Axios PM

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November 08, 2019

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 450 words, a 2 minute read.

1 big thing: Major lead on vaping deaths

Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Top federal health officials see Vitamin E acetate as a potential culprit in the vaping-related lung illnesses that have sickened thousands and killed 39 people.

Why it matters: This is the first time "scientists have been able to connect results from product testing with clinical specimens from patients, the CDC's Anne Schuchat said.

  • The WashPost notes: Schuchat "described the lab results as a 'breakthrough' in the investigation. CDC tested for a wide range of substances that might be found in patients’ lung fluids, including plant oils and petroleum distillates, such as mineral oil."
  • But the agency isn't ruling out other compounds or ingredients as sources for the illness, which has afflicted more than 2,000 people, and killed 39, the Post reports.

The big picture: "Vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from the vitamin, has already been identified in previous testing ... in vape products that contain THC."

  • "Many of the THC-containing products were obtained on the illicit market, officials have said."

Flashback: In early September, state and federal health authorities homed in on vitamin E acetate as they tried to determine the cause of vaping-related illnesses. The compound turned up in marijuana products that patients had used.

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Employees line the balconies and escalators of the Lloyd's of London building during a service of Remembrance on November 8, 2019 in London, England.

  • The annual Armistice Day service honors those who have lost their lives during times of war. The service at Lloyd's is observed with the ringing of the Lutine Bell, the laying of wreaths before the Book of Remembrance and a two minute silence.

2. What you missed

  1. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified that Mick Mulvaney "coordinated" a plan to condition a White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on an investigation into the Biden family's business dealings in Ukraine. Read the transcript.
  2. New York-based Aventura Technologies sold Chinese-made surveillance equipment to the U.S. military for over a decade, the New York Times reports, and federal prosecutors say the company lied about the origin of its products.
  3. Republicans are putting Rep. Jim Jordan on the House Intelligence Committee to lead the party's defense of President Trump during public impeachment hearings next week. Go deeper.
  4. Schools across the country are using the impeachment debate to teach students about the Constitution, presidential power and earlier impeachment cases. Go deeper.

3. 1 🏈 thing

Photo: Vasha Hunt/AP

Alabama and LSU are ready for a #1 versus #2 showdown for the first time in 8 years, this time with a president expected to attend, the AP reports.

  • The big question leading up to the game is the status of Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his surgically repaired right ankle. Coach Nick Saban has said that will be “a game-time decision,” but Tagovailoa has been practicing and ’Bama remains a 5-1/2-point favorite.
  • If he’s healthy, it has the makings of an epic quarterback showdown: Tagovailoa and LSU’s Joe Burrow rank among the top three nationally in completion percentage and passing efficiency. Burrow is second in passing yards per game and Tagovailoa is seventh.