Oct 20, 2019

McConnell yet to discuss impeachment timeline with Democratic leaders

House and Senate Leaders, including Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy. Photo: by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

Mitch McConnell is prepping Senate Republicans for an impeachment trial to begin as early as Thanksgiving, but he has yet to even talk about impeachment with Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer, McConnell's spokesperson David Popp tells me. "Right now it’s way too early," he said.

The big picture: With House Democrats keeping their findings behind closed doors, "we have to assume that they’re going to move faster than we expect them to," a senior GOP aide said. "Thanksgiving and Christmas just happen to be a good mile marker."

What we're hearing: If the House does vote to impeach, Senate leadership is hopeful McConnell and Schumer will strike some type of agreement on a definitive timeline for how long the trial will last, similar to how Sens. Trent Lott and Tom Daschle coordinated on Senate trial rules after Bill Clinton was impeached.

  • Otherwise, the timeline would be left to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who would preside over the Senate trial, senior aides say.

Behind the scenes: Personally, no one wants to remain in Washington for an impeachment battle over the holidays. Members and staffers from both parties griped to me about this potential scenario this week.

  • "There's no way I'm missing my vacation," one Democratic committee aide said.

Go deeper: Trump's Senate red wall against impeachment

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Snapchat will no longer promote Trump's account in Discover

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Snapchat will no longer promote President Trump's account on its "Discover" page of curated content, a spokesperson tells Axios, after Trump tweeted comments that some suggested glorified violence amid racial justice protests.

Why it matters: Snapchat is taking action on the president's account for comments he made elsewhere. That's going farther than other big tech firms and signals a commitment to aligning content served to users with core values, rather than making moderation decisions based narrowly on each post made on its own platform.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Wednesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Chinese coronavirus test maker agreed to build a Xinjiang gene bank

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A leading Chinese gene sequencing and biomedical firm that said it would build a gene bank in Xinjiang is supplying coronavirus tests around the world.

Why it matters: U.S. officials are worried that widespread coronavirus testing may provide an opportunity for state-connected companies to compile massive DNA databases for research as well as genetics-based surveillance.