Feb 4, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's newsletter — edited by Justin Green — is 480 words, a 2-minute read.

  • Situational awareness: Iowa Democrats are promising to release a "majority" of results around 4:45pm ET today.

🚨Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is boycotting tonight's State of the Union. Go deeper.

1 big thing: Trump and Bloomberg dream scenarios

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer/Getty Images and Gary Gershoff/WireImage

It's hard to imagine a better opening for 2020 for President Trump and Mike Bloomberg than the ongoing chaos in the Hawkeye State.

Why it matters: The Iowa errors robbed Bernie Sanders and possibly Pete Buttigieg of victory laps, kept Democrats from getting clarity on the viability of Joe Biden, and opened up a new avenue of attack for a president who thrives on chaos, Axios' Margaret Talev reports.

The big picture: Trump's approval rating is at a historic high, Bloomberg is scaling up his campaign, and there's another caucus coming later this month — and they had planned on using that app!

  • Trump's Gallup approval rating hit 49%, his highest rating in that poll since taking office.
  • Bloomberg is doubling his TV ad spending and expanding staff in the field to 2,000 people.
  • Nevada's Democrats say their Feb. 22 caucus will not use the same vote-tallying app that's being blamed for Iowa.
  • “We had already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward," said a Nevada state party official.

Between the lines: These are the conditions that could help Bloomberg soar past the 15% margin required to pick up delegates in Super Tuesday states, especially if a plentitude of campaigns break the bank over the next month.

What's next: Democrats debate on Friday, and New Hampshire votes Tuesday.

  • Hopefully, we know who won Iowa before then.

Go deeper: What to expect from Trump's State of the Union address

Bonus: Pics du jour
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Above: A look at the "selfie" lines that are a staple of Warren rallies.

Below: Sen. Elizabeth Warren greets a supporter during a campaign event in Keene, New Hampshire.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
2. What you missed
  1. Boeing is pulling out all stops to appease Wall Street over the grounding of its 737 MAX, but it is saying little about the issue of restitution for the families of the hundreds who died due to faulty technology onboard its flagship plane. Go deeper.
  2. Banned for life: The former co-head of investment banking at Goldman Sachs Asia, in the fallout from the 1MBD scandal. Go deeper.
  3. The White House hosted a secret trilateral meeting in December between the U.S., Israel and the UAE on coordination against Iran. Go deeper.
  4. Yikes: Current tracking tools aren't yet able to pinpoint where most space junk is at any given time, putting satellites in danger and fueling a growing industry to track debris and satellites. Go deeper.
  5. Widely admired editor Alice Mayhew died today. She shepherded into print bestsellers by a veritable who’s who of writers — along the way popularizing the Washington political narrative, beginning with “All the President’s Men” in 1974. (NY Times)
3. 1 Trumpy 📞 call

Cover: Viking

The Daily Beast's Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay's new book, “Sinking in the Swamp,” has the details on a previously unreported 2016 Trump conference call:

  • "Team Trump tried to organize an event [where] ... he would—however tepidly—relinquish birtherism."
  • "But first, the campaign wanted Trump to release an official written statement renouncing birther conspiracy theories."
  • "Trump convened some of his top campaign brass. ... He told them he wanted to dictate a statement."
  • "This kicked off what two people on the call independently described as a seven‐minute, meandering spat of word vomit during which Trump kept finding new ways to say that his birther crusade was, in fact, necessary, good, and proper."

"Had this soliloquy been made public, it would have spanned two pages, single spaced."

Worthy of your time.