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Russians, With No Real Alternatives, Give Putin 6 More Years In Power

People attend a rally and a concert celebrating the fourth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea at Manezhnaya Square in Moscow on Sunday. The controversial move to take Crimea became a proud event for some voters who handed Vladimir Putin a broad election win, timed for the same date as the anniversary.

Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

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People attend a rally and a concert celebrating the fourth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea at Manezhnaya Square in Moscow on Sunday. The controversial move to take Crimea became a proud event for some voters who handed Vladimir Putin a broad election win, timed for the same date as the anniversary.

Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

Vladimir Putin won a fourth term as Russia’s president on Sunday in a vote designed to be more of a referendum on his 18 years in power than a competitive election.

According to official results as of Monday morning, Putin swept up almost 77 percent of the vote, with Communist candidate Pavel Grudinin trailing in a distant second with less than 12 percent. None of the other six pre-approved candidates rose above the single digits.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was barred from running after organizing nationwide anti-government protests, had called for a boycott of the election and vigorous vote monitoring to uncover any irregularities. But in a country dominated by state media that have helped generate a loyal following, the Putin juggernaut plowed over any obstacles, including accusations of ballot stuffing and other violations.

“Putin is great. We trust and love him. There aren’t any other candidates as of yet,” said Roza Yarulina, 64, a retired economics teacher who was voting at a polling station in a vocational school in Yekaterinburg, 900 miles east of Moscow, on the geographical border between Europe and Asia.

As a former Communist Party member, Yarulina said she cast her ballot for Grudinin because she was sure Putin would win and wanted to support her second choice.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a rally near the Kremlin in Moscow, Sunday, after exit polls showed him handily winning a fourth term.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a rally near the Kremlin in Moscow, Sunday, after exit polls showed him handily winning a fourth term.

Denis Tyrin/AP

Tatyana Ovchinnikova, 65, a retired college instructor dressed in a fur coat, said she respected the incumbent but was voting for Grigory Yavlinsky, a liberal economist who ended up with 1 percent of the vote.

“I’ve had a dream since I was a kid to put a check mark next to a candidate’s name, but it hasn’t come true,” said first-time voter Grigory Dementyanov, who intentionally spoiled his ballot so someone else couldn’t fill it out. The 21-year-old music student said he opposed all the candidates, and that he didn’t think Navalny would have been up to the task of leading Russia.

From Pride To Protest: How Russians Feel About Their Presidential Election

Like other large Russian cities, Yekaterinburg, with a population of 1.4 million, is more supportive of opposition candidates. But in multiple interviews across the country, voters voiced a combination of anxiety and frustration over the lack alternatives to Putin.

After garnering a record election win with more than 55 million votes in his fourth presidential run, Putin, 65, now has a strong mandate to rule Russia for another six years.

For many Russians, the predictability of Putin’s reign is preferable to new political upheavals.

“We Russians just don’t want things to get any worse. You Americans always expect things to get better,” said Anton Volkhin, 36, a distributor in Yekaterinburg for a national sausage company and the father of two. “Too many people have too much to lose. Those who don’t are still in the minority.”

A man walks out of a voting booth at a polling station during Russia’s presidential election in the village of Novye Bateki.

Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images

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A man walks out of a voting booth at a polling station during Russia’s presidential election in the village of Novye Bateki.

Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images

In a country that has experienced a revolution, civil war, slave labor camps, a Nazi invasion and the collapse of an empire all within the past century, many Russians express relief that at least war hasn’t reached their territory. Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine is widely seen by Russians as a defensive move against encroachment by the United States, while Russia’s 2 ½-year participation in Syria’s civil war barely registers with ordinary people.

“Honestly, I’m afraid, very afraid, that war will break out,” said Yelena Okhotenko, 36, who serves in the Russian military. “There’s constantly this aggression toward us, and we’re constantly holding back. I don’t know how long our country can hold out.”

The mother of two children, Okhotenko said she has been supporting Putin since she first could vote, in 2000. “This president did very much for Russia and my town and personally for me and my family,” she said, standing on the refurbished embankment in the city Nizhny Tagil. “He raised up our country, and he raised our quality of life.”

Niznhy Tagil, a two-hour drive north of Yekaterinburg, has been nicknamed “Putingrad” for the president’s visits to the city’s giant tank factory.

“You can’t talk about Putin’s level of support, but the level of fear,” said Pavel Sergienya, 35, the founder of an independent trade union. “People are afraid to openly express their opinion except in their kitchens, just like in the Soviet Union.”

Andrei Antropov is an exception. The 36-year-old volunteer for opposition leader Navalny was called in by the police three days before the election for a “conversation” with criminal investigators.

“I can’t rule out that there will be consequences for me at work, but I’m going to continue my activism,” said Antropov, a manager for a telecommunications company.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny holds a briefing on the presidential election at his office in Moscow on Sunday.

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny holds a briefing on the presidential election at his office in Moscow on Sunday.

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Navalny, who spent a year building a nationwide network of campaign offices and volunteers before his candidacy was denied, focused on domestic issues such as economic stagnation and government corruption.

Putin, on the other hand, highlighted Russia’s return to the world stage as an independent actor that could stand up to U.S. hegemony.

“Strange as it may seem, in Russia economic problems don’t convert well into political decisions,” said Dmitry Kolezev, 33, the deputy editor of Yekaterinburg’s independent news site “People will tighten their belts, but they won’t hold the Russian government responsible for their problems as much as, say, the United States, which imposed sanctions on Russia.”

Meet The Activist Who Uncovered The Russian Troll Factory Named In The Mueller Probe

The U.S. and European Union hit Russia with economic sanctions for annexing Crimea and backing an armed uprising in Ukraine’s Donbas region in 2014. That year marked the start of a downward spiral in relations between Russia and the West.

In the week before the presidential election, those tensions increased. Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats after accusing Moscow of being behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil. The Trump administration imposed sanctions on Russians suspected of being behind election interference and cyberattacks. Far from hurting Putin, the news added to the Kremlin’s narrative that Western countries are unfairly targeting Russia for unproven transgressions.

In the runup to the vote, Putin played up his decisiveness in seizing the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, and the election date was scheduled to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the annexation. Given that many Russians vacation in Crimea or have family there, the association was supposed to evoke a sense of pride and defiance.

Banned From Election, Putin Foe Navalny Pursues Politics By Other Means

“I’m voting for Putin for the first time in my life. Russia is the kind of country that always rallies around its leader in tough times,” said Dmitry Ardanov, 41, an office security guard in Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast. “Putin did one important thing, and after that I understood he’s a real man: He took back Crimea and supported Donbas.”

A recent poll by the independent Levada Center shows 86 percent of Russians support the annexation of Crimea, and opposition figures such as Navalny turned off voters by questioning the legitimacy of the controversial separatist referendum, which was held after Russian troops had occupied the peninsula.

What unites Putin’s most ardent supporters and vociferous foes is uncertainty over what comes next.

“We’re in a situation where there aren’t any worthy alternatives, so all that’s left is the hope that Putin can accomplish something in domestic politics,” said Rim Averyanov, 27. He quit his job as a school teacher in the provincial town of Vladimir because of his low salary and is going into the private sector in Moscow.

Averyanov, who opposes Putin, said he’s afraid a new revolution could break out if the Kremlin fails to address pressing economic issues that are impoverishing the population. But like many government critics, Averyanov said he doesn’t view Navalny as a leader tough enough to take on Russia’s myriad problems.

Even before preliminary election results were in Sunday evening, Navalny appeared on his YouTube channel debating Ksenia Sobchak, a pro-Western candidate who picked up less than 2 percent of the vote. Navalny rejected her offer to join forces, calling her a Kremlin tool and a “champion of hypocrisy” for participating in the elections.

Squabbles inside Russia’s fractured opposition hardly raise their profile as a viable alternative to Putin.

Sofia Kastilo, a 28-year-old English teacher in Tula, 100 miles south of Moscow, called Navalny and Sobchak “clowns.” Kastilo said she didn’t believe that Navalny, who has built his popularity as an anti-corruption campaigner, could uproot graft.

“Speaking about corruption: well it existed, it exists, and it will exist,” Kastilo said. “If Navalny becomes president, where is the guarantee that there won’t be any corruption? There is no guarantee.”

Like many Russians, Kastilo voiced concern about who will come after Putin when his fourth term comes to an end in 2024.

According to Russia’s constitution, no president can serve more than two consecutive terms.

Asked after his victory if he wants to change the law, Putin said he had no such plans — yet.

Saudi crown prince: If Iran makes a nuclear bomb, so will we

Saudi Arabia’s hawkish young crown prince has made it clear that his patience is wearing thin. He has accused Iran of waging proxy wars across the Arab world, through Shiite groups in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain. In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” he repeated his assertion that Ayatollah Khamenei is the Middle East’s “Hitler” and must be stopped before it’s too late.

“Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb,” bin Salman said in the interview, which aired Sunday. “But without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

Energy Secretary Rick Perry traveled last month to London to discuss a deal that would allow the U.S. to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia. The discussions addressed so-called 123 agreements under the Atomic Energy Act, which contain a set of nonproliferation conditions on how the partner country maintains U.S.-obligated items.

The agreements include conditions that require assurances of peaceful use and prohibitions on uranium enrichment and reprocessing of spent fuel.

Saudi Arabia is currently one of three countries with which the U.S. is negotiating a 123 agreement, but the kingdom has long been reluctant, insisting that uranium enrichment is a matter of national sovereignty. While relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel have improved in recent years, Israel has made clear it doesn’t want to see Riyadh retain a right to enrich or reprocess uranium.

“[MBS] may try to buy the reactors elsewhere, which won’t particularly help him because the U.S. will probably use its influence to make sure that wherever he goes, he doesn’t get enrichment or reprocessing capabilities,” said Simon Henderson, the Baker fellow and director of the gulf and energy policy program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, whose budding friendship with bin Salman was seen as key to warmer U.S.-Saudi ties, is facing problems of his own, including troubles with his security clearance to questions and loans involving his family business.

Kushner traveled to Riyadh last fall and discussed his efforts to broker an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians with bin Salman.

Some weeks later, Saudi Arabia publicly condemned a decision by the Trump administration to recognize Jerusalem, one of the holiest cities in Judaism, Islam and Christianity, as Israel’s official capital. Saudi officials say that they continue to pressure the administration to back down on plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, but Trump said this month that those plans are on track and a small version of the embassy will open this summer.

The Saudi crown prince is not scheduled to hold a news conference or issue a public statement when he visits the White House this week. Officials described the stop in Washington as more of a courtesy call before he embarks on a tour that includes meetings with American leaders in energy, technology and cinema. The 32-year-old crown prince is seeking opportunities to help translate his proposed reforms into realities, including advancements in public health and investments in the tech and film industries.

Fourth snowstorm in three weeks predicted to hit East Coast

  • Long-duration storm to bring heavy, wet snow in part of Northeast.
  • Risk of downed trees, sporadic power outages.
  • Moderate coastal flooding, beach erosion likely.
  • Expect low travel secondary roads and flight delays.

A double-barreled storm will spread wet snow and travel disruptions from parts of Tennessee and Kentucky to coastal New Hampshire and Maine as winter winds down and spring begins.

Spring officially arrives at 12:15 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 20. The storm with wintry precipitation will straddle two seasons in the Northeast.

Long-duration snow, wintry mix for some areas

The slow forward speed of the entire storm system will bring an extended period of wet snow and/or a wintry mix from the eastern part of the Ohio Valley to the upper part of Delmarva and New Jersey from later Monday night to Wednesday.

Static Snow Setup Mon Nt Tues

For part of this area, the storm has the potential to bring the greatest snowfall of the winter and early spring. However, the amount of snow that accumulates on grassy areas and on vehicles will be much greater than what accumulates on roads and sidewalks.

Washington, D.C., has only received 3.7 inches of snow this season, compared to an average of 14.7 inches to this date. Baltimore has received about 54 percent of its seasonal average of 19.3 inches.

In the area from central Ohio to northern Pennsylvania, the Hudson Valley of New York state and central New England, snow may struggle to accumulate despite lower temperatures. The rate of snow in this area will tend to be much lighter than in parts of West Virginia, northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania for example.

static Snowfall Map Tues Nt Wed 9 am

It is the second part of the double-barreled storm, or the coastal component, that will spread snow farther to the north in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, southeastern New York state and New England from later Tuesday night to Wednesday. This is when a slushy accumulation is most likely to occur around Philadelphia and New York City and for the snow to finally reach Boston.

RELATED: Storm brings destructive winds to US

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Snow from the two storms will overlap near the Mason-Dixon Line. It is in part of this area where perhaps a foot of snow may accumulate in a narrow swath from the entire event.

Static Storm Impact

Roads to stay mainly wet, while flight delays will be likely

Except where the snow falls at a furious rate, or snows at a moderate pace at night, much of the snow is likely to melt as it falls on paved surfaces like roads in urban areas.

Motorists and pedestrians should expect slippery and slushy conditions on elevated surfaces, such as bridges, overpasses and decks, and in rural areas or locations that do not receive much direct sunlight during the day.

Airline delays are likely due to deicing operations, poor visibility and a low cloud ceiling.

Prolonged winds to threaten minor damage; Moderate coastal flooding possible

In terms of wind, this will not be a powerhouse storm like the nor’easters that struck earlier this month.

However, moderately strong winds are in store for a longer duration in some cases when compared to each of the three earlier storms.

Peak gusts along the coast are projected to bet between 40 and 50 mph. A few gusts may approach this level in parts of the central and southern Appalachians by midweek.

Sporadic power outages may occur where a breeze sways trees weighed down by heavy, wet snow over the central Appalachians. Sporadic power outages are also possible near the coast where trees have been weakened by prior storms.

Motorists and pedestrians should watch for falling tree limbs in wooded areas.

Because of the 24- to 36-hour period of moderate onshore winds, moderate beach erosion and coastal flooding are likely, especially at times of high tide.

Fortunately, since the new moon occurred a couple of days ago, this storm will not be synchronized with the new or full moon, when astronomical tides are highest.

At peak, tides are likely to run 2-3 feet above average from northern Delaware to southern Maine.

Some minor back bay flooding may occur from North Carolina to New Jersey as the storm begins to move away at midweek.

The Latest Test to Zuckerberg’s Leadership: DealBook Briefing

Mr. Zuckerberg at first downplayed concerns about Facebook’s role in the 2016 presidential election (something he later said he regretted). His recent communications contain more high-minded deliberation than hard discussion of the company’s problems and how to deal with them.

These look like the reactions of a leader who thinks he is not going anywhere. Indeed, through his holding of special voting shares, Mr. Zuckerberg has an especially powerful position at Facebook that might shield him from the normal forces of accountability. C.E.O.s without that protection might do more to tackle a big problem because it more directly threatens their job security.

Facebook, of course, has taken steps to address the abuse of its network. It has added hundreds of new employees to help police posts, and it has implemented artificial intelligence technology to spot material that falls afoul of the company’s guidelines. Such initiatives cost money. Mr. Zuckerberg earlier this year said that such initiatives would have a significant impact on Facebook’s profitability. Indeed, there’s a strong argument to make that Mr. Zuckerberg’s protected position will allow the company to press ahead with expensive investments in the face of any shareholder grumbling that may arise.

In the near term, though, it’s hard to envision shareholders applying significant pressure on Facebook to be more responsive to the political and legal risks. They may believe Facebook’s extraordinary profitability – its operating profits are roughly equivalent to 40 percent of its profits – will help the stock ride what they see as a passing storm.

If governments propose restrictions on using members’ data, Facebook’s business model would be tested. The company’s board, in theory, should press Mr. Zuckerberg for details on how he will deal with such shackles. But prominent board members like Marc L. Andreessen and Peter A. Thiel are skeptical of regulation. Facebook might be tempted to fight back.

Lawmakers may hold the line, however, sensing that the public has real concerns about the company. And if Facebook’s responses look tardy and inadequate, the consequences could be harsh, as the fate of Wells Fargo shows. Mr. Zuckerberg, in his uniquely dominant position, is the one person who can make sure this doesn’t happen.

— Peter Eavis

Facebook’s woes are dragging down tech stocks.

Facebook’s drubbing has gotten worse as the American trading session has progressed.


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After opening the day down more than 4 percent, the selloff steepened driving shares of the social media giant down roughly 8 percent before noon.

The slide wiped about $30 billion off of Facebook’s market value. The stock is now down more than 12 percent from its all-time high hit at the start of February.

“We think this episode is another indication of systemic problems at Facebook,” said Brian Wieser, an analyst at New York-based brokerage Pivotal Research Group.

Facebook’s woes showed signs of spreading, too.

The S.P. 500 tech sector is the worst performing of the index’s 11 sectors.

Shares of Google-parent Alphabet are down about 4 percent at midday.’s losses are hovering around 2.8 percent and Apple is down nearly 2 percent not long before 12 p.m.

Given the outsized role the tech sector has played in the aging bull market, its declines Monday are dragging down the broader stock indexes.

The Dow Jones industrial average is down more than 400 points, or 1.7 percent, while the S.P. 500, is off nearly 50 points, or 1.8 percent.

— Matt Phillips

Lawmakers want answers on Facebook’s latest controversy

Lawmakers in the U.S. and Britain want Mark Zuckerberg to explain how Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm founded by Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer, harvested private information from over 50 million user profiles.


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“It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves,” tweeted Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

What happened: The NYT and The Observer of London reported how Cambridge had collected data from an outside researcher to better target Facebook users. Christopher Wylie, who oversaw Cambridge’s data collection until 2014, told the NYT of his former company, “For them, this is a war, and it’s all fair.”

Facebook argued that the incident wasn’t a data breach and that Cambridge had committed a violation. But former Federal Trade Commission officials told the WaPo that Facebook may have violated a privacy pact reached with the regulator. (The tech giant is reviewing whether one of its employees had been aware of the data leak.)

More on Cambridge Analytica: Alexander Nix, the company’s chief, is facing scrutiny over business dealings with Russian interests. Mr. Wylie said that one Russian company, the oil giant Lukoil, appeared more interested in political message targeting than commercial uses. And Cambridge is reportedly trying to block the airing of a report by Channel 4, a British television channel, in which reporters went undercover at the firm.

Critic’s corner

Jeffrey Goldfarb of Breakingviews writes:

“Facebook has abjectly failed to grasp the magnitude of its problems. It took Zuckerberg almost a year to apologize for his blithe 2016 comment that fake news posted across his website didn’t influence the U.S. election. In the meantime, there are mounting concerns over its online advertising power, handling of privacy matters and how much tax it pays in Europe. Ten years ago, Zuckerberg hired Sheryl Sandberg to help turn his startup into a serious corporation. It may be time for more adult supervision.”


Michael W. Ferro Jr. stepped down as chairman of the newspaper publisher Tronc after a period of intense scrutiny that included newsroom unrest at The Los Angeles Times.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Michael Ferro has stepped down as chairman of Tronc.

The newspaper publisher announced Monday that Michael W. Ferro Jr., a Chicago entrepreneur and its biggest shareholder, has stepped down as the company’s chairman. The move came just weeks after Mr. Ferro helped negotiate the sale of Tronc’s crown jewel, The Los Angeles Times.

Justin Dearborn, the company’s chief executive, will replace Mr. Ferro as chairman.

“I am confident that under the leadership of Justin and the rest of the board and management team Tronc will continue to deliver value for investors while executing the plan for digital transformation,” Mr. Ferro said in a statement.

Mr. Ferro will remain an investor in Tronc. But his decision to step down as chairman follows a period of intense public scrutiny.

— Sydney Ember

The LTSE takes a step to make companies think about the long term.

The Long-Term Stock Exchange hoping to popularize long-term thinking as a corporate governance strategy has taken another step toward making its goal a reality.


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The start-up disclosed today that it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to let it apply its listing rules to the IEX, the stock exchange famous for wanting to tamp down on high-frequency trading.

The filing — which will commence the public part of the S.E.C.’s rule-making process on the matter — advances the LTSE’s aim of enshrining what it believes are best practices in running companies into corporate charters.

If the S.E.C approves the rule, it means that companies can go public using the LTSE principles, but also have their stocks trade on traditional exchanges like the N.Y.S.E. and the Nasdaq like any other listing. That means these companies can get the liquidity they need along with the corporate governance structure that they want, according to the LTSE’s founder, Eric Ries.

It also formalizes a tie-up between LTSE and IEX, the exchange best known as the subject of Michael Lewis’s “Flash Boys.”

What the principles include

• Letting so-called “citizens,” or investors who plan on sticking with companies for the long term, eventually accumulate more voting power over the years than “tourists” who plan on sticking around for a shorter time.

• Blocking the use of certain kinds of compensation, including short-term bonuses paid to executives based on metrics like reaching a certain milestone for end-of-year earnings

• Banning short-term guidance

• Having long-term investors register their holdings with the company. “The company will know effectively in real time who their long-term investors are,” Mr. Ries said.

• Reporting requirements that include disclosing earnings per share net of buybacks, to provide a more accurate way of measuring how a company is doing without factoring in financial engineering.


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The context

• Mr. Ries has spoken of the need to reward long-term investors. “Most of the listing standards are designed to align managers and long-term shareholders,” he told me. “That frees up management to do what’s right.”

• It comes as companies continue to bemoan short-term thinking in the stock markets that has C.E.O.s focused more on meeting a quarter’s targets than longer-term goals.

• LTSE’s goal is to eventually become a stock exchange on which companies list their shares. But for now, it wants to be allowed to create a special kind of listing for IEX that lets companies go public under its principles.

• LTSE also plans to promote itself as serving companies first and foremost and to make money more from listing fees and tools and services for its companies, rather than from trading offerings and data aimed at investors.

The caveat

It’s a long road ahead. Not just for the S.E.C. rule-making process, but also in convincing start-ups to adopt these rules when they go public.

“What we have promised our venture investors is not that this is going to instantly transform the market overnight,” Mr. Ries said.

— Michael de la Merced


Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

It’s budget time, and Congress is preparing to spend

Friday is the deadline for lawmakers to pass a budget, and they are considering a plan that would cost more than $1 trillion. Expect the deficit to widen to more than $800 billion, as well as a lot of pet projects.

The proposal will probably garner Democratic support, but opposition could come from: a) fiscal conservatives, and b) President Trump (if it includes funding for a New York tunnel project).


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In related news: How the tax bill could make your credit card payments more expensive.


Thomas Donohue, chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Alexandre Meneghini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

U.S. companies warn the White House on China tariffs

Forty-five trade groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urged President Trump not to move forward with sweeping tariffs on Chinese goods.

Here’s what Thomas Donohue, the C.E.O. of the chamber, said:

“The livelihood of America’s consumers, businesses, farmers, and ranchers are at risk if the administration proceeds with this plan.”

Elsewhere in trade: Mr. Trump is requesting authority to unilaterally raise tariffs, power that could undermine the World Trade Organization. And Latin American countries are forging closer commercial ties with each other, and with China.

The political flyaround

• President Trump attacked Robert Mueller’s investigation, using the special counsel’s name in his tweets for the first time and drawing rebukes from some Republican lawmakers. Despite one Trump lawyer’s call for an end to the special counsel’s investigation, another says that there is no plan to fire Mr. Mueller.

• The special counsel is looking into the Trump Organization’s finances. What’s the connection to Russia? (NYT)

• Mr. Mueller’s case against Paul Manafort includes evidence from hard-to-crack jurisdictions like Cyprus and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (WSJ)

• Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe, the F.B.I.’s deputy director. Several Democratic lawmakers offered to hire Mr. McCabe to help him qualify for his government pension. Mr. McCabe says he kept memos on Mr. Trump.

• Senior Trump administration officials were asked to sign nondisclosure agreements about their time in the White House that would extend past Mr. Trump’s tenure.

• Kushner Companies filed false paperwork with New York City to improperly remove tenants in Queens. (A.P.)


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• Keep track of who has left the Trump administration. (NYT)


President Trump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia last year.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

What does the Saudi crown prince want from his U.S. tour?

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will meet with the Trump administration and tour several cities this week. Here are a few things most likely on his agenda:

Shoring up military and political support for its bombing in Yemen, despite American lawmakers’ concerns about the U.S. role.

• Persuading American businesses to invest in Saudi Arabia as part of his Vision 2030 plan. The crown prince will meet with Apple and Google, among other companies. Also of interest: In an interview on “60 Minutes,” he said that women were “absolutely” equal to men.

Elsewhere in the Middle East: How Saudi Arabia is building a homegrown entertainment industry. The head of the broadcast conglomerate MBC touted his company’s expanding ties to the kingdom — after he was freed from detention. And here’s the fascinating tale of Qatari royalty who were kidnapped while on a falconry hunt.


Your Spotify must-read

Bill Gurley of Benchmark asked in a tweet storm whether the streaming giant was better off pursuing profitability instead of growth. Mr. Gurley argues no — and points out that the company is now more valuable takeover bait.


Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm’s former chairman

Ruben Sprich/Reuters

How realistic is Paul Jacobs’s quest to buy Qualcomm?

The son of the company’s founder wants to take the chip maker private, à la Michael Dell and his eponymous computer empire. But it would be a herculean task. Consider:

• Mr. Jacobs would probably have to pay more than the $117 billion that Broadcom offered.

• He only owns about 1 percent of the company. Mr. Dell owned 14 percent of his.

• He would have to bring in significant equity partners, since there is no way he could finance a takeover with debt alone. But it’s not clear where they might come from (SoftBank has shown little interest so far) and whether any foreign backers could pass a national security review.

Critics’ corner: Shira Ovide of Gadfly writes, “It’s unwise for the company’s former C.E.O. to chase after a dream that can’t possibly come true.” And John Foley of Breakingviews asserts that Qualcomm’s biggest issue is mending fences with Apple.

Elsewhere in deals: Newell Brands revamped its board to settle a fight with Carl Icahn. HNA plans to sell $2.2 billion worth of property across China. CACI has bid $7.2 billion for the tech services contractor CSRA to try to spoil CSRA’s impending sale to General Dynamics.


Masayoshi Son, the founder of Softbank.

Toru Hanai/Reuters

The tech flyaround

• SoftBank is considering taking ARM Holdings public again, though it’s not clear when. (FT)

• Dropbox has reached a new low for corporate governance, John Plender of the FT writes. (FT)


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• Bitcoin is at $8,353 after another wild weekend. And Mastercard says it would be “very happy to look at” digital money issued by central banks. And Twitter will ban many virtual currency ads.

• Ola, the Indian ride-hailing company, is expanding in Australia and challenging Uber there. (NYT)

• Foreign smugglers are trying to ship advanced American military technologies to China, Russia and other adversaries at rates that outpace the Cold War. (NYT)

• FedEx has found that while robots may take your role, they might not take your job. (NYT)

• Apple is designing and producing its own device displays for the first time, unnamed sources said. (Bloomberg)

• Google wants a cut of the purchases made through user searches. (Reuters)

• Pricing ever-more-popular cybersecurity insurance is difficult. (FT)


The billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen in 2016.

Coley Brown for The New York Times

Point72’s president quits amid gender bias accusations

Douglas D. Haynes, who was named as a defendant in a suit that accuses Point72 Asset Management of underpaying women and fostering a hostile work environment, resigned on Friday, the NYT reported. Two sources said the move wasn’t related to the litigation, but it still creates another headache for Steven Cohen’s investment firm as it prepares to become a full-fledged hedge fund.

The misconduct flyaround

• A lawyer for Steve Wynn reported a woman to the F.B.I. after she threatened to go public with allegations of the casino mogul’s misconduct toward her. (WSJ)


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• An Alaska Airlines pilot sued the company, alleging she was drugged and raped by another pilot during a layover last year. (NYT)

• James Levine, former music director at the Metropolitan Opera, is suing the company after he was fired following an internal inquiry that said it had found evidence of sexual misconduct. (NYT)

• Few law firms are choosing to include partners in their gender pay gap reporting in Britain, a move that would likely widen the pay gap significantly. (FT)

Revolving door

• Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, the head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s European operations, has left amid frustration with Brexit. (FT)

• Ann Gronowski, a professor of pathology at the Washington University School of Medicine, has resigned from Theranos’s board. (FT)

The speed read

• The activist investor Edward Bramson has acquired just over 5 percent of Barclays, increasing pressure on the British bank to turn around its performance. (FT)

• Hillhouse Capital Management is raising a fund that could be the largest ever devoted to the China region, surpassing the $9.3 billion raised by K.K.R. last year. (FT)

• BBL Commodities, one of the biggest energy-focused hedge funds, is looking to raise $1 billion for a new fund that will wager on macroeconomic trends. (WSJ)


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• China plans to name Yi Gang, an American-educated economist, to lead its central bank in a move signaling that Beijing will continue an ambitious — and, some say, much needed — financial shake-up to get the country’s debt under control and keep its economy growing. China’s president also handed the reins of the country’s financial system to a close ally, Liu He.

• Blackstone guaranteed Stephen Schwarzman new rewards for his contribution to the firm as a founder when he chooses to retire — and even after his death. (WSJ)

• Christian Bittar, once a star banker for Deutsche Bank, pleaded guilty to conspiring to rig the interest-rate benchmark known as Euribor. (Bloomberg)

• An influential committee of lawmakers in Britain says the country should seek to postpone its exit from the European Union if talks drag on. (NYT)

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump tests reality in blasting Russia probe

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s latest barrage of tweets attacking investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election stretched the bounds of credulity, from false claims that “no crime” had been uncovered to assertions that his campaign had been cleared of collusion with Russia. His charge that the probe is politically biased also falls short.

That’s what The Associated Press found when scrutinizing an assortment of statements he made last week.

Trump left out important context in weekend tweets rejoicing over the firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, once a leader of the bureau’s investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s email practices.

Meanwhile, Trump told a fanciful story of Japanese regulatory authorities dropping bowling balls as part of a plot to keep cars out of the Japanese market, and, after finding himself without enough information in a trade discussion with Canada’s prime minister, simply made stuff up.

A sampling of how Trump’s statements don’t hold up:

TRUMP: “The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!” — tweet Saturday.

THE FACTS: Key context is missing in Trump’s claim of political bias by McCabe because of his ties to Democratic donations. Trump himself is a former registered Democrat who, along with his son Donald Trump Jr., previously contributed thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton on various occasions from 2002 to 2007, according to state and federal disclosure records. Clinton, whom Trump now brands as “Crooked H,” at the time was a senator from New York.

Trump also has donated at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to the non-profit group, and his daughter Ivanka is listed as a donor who gave at least $5,000.

As to McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, this is true: She ran as a Democrat for the Virginia state Senate in 2015, and the political action committee of Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe gave her campaign $500,000 during her race. McAuliffe is a longtime associate of Hillary Clinton. Jill McCabe lost the race.

Trump’s complaint, as he spelled it out in the past, is that Clinton-linked money went to “the wife of the FBI agent who was in charge of her investigation.” But that timeline is wrong. Andrew McCabe was elevated to deputy FBI director and didn’t become involved in the Clinton email probe until after his wife’s bid for office was over. The FBI said McCabe’s promotion and supervisory position in the email investigation happened three months after the campaign.

The bureau also said in a statement at the time that McCabe sought guidance from agency ethics officers and recused himself from “all FBI investigative matters involving Virginia politics” throughout his wife’s campaign.


TRUMP: “The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!” — tweet Saturday.

THE FACTS: He’s wrong to say “no crime” was found.

So far, four former Trump campaign aides have been charged with financial crimes or with lying to the FBI, and three of them have pleaded guilty and agreed to assist in Mueller’s investigation.

In all, six people — including the four Trump campaign aides — have been charged, along with 13 Russians accused in a hidden but powerful social media campaign to meddle in the American election.

Trump’s claim that the Russia probe was based on a “fake dossier” is also inaccurate. The FBI’s investigation began months before it received a dossier of anti-Trump research funded by the Democratic Party and Clinton’s campaign. The FBI probe’s origins were based on other evidence — not the existence of the dossier.


TRUMP: “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!” — tweet Sunday.

THE FACTS: Trump’s claim of political bias lacks important context.

Several members of Mueller’s team have made political contributions to Democratic candidates, including Clinton. But Mueller, who is a longtime Republican, could not have barred them from serving on the team. Federal regulations and Justice Department policy prohibit the consideration of political affiliation in hiring and other personnel actions involving career attorneys.

Mueller reports to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, an ex-U.S. attorney under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama who was named to the Justice Department post by Trump. Rosenstein serves under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Trump appointee to the Cabinet.


TRUMP: “As the House Intelligence Committee has concluded, there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign. As many are now finding out, however, there was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice State.” — tweet Saturday.

THE FACTS: Trump’s statement is inaccurate. That conclusion came from Republicans on the committee; it was not a committee finding. Democrats on the committee sharply dispute the Republican conclusions and will issue their own.

Whatever the findings of the committee, Mueller is leading the key investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Russian contacts with the Trump campaign. The probe has produced a number of charges and convictions, none to date alleging criminal collusion. But Mueller continues to explore whether collusion occurred and whether Trump or others may have obstructed justice.

Trump did not specify what he meant in accusing the agencies of corruption. McCabe was fired ahead of the release of an inspector general’s report that’s expected to conclude he was not forthcoming about matters related to the FBI investigation of Clinton’s emails.


TRUMP, on how Japanese authorities stopped a U.S. car from being approved for sale in their country: “They were ready to approve it and they said, ‘No, no, we have to do one more test.’ It’s called the bowling ball test. Do you know what that is? That’s where they take a bowling ball from 20 feet up in the air and they drop it on the hood of the car. And if the hood dents, then the car doesn’t qualify. Well, guess what? The roof dented a little bit, and they said, ‘Nope, this car doesn’t qualify.’ It’s horrible, the way we’re treated.” — remarks to a closed Missouri fundraiser Wednesday, leaked to The Washington Post and other organizations.

THE FACTS: That “test” didn’t happen. “He’s joking about this particular test,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday.

Possible inspiration for Trump’s story: a fanciful old Nissan ad showing its SUV miraculously escaping damage as bowling bowls cascade down an urban street, trashing other vehicles.


TRUMP, on a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Nice guy, good-looking, comes in — Donald, we have no trade deficit … I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know. Josh, I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid. … And I thought they were smart.” — remarks at the Missouri fundraiser, held for GOP Senate candidate Josh Hawley.

THE FACTS: The facts of this meeting are not established; Canadian officials won’t comment on whether it happened as Trump described it. Trudeau visited Trump in October and the two have spoken by phone on multiple occasions about trade and other matters as Trump pushes a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

In his hard-to-follow account, Trump is making this point: He insisted the U.S. is running a trade deficit with Canada while Trudeau asserted the opposite — that the U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada. Trump is saying that while he did not have the facts to back him up, his belief that American officials have been “stupid” about trade and Canadians have been “smart” led him to assert that the U.S. must have a deficit with Canada. He went on to say that his position was ultimately vindicated when officials took a closer look at the statistics.

U.S. statistics don’t support Trump. They show the U.S. runs a trade surplus with Canada — $2.8 billion in 2017, $12.5 billion in 2016. A U.S. deficit in trade of goods is overcome by a surplus in trade of services for an overall balance in favor of the U.S.

Trump ignores services in his rhetoric.


TRUMP on the effects of a nuclear weapons test by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: “He had a test, they had a test of a nuclear weapon about a year ago, and it registered as an 8.6. Now, you heard of that, on the Richter scale, right? So they said, man, there was an earthquake. Eight point six someplace in Asia. Where was it? Oh it was in North Korea.” — from fundraiser.

THE FACTS: North Korea had no earthquake last year approaching that level of severity.

North Korea tested what it called a hydrogen bomb in September, causing an underground blast so big it registered as a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. Other nuclear tests last year were associated with smaller seismic events.

An 8.6 quake would be 200 times bigger — and release 2,818 times more energy — than a 6.3.


TRUMP on his proposed border wall with Mexico: “It will save thousands and thousands of lives, save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars by reducing crime, drug flow, welfare fraud and burdens on schools and hospitals. The wall will save hundreds of billions of dollars — many, many times what it is going to cost. … We have a lousy wall over here now but at least it stops 90, 95 percent. When we put up the real wall, we’re going to stop 99 percent, maybe more than that.” — remarks last week in San Diego, while visiting prototypes of the wall.

THE FACTS: There are no measures of how well walls work.

Congress’ main watchdog found that the government does not have a way to show how barriers prevent illegal crossings from Mexico. A Government Accountability Office report last year said U.S. Customs and Border Protection “cannot measure the contribution of fencing to border security operations along the southwest border because it has not developed metrics for this assessment.”

That’s after the government spent $2.3 billion from 2007 to 2015 to extend fences across 654 miles (1,052 kilometers) of border and more to repair them.

Without knowing how many crossers will be deterred by a wall, it is impossible to know how much money taxpayers might save in schools, hospital spending and other services.


TRUMP: “By the way, the state of California is begging us to build walls in certain areas. They don’t tell you that, and we said no, we won’t do it until we build the whole wall.” — remarks last week in California.

THE FACTS: Trump made a similar claim last month on Twitter but has yet to say who in California wants the wall. The state unsuccessfully sued to prevent construction of Trump’s wall, claiming he was wrong to forgo environmental reviews.


Census Bureau on U.S.-Canada trade:

U.S. Trade Representative on 2016 trade with Canada:

Earthquake magnitude calculator:

Federal study on border wall:


Associated Press writers Calvin Woodward, Eric Tucker, Seth Borenstein, Josh Boak and Christopher Rugaber in Washington and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.


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