Jan 22, 2020

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

⚖️ Day 1 of President Trump's impeachment trial ended at 1:50 a.m.

  • The Senate reconvenes at 1 p.m. for the House managers' arguments — 24 hours over three days.
1 big thing: America's hardest places to grow up
Graphic: Brandeis University's "Child Opportunity Index 2.0"

Researchers at Brandeis University used factors like poverty rate and green space to assign an "opportunity score" for what it's like to grow up in all 72,000 neighborhoods in the U.S, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.

  • The hardest place to grow up — according to the report, "The Geography of Child Opportunity" — is Bakersfield, Calif., where more than half of residents under 18 live in low-opportunity neighborhoods.
  • The best is Madison, Wis.
  • Cities in the South generally have lower scores than those in the Northeast.

The researchers' Child Opportunity Index finds whopping differences even within metro areas.

  • In Detroit, there's a neighborhood with a score of 95, among the best in the country for kids, as well as one that scored 2. A kid born in the better neighborhood will likely earn much more and live up to seven years longer than another child born a few miles away.
  • Other cities with big opportunity gaps include Baltimore and Philadelphia.
  • Opportunity is distributed far more equally in New York, L.A. and Dallas.

Of the close to 10 million kids living in low-opportunity neighborhoods, 4.5 million are Hispanic and 3.6 million are black.

2. What matters: Trump trial edition
Chief Justice John Roberts arrives at the Capitol yesterday. Photo: Cliff Owen/AP

We’re all going to be flooded with information and distractions over the course of the impeachment trial. Here’s what deserves your attention, narrated by Axios editors David Nather and Margaret Talev:

1. The rules of engagement: It matters how much time House impeachment managers get to present their case, how long Trump’s legal team gets to respond — and what evidence is allowed.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed down quickly on his original plan to make House managers and Trump’s team each present 24 hours of arguments over two days.
  • By spreading it over three days each, McConnell can better balance pressures from the White House, which wants a speedy trial, and vulnerable Republicans like Susan Collins of Maine, who pushed for more time.

2. The new facts: We’ve learned some new information since the House impeachment vote, such as the Government Accountability Office's conclusion that White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine.

  • To learn more — not just summarize what's already come out — Democrats would need majority support in the Senate to call witnesses, like former national security adviser John Bolton, or subpoena evidence.

3. Chief Justice John Roberts' role: Things likely would have to go pretty far off the rails, even by 2020 standards, for Roberts to end up having much of a substantive impact on the proceedings, Axios’ Sam Baker reports.

  • Roberts has some power to decide evidentiary questions, which could include calling witnesses, but the Senate largely makes its own rules for impeachment trials.
  • But it wouldn't look great to for senators to overrule the chief justice, or be contradicted by him.

4. What Trump does: He has a legal team to fight for him — as long as he doesn’t say anything that causes himself more problems.

3. Democrats to watch at the trial
White House counsel Pat Cipollone speaks in the Senate chamber. Sketch: Dana Verkouteren via AP

Sen. Doug Jones, running for re-election in deep-red Alabama, is being targeted during the impeachment trial with a $1 million ad campaign by the pro-Trump group America First Policies.

  • Jones has said there are "gaps" in the House case, and could be a vote to acquit.

Two other Democrats who could flip:

  • Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
⚖️ 4. Trial diary
Clockwise from upper left: White House counsel Pat Cipollone, House manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow and House manager Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). Photos: Senate TV

Here's what mattered yesterday, Axios' Alayna Treene reports from the Senate chamber:

  • Senators voted along party lines on Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer's amendments to introduce new evidence.
  • So all of them were tabled and the original resolution introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell passed without any changes. 

It wasn’t a total defeat for Democrats, who used each debate to their advantage, and took their time to argue to subpoena documents and witnesses.

  • Why it matters: That created free time to argue their case outside of the 24 hours they are given for opening arguments.

Trump’s team chose to treat this solely as a procedural process, and rejected extra time to defend the president. 

  • The result: Viewers see a meticulous defense of the articles of impeachment from House managers, starkly contrasted against the Trump defense team’s attempts to paint the entire trial as bogus. 

What it's like: Senators' desks are piled high with papers, binders, and notepads. Many senators scrawled copious notes.

  • Sen. Mike Lee of Utah was particularly ferocious— he was almost always scribbling in a big notebook.

Not on camera: To get around the rule of silence, senators flashed each other notes, grade-school style.

🇨🇳 5. Breaking: Huawei stockpiles supplies, fearing U.S. ban

"Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant that Washington views as a global security threat, is scrambling to stockpile up to a year's worth of foreign supplies for its core telecoms equipment business," Nikkei Asian Review reports.

  • Why it matters: The move comes ahead of "a widely-expected toughening of U.S. technology sanctions that may come as soon as next month."
6. Exclusive poll: Women lock in on 2020
Expand chart
Data: Benenson Strategy Group online poll of 800 likely 2020 presidential voters, Dec. 5-12. Margin of error: ±3.39 percentage points. Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Democratic women say they're more interested in this election than they were in 2016, according to a new survey by American University's Women & Politics Institute and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, provided exclusively to Axios' Alexi McCammond.

  • Why it matters: That's a warning sign for the GOP, which has been losing female voters to Democrats at a fast rate over the last few cycles.

By the numbers: 39% of Democratic likely women voters said they'd be more involved in this year's political issues or campaigns. That compares with just 23% of Republican women.

  • Four in 10 millennial women and women of color said they planned to be more involved.

Share this graphic.

7. 💰 Asset managers' new top risk

With the China trade deal signed, asset managers now say November's election is the top market risk, Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin reports from the Bank of America Securities' latest global fund manager survey.

  • Why it matters: The trade war dropped to the No. 2 concern among respondents for the first time since May.
  • Worries about a "bond bubble" popping rose to No. 3.
8. Elon Musk's last laugh
Cover: Bloomberg Businessweek

Elon Musk and Tesla face "an informal yet obsessive global fraternity of accountants, lawyers, hedge fund managers, former Tesla employees, and some randos who just love trolling," writes Dana Hall for Bloomberg Businessweek.

  • "Lately, Musk and his company have had the upper hand. Tesla’s share price has more than doubled since October, thanks to a surprise quarterly profit, January’s announcement of record deliveries, and the start of production in China."
  • "Tesla short sellers lost more than $2.8 billion in 2019."

Keep reading.

9. Davos dispatch: Big Tech nears tax deal

Marine One ferries President Trump to the Davos landing zone on Tuesday. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

Officials in Davos are close to a deal between the U.S. and France on taxing Big Tech companies like Amazon and Facebook, per AP.

  • Negotiators are working on a plan for France to suspend its tax on U.S.-based digital giants.
  • In return, the U.S. is expected to agree to an international approach to the issue and hold off retaliatory tariffs on Europe.
10. 1 plane thing
Swiss Air Force Base in Dübendorf, Switzerland, used for Davos arrivals, during Davos 2016. Photo: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

The global elite pouring into Davos on private jets have a fuel option available that's designed to be at least a bit more green, reports Bloomberg's Tara Patel.

  • "So-called sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, will be available at Zurich airport, according to ... a coalition of groups representing business jet operators, manufacturers and fuel suppliers."
  • The group claims "a 30% blend with conventional jet fuel can lower CO2 emissions by about 18% on a comparable 1,000-nautical-mile flight."
Mike Allen

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