Apr 13, 2019

Axios AM

Good Saturday morning. Welcome to the Weekend.

1 big thing: Furious Trump targets Dem cities
Trucks line up at the port of entry from Mexicali, Mexico, to Calexico, Calif. (Mark Holtzman/West Coast Aerial Photography Inc. via AP)

President Trump is embracing increasingly extreme immigration ideas, in part because he is furious at his inability to get instant border results through executive fiat, top officials tell Jonathan Swan.

  • After reporters uncovered a heated internal administration debate, Trump tweeted: "Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities."
  • "Sanctuary cities" shield migrants, limiting cooperation with deportation.

Reflecting Trump's behind-the-scenes rage, a senior White House official said: "This was one of the more unsurprising tweets ever."

  • The senior White House official acknowledged: "It's not going to happen because ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] can't do it. They don't have the cash and they can't ask for federal funds to do that."

Why it matters: Trump is drawn to maximalist, click-your-fingers ideas that can be legally dubious or outright illegal.

Be smart: This is not a plan. It's a Trump desire.

  • And wishing it to happen won’t make it so.

The details, via The Washington Post:

  • "White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of 'sanctuary cities' to retaliate against ... political adversaries."
  • "Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district in San Francisco was among those the White House wanted to target ... The administration also considered releasing detainees in other Democratic strongholds."

A senior administration official said the president was not "trolling," and seemed entirely serious about pursuing the idea.

  • The official said the administration had to work with state and local governments to "figure out the best way to relocate so many of these illegal aliens to various locations that claim they want this." 

The bottom line: Immigration lawyers tell Axios' Stef Kight that in addition to there not being funds for this, there would be huge liabilities if anyone got hurt while be transferred.

  • Also, Trump would be essentially giving immigrants a free ride to places many of them would prefer to be anyway. 
2. 🇯🇵 Japan decline accelerates

Population decline in Japan is accelerating, The Financial Times' Robin Harding reports from Tokyo (subscription):

  • The population of 126 million is down from a peak 128 million in 2010.
  • Japan's population puts it 11th in the world; the U.S. is third after China and India.

Why it matters: Japan — the third largest economy, after the U.S. and China — "once a symbol of malaise, has made up for its lost decade." (Bloomberg Opinion)

By "the middle of the century, Japan will be losing about 900,000 people a year, roughly equivalent to a city the size of Glasgow ... or Austin," per the FT:

  • "Long-term projections suggest Japan’s population will fall to just 50m in a hundred years, the same as it was a century ago."

Why it's happening: It's not the birthrate — it's the number of deaths.

  • "Japan had a baby boom before the second world war because of military pressure to increase the birth rate."
3. Georgetown students endorse slavery reparations
Another student discovery: Gonzaga College High School ledgers from the 1820s, now at Georgetown's library, show financial transactions dealing with slaves. (Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

What's new: "Georgetown University students voted overwhelmingly ... to create a fund to help descendants of the enslaved people sold in the 19th century at a time when the school struggled to pay off debts," per the WashPost.

  • Why it matters: "Two-thirds of undergraduate students who voted in the student government referendum supported the measure, one that is not binding but still sends a message to university administrators and beyond."
4. Pic du jour
David Cannon/Getty Images

Tiger Woods celebrates after making a putt for birdie on the 15th green during the Masters, at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia yesterday.

  • "The top of the Masters leaderboard is a crowded place after two rounds, with Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen in a five-way tie for the lead. Then there’s the man lurking one shot behind: four-time tournament winner Tiger Woods." (AP)
5. Sneak peek: "It's time to panic"
Courtesy The New York Times

With a print section, N.Y. Times Opinion tomorrow launches a months-long exploration of companies and governments "gaining new powers to follow people across the internet and around the world, and even to peer into their genomes":

  • "It’s Time to Panic About Privacy," columnist Farhad Manjoo writes.
  • Publisher A. G. Sulzberger reflects on his own organization's collection and monetization of data about readers: "The business leadership of The Times has taken steps over the past year to increase privacy protections. These efforts have focused on cutting back on data collection and sharing, strengthening security and increasing transparency."

Kara Swisher — under the headline, "We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore" — calls for a national privacy law "before these data-hungry tech companies become even more enmeshed in our lives."

  • Editorial page editor James Bennet writes that privacy, although the word doesn't appear in the Constitution, is "a bulwark against the power of the state and the society, the workplace and the marketplace."

Peer in.

6. 📚 1 book thing
Photo: @DailyDOOH via AP

Julian Assange's arrest has made a book of interviews with Gore Vidal an unexpected best-seller, AP reports:

  • Assange was carrying a copy of "Gore Vidal: History of the National Security State & Vidal on America" when he was arrested Thursday in London.
  • By yesterday afternoon, the 2014 book was No. 35 on Amazon (#49 today).

"Gore Vidal" features conversations between the author-playwright and Paul Jay, founder of The Real News Network, a nonprofit with a stated mission of "independent, verifiable, fact-based journalism."

  • Vidal, who died in 2012 at age 86, had a longtime aversion to U.S. military force and surveillance.