Feb 11, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 500 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: A federal prosecutor has resigned and another withdrew from the case after the Justice Department overruled the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone. Go deeper.

1 big thing: The anti-Bloomberg barrage begins

Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

He's not even on today's ballot in New Hampshire, but Mike Bloomberg is consuming the attention thanks to resurfaced comments from 2015.

  • Why it matters: The comments touch on hot buttons in a Democratic primary, and Trump allies seem eager for a post-Biden foil.

Bloomberg in 2015, speaking at the Aspen Institute:

  • On stop-and-frisk: "95% of your murderers — murderers and murder victims —  fit one M.O. ... They are male minorities, 16 to 25."
  • On drug arrests: People "say, 'Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.' Yes, that's true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. ... Because that's where all the crime is."
  • On Russia annexing Crimea: “Nobody thinks Russia should be in the Ukraine. ... But if you really think about it ... what would America do if we had a contiguous country where a lot of people in that country wanted to be Americans. Do Texas and California ring a bell?"

President Trump tweeted and then deleted the audio. His now-deleted post called Bloomberg a "TOTAL RACIST."

  • Trump himself has promoted stop-and-frisk, saying on the campaign trail in 2016 that it "worked incredibly well" in New York, Axios' Rashaan Ayesh notes.

"Faster and sooner": Bloomberg, who argued the practice did not violate civil rights as recently as a September 2018 interview with the N.Y. Times, said in a statement:

  • "President Trump’s deleted tweet is the latest example of his endless efforts to divide Americans."
  • "I inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk. ... I cut it back by 95%, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities."

The bottom line: If Biden bombs today — and Bloomberg keeps rising in polls — expect far more of this to come.

Bonus: Pics du jour
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Above: Bernie and Jane Sanders arrive to greet people campaigning for him outside a polling station in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Below: Amy Klobuchar waves to supporters in Manchester.

Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images
2. What you missed
  1. Coronavirus update: 195 Americans who were flown from Wuhan to California are expected to be released from quarantine with no reported cases. Go deeper.
  2. The FTC is investigating Big Tech acquisitions from 2010 on, including Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet/Google. Go deeper.
  3. Samsung debuts Galaxy S20 with a focus on cameras: The entry-level S20 will sell for $999 and comes with a 6.2-inch screen. Go deeper.
  4. AOC gets a primary challenger: Former CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera has filed to challenge Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing

Screenshot via JArmstrongArt/Youtube

Decades after "The Dancing Baby" became one of the internet's earliest memes, "an enterprising college student has re-rendered the original model and animation in [a high definition format] for modern displays," writes Ars Technica's Jennifer Ouellette.

  • "The model hit peak virality in 1998, when it was featured in a dream sequence on the popular TV show 'Ally McBeal,' supposedly representing the titular character's anxiety over her ticking biological clock."

Party like it's 1998.