J. Scott Applewhite and Lee Jin-man / AP

Korean prosecutors go after Samsung in bribery scandal

As part of an ongoing probe into impeached President Park Geun-hye, Korean prosecutors are now seeking to arrest Jay Y. Lee, the de facto leader of Samsung since his father's heart attack in 2014.

The charge: Prosecutors claim that Lee instructed Samsung subsidiaries to donate millions of dollars to President Park's confidante, and to two foundations she controlled, in exchange for the support of the merger of two Samsung subsidiaries in 2015.

Déjà vu: Lee's father, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, was convicted of bribery in 1996, and of tax evasion and breach of trust in 2009. He was neither arrested nor put in jail, and was pardoned both times by the president.

Why it matters: This latest scandal illustrates the delicate situation in South Korea, where family-run conglomerates are often given a pass. Samsung's consumer electronics business alone makes up 20% of the country's exports. However, it appears prosecutors are attempting to show they're cracking down on this, especially to show foreign investors that the country isn't controlled by businesses with cozy government relationships.

Governor Thiel?

The latest head-scratcher in investor Peter Thiel's political foray came on Saturday, when Politico reported that Thiel is considering entering the next race for California's governorship.

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Torn: A quick look around Twitter and it's clear that even Silicon Valley's denizens have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, Thiel could be very friendly to business and Silicon Valley's interests. On the other, he openly supports Trump and has made questionable comments over the years, including against women's right to vote and "multiculturalism" on college campuses.

Go deeper

How "naked ballots" could upend mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

Trump signs in Olyphant, Penn. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

Commission releases topics for first presidential debate

Moderator Chris Wallace. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has selected what topics he'll cover while moderating the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden next week.

What to watch: Topics for the Sept. 29 debate will include Trump and Biden's records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economic policy, racism and the integrity of the election, the Commission for Presidential Debates announced on Tuesday. Each topic will receive 15 minutes of conversation and will be presented in no particular order.

Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jay Powell bump elbows before House hearing on Tuesday. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

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