Oct 31, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

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

1 big thing: The impeachment story beyond today's vote

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presides over the impeachment vote today. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Today's big news was the party-line impeachment vote, but the story that could make the history books is the White House aide who described a quid pro quo.

  • On the House floor: Democrats approved their impeachment resolution, with Republicans unanimously in opposition.
  • Meanwhile, House investigators were interviewing White House official Tim Morrison, who confirmed parts of the explosive testimony from the administration's top diplomat to Ukraine, according to his opening statement.

Why it matters: Morrison, whose departure was announced yesterday, was in the room for the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

  • In his opening statement, the longtime Republican staffer said that he believes Trump and administration officials' actions were legal but "problematic for U.S. policy in supporting an ally in the region."
  • Morrison said he does not recall any NSC lawyers being on the call, so afterward he “promptly” asked the National Security Council lawyers to review the summary.

The big picture: Some Republicans are seizing on the section of Morrison’s opening statement in which he says he “was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed” on the July 25 call as proof of Trump’s exoneration, Axios' Alayna Treene emails.

  • However, as many Democrats point out, whether Morrison thinks Trump’s actions were legal or not, he said that Trump administration officials made it clear to Ukrainian government officials that they would not receive security aide until they committed to pursuing an investigation into Burisma, the Ukrainian company whose board of directors included Hunter Biden.
  • Morrison also raised alarm bells for Democrats when he said that no NSC lawyers were present on the call.
  • This matters because Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine adviser at the White House, told House investigators earlier this week that NSC lawyers had directly handled the summary of the call that was eventually released to the public, per multiple sources familiar with his testimony.
Photo: House TV via AP
Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

A firefighter sprays down the smoldering remains of a burning home during the Hillside Fire in the North Park neighborhood of San Bernardino, California.

2. What you missed
  1. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has agreed to resign amid anti-government protests that have resulted in more than 200 dead. Go deeper.
  2. Trump encouraged Nigel Farage to "get together" with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to deliver a Brexiteer victory in the upcoming general election. Go deeper.
  3. Chicago public school teachers have reached a tentative agreement with the city to end their strike. Go deeper.
  4. Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) said she feared for her life after her nude photos were published without her consent. Hill resigned from Congress amid an investigation into allegations of an inappropriate sexual relationship with a staffer. Video of her speech.
3. 1 🐕 thing

Photo: Camille Fine/Chicago Tribune via AP

In Chicago, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx swore in an unusual co-worker this week: a Labrador retriever named Hatty, a comfort dog.

At our Axios event in Chicago, Foxx told me jokingly that Hatty is now the most popular, most Instagrammed official in the office.

  • Hatty, who will work a 9-to-5 schedule, will be asked to do what comes naturally to most dogs — show affection, the AP reports.
  • The dog's job is to ease the strain of criminal proceedings on young children and people with mental health issues who have been victims of assault.
  • Hatty will handle up to 200 cases annually.
Mike Allen