Jun 6, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good Thursday morning. Today's Smart Brevity count: 674 words ... < 3 minutes!

  • Breaking: Fiat Chrysler abruptly withdrew its offer to combine with Renault, which would have created the world’s third-largest automaker, a company worth $39 billion — blaming French political conditions, per Bloomberg.

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1 big thing: Trump's empty Cabinet
Expand chart
Data: FiveThirtyEight, department websites. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

No president in recent history has had as many extended Cabinet vacancies as President Trump, writes Axios' Andrew Witherspoon.

  • Trump has racked up more than four times as many days with a vacant Cabinet position as any president since Ronald Reagan at this point in their presidencies.

Why it matters: Past and former officials tell us nothing worries them more than the lack of talent in some of our nation's top Cabinet jobs. 

2. When companies act like governments

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Major companies are throwing their weight around to shift public policy by refusing to work with gun sellers, states that restrict abortion rights, and places that propose anti-LGBTQ bills, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.

  • The latest example is Salesforce, which has recently barred certain gun sellers from using its e-commerce software, per the WashPost.

Why it matters: Throughout the history of capitalism, wealthy and powerful companies have effectively acted like governments. Now, as they get bigger and richer than ever, they are changing the calculus of power in the U.S.

3. This is huge

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi told senior Democrats that she’d like to see President Donald Trump 'in prison' as she clashed with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler in a meeting on Tuesday night over whether to launch impeachment proceedings," Politico's Heather Caygle reports.

  • "I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison," Pelosi said.
  • Why it matters: "Instead of impeachment, Pelosi still prefers to see Trump defeated at the ballot box and then prosecuted for his alleged crimes."
4. 75 years ago today: The orders
Photo: U.S. Army Signal Corps via AP

On June 6, 1944, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower gives the order of the day ("Full Victory — Nothing Else") to paratroopers in England just before they board planes to lead the first assault on France, beginning the liberation of Europe.

  • Why it matters: That began the Allied advance toward Germany and victory in Europe 11 months later.
Photo: U.S. Army Signal Corps via AP
5. What it looked like
Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Military re-enactors watch as 280 paratroopers drop onto the fields of Sannerville, France, yesterday.

6. D-Day, 75 years on
Photo: Thibault Camus/AP

Above, World War II re-enactors throng Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, at dawn.

Below, Lester Holt of "NBC Nightly News," who anchored a special this morning from the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, interviewed veteran Irving Locker.

Photo: NBC News
7. Big Tech's lobbying war

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google "are amassing an army of lobbyists as they prepare for what could be an epic fight over their futures," write the N.Y. Times' Cecilia Kang and Ken Vogel.

  • "The four companies spent a combined $55 million on lobbying last year, doubling their combined spending of $27.4 million in 2016, and some are spending at a higher rate so far this year."
  • Why it matters: "That puts them on a par with long-established lobbying powerhouses like the defense, automobile and banking industries."

"The influence campaigns encompass ... calls on members of Congress, advertising, funding of think-tank research and efforts to get the attention of President Trump."

  • "The industry’s troubles mean big paydays for the lawyers, political operatives and public relations experts."
  • "The companies all had earlier ties to Democrats but have also worked to develop closer relationships with Republicans."
8. A Trumpian Fourth

"President Trump plans to address the nation from the Lincoln Memorial on July 4 as part of an overhauled Independence Day celebration that would bring a host of new security and logistical challenges," per the WashPost.

  • "The administration plans to move the fireworks display from the usual location on the Mall to West Potomac Park, and the event may feature a second entertainment stage in addition to the standard free concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol."
9. Lingo: "clinkers"
Courtesy Hachette Books

I hadn't heard the word "clinkers" since "A Christmas Story."

  • But that's how President Trump referred to some of the duds he picked for his administration.

Trump used the old-timey expression in an interview with Yahoo News' Alexander Nazaryan for his book, "The Best People: Trump’s Cabinet and the Siege on Washington," out June 18 from Hachette Books.

  • "I have 10 people for every job," Trump bragged. "The hard part is choosing, because I have great people."
  • Excerpt.
10. 1 fun thing
A sculpture of Charles Darwin sits in front of a T. rex skeleton at the Smithsonian's new "David H. Koch Hall of Fossils — Deep Time." Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History will reopen its dinosaur and fossil hall on Saturday after five years of rebuilding.

  • The T. rex skeleton is the centerpiece of more than 700 fossils — including mammals, reptiles, plants and insects — in a 31,000-square-foot exhibit telling the story of 3.7 billion years of life on Earth, per a release.
  • If you're going.
Mike Allen

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