☃️ Good Sunday morning. It's Christmas Eve eve.
David Hogg, leader of the Parkland survivors, tweets that he'll "be attending Harvard in the fall with a planned major in Political Science."
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Floating possible future defenses, Rudy Giuliani is invoking Republican overreach against Bill Clinton in arguing that President Trump's use of hush money during the campaign is "a non-crime."
Giuliani recalled that he was the Republican mayor of New York when House Republicans impeached Bill Clinton in 1998. He thought that his party was making "a critical error" by making it a partisan issue.
Giuliani said the Trump hush money issue is "less serious," because Clinton "committed a definable crime," perjury.
Fact/reality check: Federal prosecutors say Trump directed illegal payments to ward off a sex scandal, and many experts believe he knowingly violated campaign-finance law.
Giuliani describes the investigation as concentric circles, starting with collusion, then moving to obstruction, on to campaign finance and now "prior business deals."
"Winter has come," a Republican lobbyist texted me dejectedly.
As an indication of how negotiations are going, Trump had lunch with lawmakers in the residence yesterday to discuss border security — but only with Republicans. (On a conference call with reporters, a senior administration official wouldn't say whether Dems were invited.)
Be smart: Neither side seems to have, or see, an endgame.
The day after a New York Times editorial suggested President Trump is having a breakdown, White House correspondents Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman go deep inside the West Wing as he approaches two years:
"He regularly curses at [his staff], some say."
Save this tape: "He has privately told associates that he is glad Democrats won the House in last month’s midterm elections, saying he thinks that guarantees his re-election because they will serve as a useful antagonist."
P.S. "Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State, has resigned in protest of President Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw U.S. troops from Syria." (WashPost)
Michigan state Sen. Pat Colbeck (R) was stocked up with popcorn as he faced a long night Thursday on the last day of the lame-duck session.
What's new: President Trump "has at least twice in the past few weeks vented to his acting attorney general, angered by federal prosecutors who referenced the President's actions in crimes his former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to," CNN's Laura Jarrett and Pamela Brown report.
Why it matters, from an email to Axios by MSNBC analyst Matt Miller: "It is Trump’s worst intervention at DOJ since he took office. Far worse than his interventions with Comey. He is both a subject of this investigation ... and he’s pressuring an official he hand-picked and whose entire future depends on him."
"Police used 'military grade' equipment [that is commercially available] to defeat ... the drone incursion which sparked three days of chaos at Gatwick Airport," The Daily Telegraph of London reports:
"Authorities had placed Army and police snipers around the perimeter of the airport and had hoped to shoot the drone down or else trace it back to its operator."
Breaking: "British police [today] released a man and a woman who had been arrested in connection with the drone incursions ... Sussex police said ... the two had cooperated with police and were no longer considered suspects." (AP)
Reid Hoffman — co-founder of LinkedIn, Greylock partner and co-author of the new "Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies" — joins a venture-capital roundtable for Barron's:
"People think cloud computing is already big, so they move on. But combining multiple sources of data with VR and AI techniques has stunning implications. Would you rather have your average radiologist or a trained AI program read your films? This transformation is just beginning."
"The Adoration of the Shepherds” (1622), by Dutch painter Gerard van Honthorst (PHAS/UIG via Getty Images)
"How to Keep Baby Jesus in the Manger? Bolts, Cameras and Tethers ... As thefts at nativity scenes rise, communities are turning to elaborate security measures," the N.Y. Times' Mitch Smith reports from Bethlehem, Pa.:
"The episodes, which have rattled Christian communities, have become so common that the owners of holiday displays have bolstered security. On church lawns and in downtown parks, baby Jesus is back in his manger, but often with a security camera rolling and a tether securing him to the ground."
LeBron James, star of the NBA's L.A. Lakers, was critical of NFL owners Friday night during HBO's "The Shop" (conversations among athletes and celebrities in a barber shop), saying they have a "slave mentality," per ESPN.
"The difference between the NBA and the NFL, the NBA is what we believe he [a player] can be — the potential," James said.
A new way kids manage their parents: awesome PowerPoint presentations making the case for what they want — N.Y. Times' Katherine Rosman:
Behind the music: The article was inspired by the reporter's 10-year-old daughter, Ella Ehrlich, who asked her parents "to sit down and turn our chairs to face the family computer that sits on the kitchen counter. She asked us not to interrupt her until her presentation was complete."
The upshot: "Her dad and I punted, telling her that before we make a decision, she needs to create a second presentation that explains what rules of limited screen time she would impose upon herself."'