Dec 4, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 493 words, a 2-minute read.

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1 big thing: The historical definition of impeachment

From left to right: Noah Feldman, Pamela Karlan, Michael Gerhardt and Jonathan Turley. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler signaled at today's televised hearing that the committee is broadening the scope of the impeachment inquiry to include Robert Mueller's findings, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

  • Democrats displayed three impeachable offenses on the screens in the room:
  1. Abuse of power and bribery.
  2. Obstruction of Congress.
  3. Obstruction of justice.

Why it matters: This is the clearest sign yet that these could be the articles of impeachment ultimately drafted by the committee.

This hearing hasn't had the fire of the pre-Thanksgiving witnesses.

  • Some Republicans looked bored throughout the hearing.
  • Not a single Republican or Democrat asked a question to a witness from the other party.

Today's agenda: Legal professors walked the panel through whether the evidence gathered in the impeachment inquiry so far meets the historical definition of impeachment.

The Democratic witnesses:

  • Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan: "Everything I know ... tells me that when President Trump invited — indeed, demanded — foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this country the 'republic' to which we pledge allegiance."
  • Harvard law professor Noah Feldman: "President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency."
  • UNC-Chapel Hill law professor Michael Gerhardt: "The president’s serious misconduct ... are worse than the misconduct of any prior president."

The Republican witness:

  • George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley: "[O]ne can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous."


Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Mustafa Kamaci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Trump is welcomed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg during the NATO summit in London.

  • Trump's response today to the video that surfaced of NATO leaders appearing to mock him: "Well, he's two-faced." (Video)
2. What you missed
  1. Rudy Giuliani traveled to Ukraine and Hungary this week in order to meet with the same former Ukrainian prosecutors whose unsubstantiated claims about Joe Biden and his son helped set off the impeachment inquiry, the New York Times reports.
  2. The FCC intends to launch a new $9 billion 5G Fund to spur deployment of wireless service in hard-to-serve rural areas. Go deeper.
  3. Joe Biden's tax plan to raise $3.2 trillion over a decade from tax increases in order to pay for his climate and health care proposals. Go deeper.
  4. Small business owners are reporting record-high confidence about their businesses and finances. Go deeper.
  5. Pittsburgh's first unicorn: Duolingo raised $30 million in Series F funding led by Alphabet's CapitalG at a $1.5 billion valuation. Go deeper.
3. 1 ⚡️ thing

Photo: Thom Benson/Tennessee Aquarium via AP

An electric eel in Tennessee is lighting up a Christmas tree.

  • A special system connected to the eel's tank enables his shocks to power strands of lights on a nearby tree, the AP reports.

"Miguel releases low-voltage blips of electricity when he is trying to find food, aquarist Kimberly Hurt said. That translates to a rapid, dim blinking of the Christmas lights."

  • "When he is eating or excited he emits higher voltage shocks which cause bigger flashes."

Go deeper: See the eel's Twitter account.