🌞 Happy Tuesday, and welcome back.
⚡ Breaking: Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is considering a late run for president. (AP)
Confronted with a mountain of damaging facts heading into tomorrow's opening of the public phase of impeachment, House Republicans plan to argue that "the President's state of mind" was exculpatory, according to a strategy memo obtained by Axios' Jonathan Swan and narrated by Zach Basu.
Why it matters: By focusing their defense on intangibles like impeachability and President Trump's mindset, House Republicans don't depend on undercutting a narrative that has been bolstered by witness after witness.
The memo points to "four key pieces of evidence" to try to undermine Democrats' arguments for why the president should be impeached:
Between the lines: The memo fails to consider counterarguments that Democratic members have been making for weeks.
What’s next: Look for Democrats to begin using the phrase "cheating our democracy."
Go deeper: Read the memo.
Several of the biggest social media platforms are beginning to test changes that cut down on scorekeeping, discourage harassment and aim to improve users' well-being, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.
Instagram will begin testing removal of public "like" counts for some U.S. accounts this week.
Social media companies for years tried to juice engagement with features like increased notification symbols, public-facing "like" counts, and brighter colors to attract users to more images.
Twitter is also deploying tests to motivate users to engage more positively and cut down on harassment and bullying.
Between the lines: These efforts aren't totally altruistic. The platforms' high-engagement environment is burning out some users.
If CEOs are the new politicians, many of them don't seem to have thought carefully about foreign policy — particularly about working with autocratic regimes, Axios' Felix Salmon, Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva report.
American CEOs are increasingly stepping up to take positions on domestic issues like gun control, transgender rights and climate change. But when it comes to abuses outside U.S. borders, they tend to fall silent — or say things they regret.
Mercury, the smallest planet, passed between Earth and the Sun yesterday, in a "transit" that won't be repeated until 2032.
Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images
More than two years after the Trump administration's attempt to end the DACA program that protects hundreds of thousands of young, unauthorized immigrants from deportation, the case will finally come before the Supreme Court today, reports Axios' Stef Kight.
The Constitution gives the House the power to impeach the president, while the Senate then votes on removal from office after a trial.
Juul has halted sales of most flavors. Photo: Seth Wenig/AP
Juul Labs' new CEO, K.C. Crosthwaite, who joined the company in September, is moving quickly to try to reposition the company amid an onslaught of regulatory, research and business setbacks, a Juul official tells me.
What the company did earlier: "Limited product we sell in the U.S. to just Tobacco and Menthol ... Suspended all broadcast, print, and digital product advertising in the U.S. ... Ceased active support of Proposition C in San Francisco."
Jon Meacham — co-author of an impeachment history last year, and lead author of "Songs of America," published last June — will be out Feb. 18 (Lent 2020!) with "The Hope of Glory: Reflections on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross."
A steel Patek Philippe watch called the Grandmaster Chime was sold by Christie's in Geneva for $31 million, a wristwatch record, Bloomberg reports.
The Grandmaster Chime "beat the previous record, set by a Daytona Rolex that once belonged to Paul Newman. That piece fetched $17.8 million in 2017."
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