Dec 9, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 491 words, a 2-minute read.

⚡️The Justice Department's inspector general report is out: It found "serious performance failures" by some FBI officials, but ultimately concluded that the investigation was not tainted by political bias.

  • Why it matters: President Trump and his allies have long believed that the report would find bias and wrongdoing at the top ranks of the FBI, advancing allegations that the Russia investigation was a politically motivated hit job.
  • Go deeper.

Situational awareness: McKinsey will allow Mayor Pete Buttigieg to disclose the clients he served while working at the firm, according to his campaign.

1 big thing: The American public is right about Afghanistan

A U.S. Army carry team moves the transfer case of U.S. Army Spc. Wyatt J. Martin, who was killed by Taliban militants in Afghanistan, 2014. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The American public has been lied to about the war in Afghanistan, according to a startling report the Washington Post published this morning.

  • The big picture: Three U.S. administrations have told the public the U.S. was making steady progress in Afghanistan despite knowing the war effort was failing, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.

Why it matters: The American public has considered the war a failure since at least 2014, according to a Pew report.

  • The country is also divided over whether it was a good idea to use military force at all: 45% in 2018 said it was — down from 69% in 2005.

Between the lines: Generals, diplomats and other top officials assumed their interviews would never go public.

  • The Post gained access to more than 2,000 pages of documents after a three-year legal battle.
  • The interviews generally described a war effort without a functional strategy, along with a corresponding PR effort to obscure the dysfunction and hide setbacks.
  • “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing," said Douglas Lute, a retired general and former Afghan war czar for Bush and Obama.

The bottom line: 775,000 U.S. troops have been deployed to Afghanistan over 18 years of war.

  • 2,300 troops died and 20,589 were wounded.
  • 38,000 Afghan civilians are estimated to have been killed.
Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Erin Schaff/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

GOP staff counsel Ashley Hurt Callen speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing today.

  • Axios' Alayna Treene reports that there are no other impeachment hearings scheduled for this week, per committee aides.
  • The articles are expected to be marked up in the next few days — with a full committee vote by the end of the week.

Today's highlights here.

2. What you missed
  1. Sports Illustrated named soccer star Megan Rapinoe as its 2019 "Sportsperson of the Year." Go deeper.
  2. Trump was the most tweeted about politician in 2019, according to data from Twitter. Go deeper.
  3. Former Fed chair Paul Volcker died yesterday at 92 years old, according to the New York Times.
  4. With the help of a successful weekend showing of Frozen 2, Disney has officially raked in more than $10 billion this year in box office sales, a new record. Go deeper.
  5. Fox News is filling Shep Smith's slot with Bill Hemmer, who will take over the network's 3pm hour in January. Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing

Marion Bailey as the Queen Mother, left, and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret in a scene from the third season of "The Crown." Photo: Des Willie/Netflix via AP

"'Marriage Story' leads the film nominees for the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards, landing six nominations, followed by 'The Irishman' and 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' with five apiece," reports the Hollywood Reporter.

  • "On the television side, 'Chernobyl,'' The Crown' and 'Unbelievable' are tops with four nods apiece. Following with three noms each are 'Barry,' 'Big Little Lies,' 'Fleabag,' 'Fosse/Verdon,' 'The Kominsky Method,' 'The Morning Show' and 'Succession.'"