Nancy Pelosi enters today's House Democratic leadership elections unopposed for speaker. But she still lacks the vote tally she'll need to clinch the post in January. (AP)
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Evidence is mounting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is moving toward further indictments — and perhaps some big ones, with an end-of-year flurry of activity, Garrett M. Graff reports for Axios.
Graff — one of the most astute Mueller-watchers, and author of a book focused on his dozen years as FBI director — sees six signs that a Mueller climax may be accelerating:
Since Mueller laid low while waiting for Trump’s responses, the special counsel may have wanted to avoid taking any action that might spook the president.
So the timeline looks like it's speeding up, after four months of near-silence from Mueller. Manafort's lack of cooperation might be the opening needed to file Mueller's most explosive findings in public shortly.
Be smart: We've been surprised at every turn by how much Mueller knows.
"Conservative author Jerome Corsi alerted longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone in early August 2016 that WikiLeaks planned to release material damaging to ... Hillary Clinton, including documents related to her campaign chairman John Podesta, according to a draft court filing," the WashPost reports.
What's coming, per WashPost: "Mueller has so far charged 32 people in connection with the probe, extracting guilty pleas from several, delving deeply into Russian influence and hacking operations, and compiling reams of unrevealed evidence through a grand jury."
P.S. The special counsel's office issued a rare public statement, saying Mueller will continue to operate even if there's a government shutdown over Trump's wall:
"The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in more than a decade, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on 2016 government data," the Pew Research Center's Jeffrey S. Passel and D'Vera Cohn write.
"The decline is due almost entirely to a sharp decrease in the number of Mexicans entering the country without authorization," Pew writes.
What's growing? "[T]he lawful immigrant population grew 22% during the same period, an increase of more than 6 million people," Pew writes.
The caravans: The Mexican border "remains a pathway for entry by growing numbers of unauthorized immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras."
"Wall Street investors are enamored with a newly emergent tech company," per AP Tech Writer Matt O'Brien:
"And now it is close to surpassing Apple as the world's most valuable publicly traded company ... and did so briefly a few times this week."
Why it matters: "As other tech giants stumble, its steady resilience is paying off."
This is the closest that the great David Ignatius has ever come to fully merging his lives as top foreign-affairs columnist and bestselling spy-thriller writer ... "The Khashoggi killing had roots in a cutthroat Saudi family feud":
As Tarek Obaid, a Saudi business executive who advised the Abdullah clan, "left his plane, he was stopped by more than 40 plainclothes Chinese security men. ... [H]is head and body were covered in a bag so tight that he couldn’t see or move unassisted; he was taken to an interrogation facility somewhere in Beijing and handcuffed to a chair."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
A new report suggests autonomous vehicles could deliver goods cheaper and faster — within an hour or two of ordering in some cases — and have a major impact on consumer behavior, Axios' Joann Muller writes.
Why it matters: That access to fast, low-cost delivery could make it irresistible to order even more stuff — and send profound ripples through the economy.
Laurene Powell Jobs talks to Andrew Ross Sorkin. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)
Kara Swisher writes for the N.Y. Times that Laurene Powell Jobs, "an activist, investor and entrepreneur, has been investing in media companies [including Axios and The Atlantic] through her social impact firm, Emerson Collective."
"[T]he investments include a panoply of the cool, hip and fresh in a mostly glum content industry."
"Most interesting, [Emerson] has also been supporting dramatic art projects like 'Carne y Arena (Virtually present, Physically Invisible),' a stunning virtual reality piece by the Mexican director Alejandro G. Iñárritu that depicted the lives of refugees and also the border patrol agents who try to hold them back."
Science may make it possible for people to live past 100, but a new Axios poll finds that Americans aren't exactly jazzed about living that long, Axios managing editor David Nather writes.
By the numbers:
Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Radhika Jones revives a tradition with the Vanity Fair 2018 Hall of Fame, highlighting unconventional heroes — including Stormy Daniels, Stephen Hawking, Bob Woodward, Naomi Wadler (the youngest speaker at the March for Our Lives rally) and Gloria Steinem — who dominated the year's headlines.
See the Hall of Fame at Vanity Fair, posting shortly.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is a first-time grandfather:
P.S. 1 food thing ... José Andrés nominated for Nobel Peace Prize: "Ever since José Andrés and his small nonprofit group took it upon themselves to feed hungry Puerto Ricans following the near-knockout punch of Hurricane Maria last year, the celebrity chef’s name has been whispered," the WashPost reports.