May 24, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon ...

Situational awareness: Harvey Weinstein is expected to turn himself in to investigators tomorrow, per the New York Times.

1 big thing: How the summit got derailed

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

President Trump hasn’t shut the door on the possibility that a North Korea summit could still happen — but for now, he’s warning North Korea not to try anything.

Behind the scenes: A White House official told Axios’ Jonathan Swan: “They literally threatened nuclear war. …[N]o summit will work under these circumstances, when they’re literally threatening our people.”

For now, it’s back to the days of “fire and fury.”

  • Here’s what Trump said this afternoon at the White House: “Our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world … is ready if necessary.”
  • South Korea and Japan are “ready should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea.”
  • But, but, but: “It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at some later date. Nobody should be anxious. We have to get it right.”

Two views on where we’re headed, from Axios Expert Voices:

  • The case for pessimism, from Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations: “There was no way the summit could have succeeded … Better that the summit was postponed than to have ended up in dramatic failure.”
  • The case for optimism, from Tony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration: “Both leaders still likely want this meeting to happen.”

Go deeper:

2. What you missed

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reads Trump's letter to Kim Jong-un before testifying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  1. Republican and Democratic leaders were briefed on the FBI's use of an informant in 2016. What we know.
  2. Facebook has released its archive of political ads. The details.
  3. Trump pardoned Jack Johnson, the late heavyweight boxing champion, who was convicted by an all-white jury in 1913 for violating a law that prohibited transporting a white woman across state lines “for immoral purposes.” Why it took so long.
  4. Only the most affluent ZIP codes recovered quickly from the Great Recession, while the economies of the country's most distressed communities continue to struggle, according to a new report released today. Dive in.
  5. Now it's Morgan Freeman: Eight women accused the award-winning actor of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior, per CNN. The accusations.
  6. How USA Gymnastics covered for Larry Nassar: The Indianapolis Star reports that the governing body said he was “sick” or busy, rather than under investigation. What happened.
  7. The FBI's inflated stats will have a big impact on the debate over access to encrypted cellphones. Here's why.
3. Quote of the day
“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there — maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
President Trump to “Fox & Friends,” on the NFL’s new anthem policy
4. 1 fun thing: Why home runs have surged

No, it's not because the baseballs are “juiced” now. It's because they're “flying greater distances through the air because of a decrease in wind resistance,” the New York Times reports — the conclusion of a Major League Baseball study that tried to figure out why there were so many home runs between 2015 and 2017.

Why it's happening: “We cannot find a single property that we can measure that would account for decreased drag,” said the chairman of the study, Alan Nathan, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Illinois.

The bottom line: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Mike Allen