☕️ Happy Friday!
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
President Trump faces three clear and imminent threats as he heads toward his 2020 reelection race — the economy slipping, Congress flipping and a Russia probe drip, drip, dripping.
One sign of a new sense of urgency: West Wing officials widely believe that chief of staff John Kelly’s departure is imminent and that Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Vice President Pence, will replace him.
The multi-front war confronting Trump's evolving team:
In a second major move, Trump is expected today to name Heather Nauert, top State Department spokesperson, to succeed Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as Bloomberg News and others first reported.
Be smart: Between the outside threats and the coming personnel shuffle, the sense of uncertainty inside the West Wing is at an all-time high.
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, star of House Dems' freshman class, is using her social-media mastery and her fearless organizing instinct to give a more activist face to the new Congress even before she's sworn in.
Very unusually for a first-year lawmaker, let alone a victor who hasn't even in office yet, Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly driven news since the midterms, including these tweets yesterday from lawmakers' freshman orientation at
Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics:
Ocasio-Cortez is on track to be the most famous House Democrat after Speaker-designate Pelosi.
But scrutiny will come with that high profile ... The WashPost's "Fact Checker" gave her four Pinocchios this week under the headline, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s $21 trillion mistake."
Be smart: Look for Pelosi to give a ton of space to her vocal, activist freshmen — as long as she doesn't think they're hurting overall caucus efforts, or doing anything that could make it harder to keep the majority.
Victorina Morales, 46, a native of Costa Rica who is a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., spoke about her illegal status with the N.Y. Times' Miriam Jordan, saying "she understood she could be fired or deported as a result of coming forward."
"Morales ... approached The New York Times through their New Jersey lawyer, Anibal Romero, who is representing them on immigration matters. ... Morales said that she ... has applied for protection under the asylum laws. She is also exploring a lawsuit claiming workplace abuse and discrimination."
P.S. Morales said she "washed and ironed Mr. Trump’s white boxers, golf shirts and khaki trousers, as well as his sheets and towels. Everything belonging to Mr. Trump, his wife, Melania, and their son, Barron, was washed with special detergent in a smaller, separate washing machine, she said."
President George H.W. Bush's last gift to the country he loved, served, shape and exemplified was to bring us together for a week of reminiscing about a time long gone, both psychically and chronologically.
Navy ceremonial guard Kenneth Knox stands over the president's flag-draped casket in his Texas funeral train as members of the public line the route:
In the next two pics, students from Salyers Elementary School in Spring, Texas, wave as the train traveled from a suburban Houston rail yard to Bush's final resting place at his presidential library in College Station, Texas:
Firefighters salute from their truck:
Two more shots along the way ...
P.S. A pair of pics of George and Barbara Bush on the same locomotive in 2005:
"For years, Uber and Lyft put off going public. Now, they are speeding up," the N.Y. Times' Erin Griffith and Mike Isaac report:
Barrett Daniels, a partner at Deloitte who advises on IPOs:
"Republican Rep. David Valadao conceded to Democrat TJ Cox in the race for California's 21st District on Thursday, giving the Democratic Party a net gain of 40 seats in the US House of Representatives."
" U.S. Border Patrol arrests on the Mexican border jumped 78 percent in November from a year earlier to the highest level in Donald Trump's presidency, with families and children accounting for a majority for a third straight month," AP reports:
"The Border Patrol made 25,172 arrests of people who came as families in November, nearly four times the same period last year, parent agency Customs and Border Protection said."
"Mueller’s investigation ... has been remarkably focused and consistent straight through — zeroing in on five distinct investigative avenues," Garrett M. Graff writes in WIRED:
"A sixth investigative avenue was opened this spring by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, where Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws by paying hush money to Stormy Daniels and others — which he says occurred at Trump’s instruction."
The N.Y. Times Magazine's "Great Performers" issue honors the 10 best film performances of the year, as chosen by critics A.O. Scott and Wesley Morris.
The Wall Street Journal dives into Uber Pool, a cheaper service where you can be one of several pickups on the way to your destination ...
"'Ride from Hell': Carpooling in the Age of Uber Can Be … Awkward — Clashes over music and temperature are common among users of shared ride services; Exasperated drivers try to referee," A-Hed by Kiana Cornish: