2020 presidential election: Joe Biden advisers smell a conspiracy

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Joe Biden advisers believe coverage of allegations of inappropriate behavior is being stoked by rival Democrats — a dynamic that could actually fire up the vice president at a time when others see success as increasingly improbable.

Why it matters: Several around Biden think advisers to Bernie Sanders are at least partly behind the anti-Biden campaign. One prominent backer thinks Biden will run, and "is ready to kill Bernie."

I got this text last night from a source close to Biden:

  • "VP directed staff this evening to reach out to supporters and donors with a simple message — full steam ahead."

Why you'll hear about this again: A second woman went on the record Monday to say that a past display of affection by Biden had made her feel uncomfortable.

  • Amy Lappos of Connecticut told the Hartford Courant that Biden rubbed noses during a 2009 political fundraiser in Greenwich when he was vice president: "It wasn't sexual, but he did grab me by the head."
  • Biden spokesman Bill Russo blasted "right wing trolls" from "the dark recesses of the internet" for circulating misleading photos of Biden embraces.

Go deeper: 2020 Democrats, establishment figures split over defense of Joe Biden

Additional Stories

House Judiciary Committee approves articles of impeachment against Trump

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The House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — on Friday.

Why it matters: The party-line 23-17 votes, which were delayed after a marathon markup hearing on Thursday lasted until almost midnight, completes the House committees' impeachment work and advances the articles to the House chamber for a full floor vote next week.

Nothing but sunshine for AVs in Florida

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Florida has become a hotbed for self-driving cars, thanks to its mild weather, unique demographics, lenient laws and an ambitious state senator.

Why it matters: States at the forefront of autonomous vehicle testing stand to reap the economic benefits — and perhaps problems, too — of self-driving cars.

U.S. and China reach "phase one" trade deal to avert December tariffs

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The U.S. and China agreed to a "phase one" trade deal on Friday, which President Trump touted in a series of tweets.

The state of play: The deal averts a new round of tariffs scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 15, and a Chinese official said that the U.S. would reduce its tariffs on Chinese goods in stages, per Bloomberg. The deal includes an agreement from China to increase imports from the U.S. and purchase agricultural goods.

Scoop: The World Bank told Taiwanese staff to get Chinese passports

This year, the World Bank told current and prospective employees of Taiwanese nationality they must present Chinese travel documents in order to maintain or pursue employment.

Why it matters: China has recently ramped up its campaign to systematically force Taiwan and its citizens out of the international community. But forcing out its own staff in this way violates World Bank employment principles.

Europe's big climate deal exempts coal-reliant Poland

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Leaders of the EU endorsed a plan Friday to make the bloc a net-zero carbon emitter by mid-century, according to a slew of reports from their meeting in Brussels.

Yes, but: Coal-reliant Poland, which balked at the target, is currently exempted from the agreement.

U.K. election: Boris Johnson's big win means Brexit is coming

Johnson on the campaign trail. Photo: Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson exceeded all expectations in Thursday's U.K. general election, and his landslide victory makes the U.K. all but certain to exit the European Union early next year.

Driving the news: With 649 out of 650 constituencies reporting, the Conservatives won 364 seats, securing the biggest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher's 1987 victory. It's an utter disaster for the opposition Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has announced he will step down after a "period of reflection."

South Carolina is the next battleground for Medicaid work requirements

President Trump and CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trump administration is losing the legal battle over Medicaid work requirements — one of its most impactful and controversial health care policies — but it is leaning into that fight even more aggressively.

Driving the news: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services formally signed off yesterday on South Carolina's work requirements. Medicaid recipients in the state will have to perform 80 hours per month of work or community service, unless they receive an exemption.

Robocallers face fight on many fronts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Federal regulators, lawmakers, and private companies haven't found any one tool that on its own can stem the flood of robocalls, so they are trying several approaches at once.

The big picture: There were a record 5.7 billion robocalls in October, according to YouMail, and the Federal Communications Commission has singled out the issue as its top consumer complaint.

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