Nov 11, 2019

Axios AM

🚨Rep. Peter King won't run for re-election, the Long Island Republican announced this morning. He's served 14 terms in Congress.

🇺🇸 On Veterans Day, we thank the women and men — many of them so young — who braved danger to serve America, giving up their comfort to allow ours.

  • Breaking: Pete Buttigieg says he'd like to name a woman to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs for the first time, part of a broader plan to spur cultural changes to help the military's fastest-growing group. (AP)
1 big thing: The immigrants who fought for American freedom
Expand chart
Adapted from Migration Policy Institute. Chart: Axios Visuals

Immigrants have helped protect America through U.S. military service throughout most of the nation's history. But it's becoming harder for non-citizens to enlist — and to gain citizenship after their service, Stef Kight writes.

  • The big picture: 2.4 million of the nation's veterans were born outside the U.S. or are children of immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute — 13% of the overall veteran population.

Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Ken Cuccinelli will conduct a special Veterans Day naturalization ceremony. The 12 service members and veterans attaining citizenship join more than 760,000 who have become citizens through military service in the past century, according to MPI.

  • Almost 300 foreign-born service members gave their lives in combat between September 2001 and 2013, according to MPI.

But over the past several years — under President Obama and now President Trump — it has become harder for non-citizens to enlist, and for immigrant veterans to become citizens.

  • Since 2016, the Defense Department has added stricter vetting requirements for non-citizens who wish to enlist through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, out of concerns for national security.

Go deeper: Read more and share this graphic.

2. The price of whistleblowing
Edward Snowden. Photo: Axios on HBO

In interviews with "Axios on HBO," five well-known whistleblowers opened up about threats they faced and life-changing sacrifices they made: isolation, threats of physical harm, the end of a marriage, David Nather writes.

  • Why it matters: They sent a clear message to current whistleblowers — including the Ukraine whistleblower: You're not alone.
  • "Courage is contagious," said Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers. "We need more whistleblowers, not fewer — many more."

The whistleblowers:

  1. Ellsberg.
  2. Edward Snowden, former National Security Agency subcontractor.
  3. Jeffrey Wigand, tobacco industry whistleblower, who reported finding a bullet in his mailbox.
  4. Sherron Watkins, Enron whistleblower.
  5. Frank Serpico, former NYPD officer who fought police corruption.

The price past whistleblowers paid after they became public was sometimes devastating.

  • Wigand, who exposed the tobacco industry's disregard of the dangers of smoking in the 1990s, had to have armed security because of death threats to his family — including a bullet placed in his mailbox that he said was meant for his daughters, not him.
  • Ellsberg faced 115 years in prison. (The charges were dropped.)

Go deeper: Watch a video.

3. ⚖️ Impeachment heads to live TV
Photos: AP (left), Reuters.

At left is the Senate Watergate hearing room in May, 1973.

  • At right is the House Ways and Means Committee hearing room in Longworth, where the public phase of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump begins Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Then ... Back in 1973, tens of millions of Americans tuned in to what Variety called "the hottest daytime soap opera" — the Senate Watergate hearings that eventually led to President Nixon's resignation, AP's David Crary writes.

  • It was a communal experience, and by some estimates, more than 80% of Americans watched at least part of the telecasts.
  • Why it matters: Seeing the witnesses lay out the case against the president moved public opinion decidedly in favor of impeachment.

Now ... But this time may be different:

  • Many will watch on more than one screen, with real-time reinforcement of their preexisting views — on platforms that didn't exist during Watergate.
4. Trail pic du jour
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg visits Polly's Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill (Franconia), N.H.

5. "Axios on HBO" poll: Politics are driving Democrats mad

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 70% of Democrats say politics is making them increasingly angry about America, leaving them feeling like “strangers in their own land,” according to an "Axios on HBO" poll conducted by SurveyMonkey.  

  • Why it matters: Democrats say nearly everything they watch, read or listen to triggers their anger, even the soothing voices of NPR. 

The big picture: Americans, as a whole, are just plain mad and feeling like strangers in their own land, though a lower percentage of Republicans describe themselves as angry (57% compared to 74% of Democrats) or feeling like a stranger (52% compared to 71% of Democrats).

  • Other people are getting angrier too: 58% report their friends, family and co-workers seem angrier than five years ago.

Between the lines: Those who talk about politics the most are also the angriest.

  • 83% of Americans who discuss politics several times a day report feeling angry at least once a day over something they heard or read in the news.
  • That falls to 56% among those who discuss it once a week, and 39% for those who discuss it about once a month.

The bottom line: The Republican anger that animated the Trump rise and presidency gets most of the media attention.

  • Turns out, this is the bipartisan era of rage and estrangement, fueled by rising interest in American politics. 

Go deeper: Share this story.

6. 📚 Sneak peek: "A Warning," by Anonymous
Graphic: Axios

"Axios on HBO" last night aired a preview of "A Warning," by the senior administration official who penned a New York Times op-ed that infuriated President Trump and sparked an ultimately fruitless leak investigation.

  • Why it matters: Sources say the book points to multiple instances of misconduct and attempts to violate the law, and some of the allegations could be used a bread crumbs for impeachment investigators to follow — obstruction of Congress, abuse of power, offering pardons.

Two appetizers from the book, out Nov. 19:

1. "One time, a leader of a national security agency asked the president for support in convincing Congress to pass an upcoming defense bill":

"Don't worry about Congress," the president said. "Just do what you need to do."
The official explained that it wasn't like that ...
"No, no. It doesn't matter. you have my permission to do whatever you need to do, okay? Just forget about them."

2. "The president has proposed doing away with judges on more than one occasion":

Too many of his policies are getting stuck in legal limbo, he says.
"Can we just get rid of the judges? Let's get rid of the fucking judges," Trump fumed one morning. "There shouldn't be any at all, really."
He went a step further and asked his legal team to draft up a bill and send it to Congress to reduce the number of federal judges.
Staff ignored the outburst and the wacky request.

White House statement on "A Warning":

The coward who wrote this book didn’t put their name on it because it is nothing but lies. Real authors reach out to their subjects to get things fact checked — but this person is in hiding, making that very basic part of being a real writer impossible.
7. 🇭🇰 Month 6: Hong Kong violence spirals into working hours
In this image made from video, a police officer prepares to shoot a protester. Photo: Cupid Producer via AP

A man was set on fire, and "Hong Kong police shot and wounded one protester who, hospital officials said, was in critical condition, ... as the Chinese-ruled territory spiraled into rare working-hours violence," Reuters reports.

  • Why it matters: It's rare for tear gas to be fired during working hours in the central business district, "lined with bank headquarters and top-brand shops."
8. 1 vet thing: #HireHonor
Call of Duty Endowment

See a video by General James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense, for the Call of Duty Endowment: "Honor a Veteran By Hiring a Veteran."

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