Politics & Policy

Why it matters: While Democrats fight to convince voters that they should be the ones tasked with taking down President Trump, the current administration is powering ahead on efforts to restrict immigration, unleash business and reshape the U.S. role in the world.

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McConnell: Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will help GOP retain Senate

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.

48 mins ago - Podcasts

The fight over fracking

Fracking has become a flashpoint in the election's final week, particularly in Pennsylvania where both President Trump and Joe Biden made stops on Monday. But much of the political rhetoric has ignored that the industry has gone from boom to bust, beset by layoffs, bankruptcies and fire-sale mergers.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of fracking, and what it means for the future of American energy, with Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group.

Democrats sound alarm on mail-in votes

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Democrats are calling a last-minute audible on mail-in voting after last night's Supreme Court ruling on Wisconsin.

Driving the news: Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic secretary of state of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes. They are warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere sentenced to life in prison

Carts full of court documents related to the U.S. v. Keith Raniere case arrive at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere, 60, was sentenced to 120 years in prison on Tuesday in federal court for sex trafficking among other crimes, the New York Times reports.

Catch up quick: Raniere was convicted last summer with sex trafficking, conspiracy, sexual exploitation of a child, racketeering, forced labor and possession of child pornography. His so-called self-improvement workshops, which disguised rampant sexual abuse, were popular among Hollywood and business circles.

Apple TV+ strikes show deal with Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart in D.C. on Sept. 15. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Jon Stewart, the former host of "The Daily Show," is set to release a yet-t0-be titled "original current affairs series" with Apple TV+ through a multiyear partnership announced Tuesday, per the Hollywood Reporter.

The big picture: Stewart, who set the tone for cable news parodies like "The Colbert Report," has remained out of the public eye since retiring in 2015. But he has championed political causes — including the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.

Omar criticizes fellow House Democrats on police brutality, despite sweeping reform bill

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) told "Axios on HBO" that House Democrats' failure to pass a resolution condemning police brutality that she co-sponsored earlier this year is an indication of her colleagues' inability to meet the moment following the death of George Floyd.

Yes, but: Every House Democrat did vote in June to pass legislation that would have constituted the most drastic overhaul of federal policing laws in decades.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Voters in Wisconsin, Michigan urged to return absentee ballots to drop boxes

Signs for Joe Biden are seen outside a home in Coon Valle, Wisconsin, on Oct. 3. Photo by KEREM YUCEL via Getty

Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic secretary of state of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes, warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3. In Michigan, absentee ballots must also be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.

Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage"

Former President Barack Obama launched a blistering attack on President Trump while campaigning for Joe Biden in Orlando on Tuesday, criticizing Trump for complaining about the pandemic as cases soar and joking that he's "jealous of COVID's media coverage."

Driving the news: Trump has baselessly accused the news media of only focusing on covering the coronavirus pandemic — which has killed over 226,000 Americans so far and is surging across the country once again — as a way to deter people from voting on Election Day and distract from other issues.

Democratic Facebook ads tell users who voted against condemning anti-Asian racism

Rep. Grace Meng. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

A new Facebook campaign by a political arm of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus identifies the Republican lawmakers who voted against a resolution in September denouncing anti-Asian racism, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: A number of Republicans, including President Trump, have repeatedly used racist rhetoric like “China plague” and “kung flu” to refer to the coronavirus. Research shows that anti-Asian bias rose 800% after terms like "Chinese virus" rose to prominence in conservative media in March.

20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to the rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision making," the letter says.

Whitmer: Trump is "putting leaders, especially women leaders, at risk"

Gretchen Whitmer delivers remarks about health care at Beech Woods Recreation Center. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) said Tuesday that Trump's pursuit of reelection "is sowing division and putting leaders, especially women leaders, at risk." in an op-ed for The Atlantic.

Background: Whitmer, who faced criticism for her strict response to the pandemic, was the target of a violent kidnapping plot by members of extremist groups earlier this month. That has not stopped Trump from criticizing Whitmer at his rallies and calling her a "dictator" on Fox News.

Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.

Federal judge blocks DOJ from defending Trump in Carroll rape defamation case

E. Jean Carroll in Warwick, New York. Photo: Eva Deitch for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed the Justice Department's attempted intervention on behalf of President Trump in writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit against him, after she accused him of raping her in a dressing room in the mid-1990s.

Catch up quick: The agency argued that Trump was "acting within the scope of his office" as president when he said in 2019 that Carroll was "lying" about her claim.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Japan's big coal rethink

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Now that Japan has set a target to become carbon-neutral by 2050, the scale of the challenge is coming into focus — especially when it comes to the country's reliance on coal.

Driving the news: Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's Monday speech announcing the target vowed to "fundamentally shift our long-standing policy on coal-fired power generation," Climate Home News reports.

Pre-bunking rises ahead of the 2020 election

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Tech platforms are no longer satisfied with debunking falsehoods — now they're starting to invest in efforts that preemptively show users accurate information to help them counter falsehoods later on.

Why it matters: Experts argue that pre-bunking can be a more effective strategy for combating misinformation than fact-checking. It's also a less polarizing way to address misinformation than trying to apply judgements to posts after they've been shared.

Trump, Biden strategies revealed in final ad push

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President Trump is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Facebook ads on the Supreme Court and conservative judges in the final stretch of his campaign, while Joe Biden is spending over a million on voter mobilization, according to an analysis by Axios using data from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

The big picture: Trump's Facebook ad messaging has fluctuated dramatically in conjunction with the news cycle throughout his campaign, while Biden's messaging has been much more consistent, focusing primarily on health care and the economy.

13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bloomberg gives $20 million for down-ballot races focused on climate

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg is ploughing an additional $20 million into this election cycle, flooding the airwaves in North Carolina, Texas and Arizona to promote down-ballot candidates who share his views on climate.

The big picture: Bloomberg's last-minute cash infusion comes on top of the $100 million he pledged last month to help Joe Biden win Florida.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favor."

Of note: As Republicans applauded the action, Democratic leaders warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a conservative so close to the election, as progressives led calls to expand the court.

Ina Fried, author of Login
18 hours ago - Science

CRISPR pioneer: "Science is on the ballot" in 2020

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

In her three decades in science, Jennifer Doudna said she has seen a gradual erosion of trust in the profession, but the recent Nobel Prize winner told "Axios on HBO" that the institution itself has been under assault from the current administration.

  • "I think science is on the ballot," Doudna said in the interview.

Why it matters: That has manifested itself in everything from how the federal government approaches climate change to the pandemic.

Ted Cruz doesn't think the Hunter Biden attacks are working

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz told "Axios on HBO" he doesn't think the Trump campaign's focus on the Biden family's business dealings are having any sway with voters.

The big picture: After watching the Trump-Biden debate with "Axios on HBO" on Thursday night, Cruz said he thought Trump had done very well. But when asked whether he thought voters were moved by the release of the Hunter Biden emails, Cruz replied, "I don't think it moves a single voter."

Ilhan Omar: The Squad expects liberal turn from Biden after election

Rep. Ilhan Omar told "Axios on HBO" that given the way progressives have shaped Joe Biden's policy platform, she and other members of "The Squad" expect a liberal turn from him if he's elected.

Why it matters: Progressives have largely refrained from publicly criticizing Biden in the lead-up to the election, even though he hasn't signed on to their most far-reaching policies. Instead, they're focusing solely on beating Trump.

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Amy Coney Barrett sworn in as Supreme Court justice

Amy Coney Barrett took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice at a White House ceremony Monday night, soon after the Senate voted to confirm her nomination to the high court in a 52-48 vote.

The state of play: Justice Clarence Thomas administered the oath. The Supreme Court wrote in a statement that Barrett will take the judicial oath on Tuesday, at which point she will be able to begin her work on the court.

Twitter labels Trump tweet on mail-in ballots "misleading"

Twitter on Monday labeled a tweet from President Trump that made baseless claims of "Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots," saying it shared information about the election that "is disputed and might be misleading."

Why it matters: Twitter has taken a more direct stance in labeling political tweets as misinformation than some counterparts, like Facebook, ahead of the 2020 election.

Schumer: Coney Barrett vote "one of the darkest days" in Senate history

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday "will go down as one of the darkest days" in Senate history, moments before the chamber voted 52-48 to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The bottom line: Schumer said his Republican colleagues "decided to thwart the will of the people" by holding the vote eight days ahead of the presidential election, despite opposing President Obama's nominee because it was an election year.

Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events

President Trump speaks to a crowd of 2,000 supporters during a rally at the Bemidji Regional Airport on Sept. 18 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Photo by Stephen Maturen via Getty

The Minnesota Department of Health has traced nearly two dozen coronavirus cases to three campaign events held last month, an official told Axios on Monday.

Why it matters: The Trump campaign has come under repeated fire for being lax about mask requirements and not adhering to social distancing and other local guidelines at its events.

Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin absentee ballot deadline

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision Monday rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.

Why it matters: All ballots must now be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in Wisconsin, a critical swing state in the presidential election.

Trump appointee resigns over order removing job protections for some federal workers

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Federal Salary Council Chair Ron Sanders resigned on Monday over President Trump’s recent executive order that strips civil service protections for some federal workers.

Why he's saying: Sanders, who was appointed by Trump in 2017, said he could no longer work for the president as “a matter of conscience.”

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