg was the only other candidate to gain more than one point in this poll since October.

Flashback: In April, Biden led the college poll at 18.9%, with Sanders second at 15.1%.

  • Methodology: The poll of 1,026 college students was conducted digitally Dec. 2-4, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.
7. New life insurance question

People who vape could pay higher life insurance rates or find themselves excluded from coverage, Reuters reports.

8. Color of the year: Classic Blue
AP photos

In these uneasy times, as we move along to a new decade, the Pantone Color Institute reached back in time to calming, confident Classic Blue as its color of the year for 2020, AP's Leanne Italie writes.

  • The color is an anchor offering stability, constancy and connection.
  • Akin to maritime blue — not indigo, and brighter than navy — Classic Blue (Pantone 19-4052) evokes a feeling of vast expanse.

Creators around the globe are using modern blue takes for runways, mobile phones, kitchen appliances and pricey, forward-looking cars and motorcycles.

  • Pantone's Laurie Pressman insisted the pick wasn't a nod to Dems: "We do not look at color through a political lens. We look at our life through a colorful lens."
9. Quote du jour
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton, who sat with George and Laura Bush during President Trump's inauguration in 2017, told Howard Stern that after the "dystopian" address, "George W. Bush says to me, 'Well that was some weird s--t.'"

10. 1 fun thing: Clifford's reboot
A scene from the new show. Image: Scholastic Entertainment via AP

Scholastic Entertainment is rebooting the "Clifford the Big Red Dog" TV series to offer more diversity among the human characters and put his 7-year-old owner, Emily Elizabeth, front and center in his Birdwell Island adventures, per AP.

  • In the new series, Clifford and Emily speak to each other, but only when they're alone. Clifford and his dog pals had always chatted using words instead of woofs. But he had been all dog with humans.
  • The stories are "more empowering for girls," Scholastic said.

The new series debuts on Amazon Prime Video tomorrow, and PBS Kids on Saturday.

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