Oct 16, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 470 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: New details from Kurt Volker's closed-door interview indicate Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, was deeply conflicted about whether to take the job because of concerns about Rudy Giuliani's shadow involvement. Go deeper.

🚨 Breaking: Democrats say they walked out of Syria meeting after Trump insulted Pelosi

1 big thing: Congress vs. Trump

President Trump with President Sergio Mattarella of Italy. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

More than 100 Republicans joined House Democrats today in rebuking President Trump's decision to pave the way for a Turkish invasion of Syria, Axios' Zachary Basu reports.

  • And in the Senate, Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris Van Hollen plan to introduce a bill as early as tomorrow that would introduce crippling sanctions against Turkey for its military operation.
  • The House resolution calls on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to cease his military operation and urges the White House to "present a clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat of ISIS."

The big picture: The House debate on the resolution was "extraordinary for the intensity of lawmakers’ opinions," the AP notes.

  • The NY Times adds: "Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill have shown they are most comfortable criticizing the president on matters of international affairs" such as the Saudi killing of Jamal Khashoggi and a previous attempt to exit Syria.

What Trump's saying:

  • "Our soldiers are not in harm's way, as they shouldn't be, as two countries fight over land that has nothing to do with us," Trump said at a press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
  • "And the Kurds are much safer now. The Kurds know how to fight, and as I said, they're not angels."
  • "Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years with thousands of soldiers and fighting other people's wars. I wanna get out of the Middle East."

Worth noting: Trump authorized sending another 3,000 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia last week, Axios' Rashaan Ayesh writes.

Bonus: Pic du jour
Screenshot: Trish Regan/Twitter
2. What you missed
  1. The United Auto Workers has sealed a preliminary labor deal with automaker General Motors, the union announced today. Go deeper.
  2. The FCC formally approved the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, with both Democrats at the commission voting against the deal. Go deeper.
  3. Facebook is pushing forward with its Libra digital currency and expects to launch with more than 100 members, Libra co-creator David Marcus said. Go deeper.
  4. Barack Obama made an unusual endorsement of a foreign leader, tweeting that "the world needs" the "progressive leadership" of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who is embroiled in a scandal over repeated instances of blackface and brownface. Go deeper.
  5. Aging water treatment systems, failing pipes and a slew of unregulated contaminants threaten to undermine water quality in U.S. cities of all sizes. Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing

The Virgin Hyperloop One XP-1 test pod on display on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday morning. Photo: Virgin Hyperloop One

The Virgin Hyperloop One XP-1 test pod made a stop outside the U.S. Capitol this morning as part of its national roadshow introducing people to the technology, Axios' Kim Hart reports.

  • Why it matters: 10 states are competing to become the first with a hyperloop route: Missouri, Texas, Colorado, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Illinois, Oregon and Nevada (where the test track is located).