If you're in L.A. ... I'll be in my native land tomorrow to lead a conversation on technology and innovation, hosted by Axios and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. My guests: L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Dan Katz of Hyperloop One, and Dr. Mory Gharib of CalTech's CAST robotics lab. We'll get started at 8 a.m. at L.A.'s Union Station. RSVP here.
BULLETIN: "Prosecutors Consider Bringing Charges [against Russians] in DNC Hacking Case," per the Wall Street Journal. "At least six Russian government officials are identified as part of ongoing investigation."
Situational awareness: Republican House members tell Jonathan Swan that the most politically explosive issue in the tax plan to be released today is the over-complicated treatment of "pass-through entities" — often-small businesses that report business income on personal returns. A House GOP member told Swan: "This is supposed to be a simplification. It's not."
Showing they plan to continue playing hardball with Big Tech, Democratic Senators Mark Warner (Va.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) created a Facebook page for a fictional political group — Americans for Disclosure Solutions (ADS) — then paid to target the newsfeeds of thousands of journalists and Hill staffers.
How they did it: Warner and Klobuchar — who have introduced a bill, backed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to require more disclosure about online politics ads — created a "Political Organization" page on Facebook for the fictional group.
Be smart: Axios media trends reporter Sara Fischer, an authority on digital advertising, tells me (vehemently, BTW) that this experiment doesn't go far enough: That "reach" doesn't mean the targets saw the ad — just that they could have.
The takeaway: Facebook has been (belatedly) the most forthcoming of the three tech giants, but their political stop gates aren't in place yet: They say they're working on it, and it will take time.
Lawmakers' rebukes went far beyond the companies' responses to Russia's interference: They also repeatedly revealed a discomfort with the size, power and limited accountability of the large web platforms, Axios' David McCabe writes. His other takeaways:
"The hackers who [tried to upend] the U.S. presidential election had ambitions well beyond Hillary Clinton's campaign, targeting the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, U.S. defense contractors and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin, according to a previously unpublished digital hit list obtained by The Associated Press":
Hallowed ground ... Two fresh roses are carefully placed in the engraved names of victims of the 9/11 attacks, at the edge of the north reflecting pool of the World Trade Center memorial last night.
"President Trump touched off a sharply partisan debate over some of the most divisive issues in American life ... as he cited this week's terrorist attack in New York to advance his agenda on immigration and national security while assailing Democrats for endangering the country," Peter Baker writes on A1, under the headline: "President Assails 'Joke' Justice And Seeks Visa Program's End."
Some Republicans were disappointed by Trump's tone. One longtime adviser to GOP presidents texted me: "A complete lack of understanding of the symbolic healing power of the presidency."
Remember the time that fired FBI Director James Comey testified that during a private White House dinner, President Trump had told him: "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty"?
Well, Axios can reveal that Comey refers mischievously to that conversation in the title of his book out May 1, "Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership."
"Trump projected an air of calm ... after charges against his former campaign chief and a foreign policy aide roiled Washington, insisting [in a brief phone call ]to The New York Times that he was not 'angry at anybody,'" Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker write on p. A12:
The World Economic Forum's "Global Gender Gap Report 2017" finds "declining gender equality in the workplace and political representation": "[T]he parity gap [widened] for the first time since ... 2006."
"The world economy should grow nicely again in 2018. (Unless someone does something dumb.) After several disappointing years, all the major economies are expanding at the same time ... Healthy growth makes it easier to deal with the next downturn," Bloomberg Businessweek projects:
"We've gotten so used to complaining about sluggishness that it's a shock to realize the global economy has quietly accelerated to a respectable and sustainable cruising speed. Market volatility is historically low.""The big story for 2018 is likely to be how to manage the continued expansion. A turning point may come at the end of September, when the European Central Bank might stop or curtail monthly bond purchases.""Bloomberg economists predict the U.S. will grow 2.5 percent in 2018; China, 6.4 percent; Japan, 0.9 percent; and Germany, 1.6 percent. In most cases those numbers are in line with the growth expected for 2017, which has turned out to be a better year than many forecasters expected."The upswing hasn't benefited everyone. The IMF points out that prospects are 'lackluster' in many nations of sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Even in wealthy nations, those at the bottom are hurting. In the U.S., wage growth remains anemic despite an unemployment."
"Inside NPR, there is dissatisfaction with CEO Jarl Mohn and his delayed action against the network's head of news Michael Oreskes" (who resigned yesterday), CNN's Brian Stelter writes:
P.S. L.A. Times front page, "Six women accuse filmmaker [Brett] Ratner of harassment, abuse: Actresses allege a range of misconduct over many years": The women "accused Ratner of a range of ... misconduct that allegedly took place in private homes, on movie sets or at industry events."
Possibly the most epic World Series ever (and including two of the best World Series games ever): "[T]he Houston Astros [won] the first World Series ... in franchise history by romping past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7," in Dodger Stadium.
Houston Chronicle: "The Astros have played 9,023 games since their franchise's inception in 1962. ... Never during the Killer Bs era had they won even a World Series game, let alone four."