⚡Breaking: The Justice Department accidentally revealed in a filing that it "has prepared an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, marking a drastic escalation of the government’s years-long battle with him." (N.Y. Times)
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Conservative media pose a surprising risk to the Trump administration, Jonathan Swan reports:
Trump fell into the conservative media trap again this week while speaking with The Daily Caller, a conservative site that generally gives him glowing coverage.
Why it matters: The president clearly makes a strong connection between Whitaker's installation at the Justice Department and the Mueller investigation.
Between the lines: As the New York Times' Maggie Haberman tweeted, "in days with different staff, aides generally kept Trump from doing conservative media interviews because he gets comfortable and says ... things like he says here."
The backdrop ... Conservative media have caused unexpected problems for Trump since the first days of his administration:
Trump himself has fallen into the conservative comfort trap:
Be smart: Conservative outlets often get well-deserved criticism for carrying water for the White House. But from time to time, they also cause headaches.
Above, the 13-month string of California's deadliest and most destructive blazes has been driven by unusually warm and dry preceding conditions, strong winds that have caused the fires to spread rapidly, and populated areas that are difficult to evacuate on short notice, Axios science editor Andrew Freedman reports.
Below, a neighborhood in Paradise, in Northern California, as the fire's death toll hits 63 and the number unaccounted for soars to 631 (although that may include some who are counted twice, or who may not know they were reported missing):
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters on a 90-minute conference call yesterday that he and COO Sheryl Sandberg were unaware of the company's involvement with a D.C.-based opposition research firm that had tried to link an anti-Facebook campaign to George Soros, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
The details: Definers Public Affairs is a consulting firm founded by former Republican campaign staffers (CEO: Matt Rhoades; president: Joe Pounder) that specializes in opposition research. It represents other tech firms, like Qualcomm, and has lobbied against Apple.
Zuckerberg said that COO Sheryl Sandberg "was also not involved" with the Definers relationship, and that "she learned about it at the same time I did."
Scoop: A Pennsylvania philanthropist and former hedge fund executive, David Magerman, was the initial donor behind Freedom from Facebook, a high-profile campaign urging regulators to break up Facebook, Axios' David McCabe reports.
"Energized by their success in last week's midterms and courting potential primary voters outraged by the actions of the Trump administration, virtually every Democrat considering a White House run is talking about fighting in one form or another — and trying to prove he or she is prepared for the match," AP's Juana Summers points out.
The political impact of changing U.S. demographics can already be seen in the high turnout of young Americans in the midterm elections, Frey tells Axios — an estimated 31% of people 18 to 29 voted, the most since 1994.
The youngest generation is also the most highly educated, with 59% of 18- to 20- year-olds enrolled in college, compared with 53% of millennials when they were the same age.
"Women's winning streak in this year's elections has extended to statehouses across the country," AP's Geoff Mulvihill reports:
"In another first, women could end up holding the majority in two state legislative chambers at the same time — the Colorado House and Nevada Assembly, according to tallies by the center and the National Conference of State Legislatures."
With Prime Minister Theresa May's "party in revolt, her colleagues departing — some determined to usher her out of office — we ... don't know yet, if Brexit can happen as planned, perhaps, if at all," BBC political editor Laura Kuenssber writes.
First look ... After the D.C. City Council this week approved a hotel-industry-backed bill that caps on how often you can rent a property via Airbnb, the local tech industry is beginning an urgent push to get Mayor Muriel Bowser to veto it.
The backstory: "The D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday to impose some of the tightest limits in the nation on Airbnb and other short-term rental companies," the WashPost's Bob McCartney and Peter Jamison report.
Hangover helper ... Minibars in the back of Ubers:
How it works: "On top of the box of goodies (usually in the console but always within reach of the rider), is a unique code that a passenger enters into a mobile website menu. When that’s entered, it’ll show the driver’s inventory on your phone. And once a product is purchased, through Apple Pay as well as Venmo, ... the driver can open the box and retrieve the item."