Dec 18, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 581 words, a 2-minute read.

🚨 Impeachment vote expected around 7 p.m. EST.

1 big thing: The highest drama comes home

Screenshot: MSNBC

Here's a split screen for the ages: While House Democrats are impeaching President Trump, he'll be firing up supporters at an election rally in Michigan.

Why it matters: This is the perfect encapsulation of the impeachment process.

  • Some Democrats wore black today, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lamented Trump gave Democrats "no choice" but to impeach.
  • Trump watched the House proceedings on TV from his residence at the White House, sources told Axios’ Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene.
  • Trump this morning: "Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!"
  • New development: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats have approached him and Pelosi about delaying sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in an effort to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a more favorable Senate trial. 

Vice President Mike Pence jumped ahead to Michigan, bussing around the state, headlining a “Workers for Trump” and visiting a diner and a Christmas-themed shop where he was encircled by elves, Santas, snowmen and diehard supporters.

Photo: Jonathan Swan/Axios

The other side: Previewing one line you’ll hear a lot more from Team Trump, Pence said the only bipartisan vote you’ll see today is the vote against impeachment, Swan notes from Saginaw, Michigan.

  • "Speaker Pelosi said the House would not impeach unless it was 'compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan,'" House Republican Doug Collins said today in Washington.
  • "Well, it’s not bipartisan. It’s not compelling. It’s not overwhelming."
  • Reality check: No Republicans will vote for impeachment. Several Democrats are expected to vote against at least one article of impeachment.

Between the lines: Some centrist Democrats have expressed frustration that Pelosi hasn't provided more support.

  • "There's been no guidance from the Speaker. We're getting all these ads run against us and there's no backup. So where are the ads? We’re getting pummeled with ads. So I’m curious, where the hell is the cavalry?" a Democratic congressman from a Trump-won district told Alayna.

The bottom line: There's some irony in Pelosi impeaching Trump.

  • Video emerged today of Trump telling Wolf Blitzer in 2008 that it'd have been "wonderful" if Pelosi and Democrats impeached George W. Bush.

Go deeper:

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Chris Murphy

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweets:

  • "True story: there is a White House staffer going around the Senate delivering to each office, as a package, the incoherent, scathing Pelosi letter AND...wait for it...a giant 16x12 White House Christmas card (along with, implausibly, a second smaller Christmas card)."
2. What you missed
  1. More than 200 former Obama staffers signed a letter endorsing Elizabeth Warren. Go deeper.
  2. Uber is waging a battle against Los Angeles' transportation department over the city's new data-sharing requirements for scooter and bike rentals. Go deeper.
  3. Women around the world won't have equal pay until 2277 at the current rate of change. Go deeper.
  4. The Europeans launched a telescope designed to help characterize planets orbiting stars far from the Sun. Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing

Ed Harris in a scene from the play “To Kill a Mockingbird," in New York. Photo: Julieta Cervantes/DKC/O&M via AP

The stage adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” written by Aaron Sorkin, is headed to Madison Square Garden, the AP notes.

  • For one night only in February, the stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s iconic book will be performed exclusively for 18,000 public school children free of charge.

Why it matters: The move marks the first time a Broadway play has been performed at the venue nicknamed “The World’s Most Famous Arena."

  • The entire current Broadway cast will be present, led by Ed Harris as Atticus Finch.