Happy Thursday! Axios AM brings you what matters, in Smart Brevity. (Today: 1,165 words ... < 5 minutes!)
⚡ Situational awareness: A violent tornado that "felt like an earthquake" hit overnight in Jefferson City, Missouri's capital, causing heavy damage and killing three. (CNN)
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Some House Democrats think they'd have better luck getting testimony and documents if they launch an impeachment inquiry against President Trump — which is why they're pushing Speaker Pelosi so hard, Axios managing editor David Nather writes.
Reality check: It's not like the Trump administration would suddenly drop its fight against Congress and dump a bunch of documents in Pelosi's arms. The big difference between impeachment proceedings and a regular investigation, legal experts say, is that Congress might have a stronger hand in the courts to get some of the information it wants.
The two big differences:
1) Grand jury material: Courts would be more likely to rule that Congress' need to see Mueller grand jury material overrides the federal rule keeping it secret.
2) Legislative purpose: It would be harder for the Trump administration to win a court fight by arguing that Congress doesn't have a "legitimate legislative purpose," the reason Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cited in his decision not to release Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The bottom line: None of this affects the political decision of whether it's wise for House Dems to move ahead. Pelosi says it isn't, and so far most Democratic committee chairs are siding with her. But the pressure is building.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
An epic test for Europe’s far right begins today with four days of continent-wide parliamentary elections. They'll send a medley of nationalists to Brussels — and a message to mainstream parties all over, Axios World editor David Lawler writes.
Why it matters: Emmanuel Macron, France’s fiercely pro-EU president, has portrayed it as a referendum on the European project.
What to watch: Turnout is often low, but the consequences can be big.
The big picture: Since 2014, Brussels has largely remained insulated from the political upheaval around the continent, says Erik Brattberg of the Carnegie Endowment. No longer.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Short of a highly improbable climbdown by China, President Trump is likely to maintain an aggressive public posture toward Beijing at least through 2020, Axios Future editor Steve LeVine writes.
Why it matters: Standing tall against China is one of the few issues with strong bipartisan popularity across the country, which will make Trump unlikely to let it go, especially given the strong economy.
What's happening: Health care is a key bipartisan campaign issue. But for Trump, China could be more important, exemplifying what he sees as his key attribute — strength against the foes he sees everywhere.
Be smart: This dynamic — the deeply visceral support for a sharp-edged approach to China — could change the complexion of the election.
Head start: A car sits alone in a parking lot at Jones Beach, Long Island.
Speaker Pelosi, leaving a closed-door meeting with House Democrats on impeachment yesterday morning: "[W]e believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up. In a cover-up." (Video)
Above: Trump leaves after delivering a statement in the Rose Garden.
Below: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before the House Financial Services Committee.
The Pentagon today will present plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 more troops to the Middle East, in a move to beef up defenses against potential Iranian threats, AP's Lolita Baldor and Bob Burns report.
What's new: "CBS' 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' will claim the No. 1 ranking in late night among adults 18-49 for the 2018-19 season," which ended last night, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Mario Batali, 58, "who stepped away from his restaurant empire after several women accused him of sexual harassment and assault, is now facing criminal charges for allegedly kissing and groping a woman against her will in a Back Bay restaurant in 2017." (Boston Globe)
Speaker Pelosi and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump were honored last night at the Internet Association’s Sixth Annual Charity Gala:
Ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup, which runs June 7 to July 7 in France, TIME's Sean Gregory interviews soccer star Alex Morgan, who leads the favored U.S. team.
Morgan is the sport’s most marketable American star since Mia Hamm and the linchpin of Team USA’s bid to clinch a second consecutive World Cup title this summer. ...
But the team’s success highlights glaring inequities. Despite the popularity of the women’s team, the men are positioned to make substantially more money.
Former U.S. captain Abby Wambach, on the fight for equal pay:
Morgan, on going to the White House after the World Cup: "I don’t stand for a lot of things the current office stands for."
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