Oct 17, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 521 words, 2 minute read.

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Situational awareness: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cast himself and his company as champions of free speech in a 45-minute talk today at Georgetown University.

  • Between the lines: Talking about freedom of speech lets Zuckerberg avoid talking about privacy violations, problems with targeted advertising, "echo chambers" that deepen partisan conflict, algorithmic bias, and other issues, says Axios' Scott Rosenberg.
1 big thing: "Get over it"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

If you thought President Trump couldn't top Day 1,000 — look again.

  • His Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted in a wide-ranging presser that the withholding of military aid for Ukraine was partly driven by the desire to get them to investigate a conspiracy theory.
  • "Get over it," Mulvaney told ABC News' Jonathan Karl when asked whether that constitutes quid pro quo. "There is going to be political influence in foreign policy. Elections have consequences."
  • Mulvaney announced the U.S. will host the G7 at a Trump property, while claiming the president won't profit off the move.
  • Trump endorsed ethnic cleansing in Syria, where the Turks have vowed to remove Kurds from the border area.
  • And Trump took credit for a ceasefire over the Turkey-Syria conflict he exacerbated by removing U.S. troops.
  • The day's not done: Trump has a rally in Texas tonight.
Bonus: Quote du jour
"The decision to abandon the Kurds violates one of our most sacred duties. It strikes at American honor. What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a blood stain in the annals of American history."
— Mitt Romney on the Senate floor (video)
2. What you missed
  1. Energy Secretary Rick Perry informed Trump today that he is resigning. His departure date is unknown. Go deeper.
  2. Factory workers at General Motors will receive big bonuses and keep their health benefits under a proposed four-year labor contract, but union bargainers were unable to rescue three U.S. factories slated for closure. Go deeper.
  3. A 160-mile-long fault in California with the potential for a magnitude 8.0 earthquake has shown movement for the first time on the modern historical record. Go deeper.
  4. Juul will stop selling flavored e-cigarette cartridges online. Go deeper.
  5. The family business of billionaire West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) received the maximum $125,000 allowed under a federal program designed to aid farmers during the U.S.-China trade war. Go deeper.
  6. 2020 candidates Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg raised more than $1 million each in campaign donations in less than 24 hours after Tuesday's debate in Ohio. Go deeper.
3. America mourns Elijah Cummings

Photo: Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "In the House, Elijah was our North Star."
  • Barack Obama: "[T]rue to the giants of progress he followed into public service, Chairman Cummings stood tallest and most resolute when our country needed him the most.
  • Former House Republican Trey Gowdy: "The story of Elijah's life would benefit everyone, regardless of political ideation."
  • Former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: "He fiercely loved his country and the people he served."
  • Rev. Al Sharpton: “He was a king on a throne. The throne didn’t define him. And that’s what we’ll always remember.”

Go deeper: Cummings' life and work, in photos