Nov 21, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 499 words, a 2-minute read.

  • 🚨🇮🇱 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted in all three corruption cases against him — for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He has claimed the indictments are "an attempted coup." Go deeper.
1 big thing: The closing arguments

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The takeaway from seven public impeachment hearings: Nothing has shattered House Republicans’ allegiance toward President Trump, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

  • That includes the Trump administration's former top Russia aide suggesting Republicans were dangerously close to being played as Russian assets.
  • "I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests," Fiona Hill testified today.
  • She was referencing the pattern of Republicans basing questions on Ukrainian political interference and the Biden family, rather than on the Trump administration's actions in Ukraine.

The big picture: Most House Republicans have been a hard "no" on impeachment since the very beginning, and even retiring Rep. Will Hurd of Texas declared himself a "no" today.

In today's session, Hill and David Holmes of the State Department fleshed out some of the details presented by past witnesses.

  • Hill said she told EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland she was frustrated he wasn’t coordinating with the National Security Council on his Ukraine efforts.
  • Hill added that Sondland didn’t coordinate with professional staff because he was involved in a “domestic political errand.”
  • Hill said she told Sondland that Trump's Ukraine policy was "all going to blow up."
  • And she called it "not credible" that Sondland didn't make the Biden-Burisma connection.

What they're saying: Hill lamented that Republicans left the hearing room after giving lengthy speeches directed at the witnesses.

  • In several hearings over the past two weeks, Republicans have asked witnesses directly whether they believed Trump committed a crime — specifically bribery or extortion.
  • Hill made the argument that she and others were appearing before the committee as fact witnesses — not to opine on impeachment.

The bottom line: Democrats considered today their closing arguments prior to the Thanksgiving recess.

Go deeper: Full highlights

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A transcript of a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is displayed during the hearing.

2. What you missed
  1. WeWork is laying off 2,400 employees as a cost-cutting measure. Go deeper.
  2. The EPA is set to roll back a set of Obama-era standards outlining how companies must store dangerous chemicals. Go deeper.
  3. Barack Obama told a Silicon Valley audience that many of the problems in today's society are fueled by globalization and automation, along with an underlying misconception of what it takes to be satisfied. Go deeper.
  4. Charles Schwab is in talks to buy TD Ameritrade, according to multiple media reports this morning. Go deeper.
3. 1 bison thing

Bison grazing in Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Matthew Brown, File/AP

It turns out that bison herds are good for the areas they used to graze, the AP reports.

  • When more bison grazed an area more intensely, the area greened up earlier and faster and the grass stayed greener and had a higher nutritional quality for a much longer time, said Yellowstone scientist Chris Geremia.

Why it matters: "Many other migratory animals in Yellowstone — pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mule deer and elk — do not form these large groups while they migrate and graze, Geremia said."