Nov 21, 2019

NBC: Trump had undisclosed dinner with Facebook's Zuckerberg and Thiel

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill Oct. 23. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump hosted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and board member Peter Thiel at a White House dinner in October that was not disclosed, the social network giant confirmed to NBC late Wednesday.

Details: NBC notes that it's "unclear why the meeting was not made public or what Trump, Zuckerberg and Thiel discussed."

What they're saying: A Facebook spokesperson told the network, "As is normal for a CEO of a major U.S. company, Mark accepted an invitation to have dinner with the President and First Lady at the White House."

The big picture: Trump also had an unannounced meeting with Zuckerberg in September. The meetings took place as Zuckerberg faced pressure from regulators and lawmakers on privacy and other issues.

  • Billionaire investor Thiel is the tech industry's highest-profile Trump supporter.

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Zuckerberg doubles down in CBS interview on Facebook false ads policy

Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg attend the Nov. 3 Breakthrough Prize Ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg remained defiant in a "CBS This Morning" interview airing Monday on the social media giant posting political ads containing false information.

The big picture: Per Axios' Scott Rosenberg, Facebook's policy lets politicians make virtually any claim they want, in ads or posts, including repeating verbatim a false claim that has already been labeled elsewhere as false.

What they're saying: In CBS host Gayle King's interview with Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, the Facebook co-founder said, "I don't think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news."

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Read Adam Schiff's opening statement in the Hill-Holmes impeachment hearing

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) set the stage Thursday with his opening statement in the House impeachment inquiry's public hearing featuring Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia adviser, and David Holmes, a State Department official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

The big picture: Schiff, summarizing the hours of public testimony so far, said that the hearing would provide a split-screen on the Trump administration's Ukraine affairs with testimony from Hill, who was working in D.C., and Holmes, who was working in Kyiv.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Report: Trump in flavored e-cigarette ban backflip

First lady Melania Trump and President Trump speak to journalists at the White House after announcing his e-cigarette ban plans, Sept. 11. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump has backed away from plans to ban most flavored e-cigarettes, the Washington Post first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: It's the latest "chaotic" policy reversal following a dramatic declaration by the president to the contrary, per WashPost, which notes he's made differing statements on gun control, leaving troops in Syria and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Go deeperArrowNov 18, 2019