IADB President Luis Moreno on misperceptions of Latin America
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President Trump on Wednesday spoke with 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch about an agreement whereby Fox will sell most of its entertainment assets to The Walt Disney Co. for $52.4 billion.
Why it matters: Trump and Murdoch are old pals, but this conversation could raise accusations of political favoritism when it comes to regulatory approvals. Not only for Disney/Fox, but also for AT&T's attempted takeover of Time Warner.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders did not explicitly say that Trump supports the Disney-Fox deal, but did say that he believes it "could be a great thing for jobs."
If Trump does favor the deal, that would be in contrast to his feelings about AT&T's $85 billion deal for Time Warner, which he opposes.
One big difference between the two is that Time Warner owns a cable news network that Trump believes is too critical (CNN), while 21st Century Fox owns one that he favors (Fox News). There is no evidence that Trump's anitpathy toward CNN caused the Justice Department's objections, but AT&T reportedly plans to investigate the matter. The call to Murdoch could be used to buttress such a theory, particularly if the Justice Department permits Disney/Fox to proceed.
Trump spoke with Murdoch ahead of Disney deal to make sure Murdoch wasn’t selling Fox News, person briefed on the call said— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) December 14, 2017
Another major difference between the two transactions is that Disney/Fox is largely being viewed as a "horizontal" merger, in which a company buys up a rival. It's the sort of thing that has traditionally been of most concern to anti-trust regulators, due to concerns about too much power being concentrated in too few companies — something Trump worries about with AT&T/Time Warner, even though it's viewed as more of a "vertical" merger.
If the Justice Department supports a horizontal merger like Disney/Fox while opposing a vertical one like AT&T/Time Warner, there could again be questions raised about what was said during today's phone call between Trump and Murdoch.
Photo: Julie Dermansky/Corbis / Getty Images
European oil and natural gas giant BP announced Friday it's investing $200 million over three years in Lightsource, one of Europe's largest solar companies, to acquire a 43% stake in the business.
The big picture: This is another sign of how big oil is slowly and gradually investing in lower-carbon technologies, alongside continued investments in oil and natural gas, driven by a series of overlapping factors, such as the notion of slowing oil demand and investor concern about climate change.
Yes but: This is a drop in the bucket compared to BP's nearly $2 billion net profit it disclosed as its most recent quarterly earnings. BP's renewable-energy assets, which also include wind farms in the U.S. and biofuels in Brazil, aren't "making a material difference to the bottom line," BP CEO Bob Dudley told an oil conference earlier this year.
Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
President Trump thinks conceding that Russia interfered in the 2016 election "would give ammunition to his critics," and becomes agitated by the mere mention of the issue by his aides, according to a Washington Post report.
Why it matters: Per WaPo, Trump "has never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it," and his aides think he'd treat it as "an affront" if they were to even raise the matter. A former Russia adviser to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton told the Post: "Putin has to believe this was the most successful intelligence operation in the history of Russian or Soviet intelligence."
Go Deeper: Read the full Post report.
Relatives separated by the border wall betweeen Mexico and the United States meet. Photo: Herika Martinez / AFP via Getty Images
The Trump administration is planning a push to convince the American public that the current U.S. immigration system is "bad for American workers" and "bad for American security," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told AP.
Between the lines: In exchange for a legislative fix for DACA recipients, the White House wants funding for a border wall and a switch from the existing family-based immigration system to a merit-based one. They plan to use data on chain migration and the number of immigrants in U.S. jails to make the case that the current immigration system is an economic and national security threat.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Senate Republicans on Thursday confirmed President Donald Trump's twelfth federal appeals court nominee, setting a record for the most circuit court picks confirmed in a president's first year.
Why this matters: The federal courts carry significant weight in almost every area of policy: gun rights, executive power, LGBT rights, freedom of religion, etc, and have blocked multiple Trump initiatives in his first year. Trump's picks of young, conservatives judges for the lifetime appointments will far outlast his presidency.
Background: Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy successfully appointed 11 appeals court judges in their first year.
What they're saying: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has spearheaded the effort, said Republicans were having a "historic week."
Trump and Putin at the G20 summit over the summer. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone Thursday. Trump thanked Putin for praising the U.S. economy and the two of them discussed the North Korean nuclear threat, per the White House.
The backdrop: The call came hours after Putin said allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin were "invented" by Trump's enemies at an annual press conference, AP reports. Putin said, “This is all made up by people who oppose Trump to make his work look illegitimate ... Look at the markets, how they went up; that speaks about investors' trust in what he does," echoing Trump.
Shares in Costco rose in after-hours trading, following the company's announcement of better-than-expected profits, combined with its 14th-straight month of same-store sales growth.
Costco's secret sauce is a mix of low prices, well-trained staff, and an ever-changing, but limited assortment of products, which have all kept Americans flocking to Costco outlets when other retailers have lost business to the Internet.
The most important number in Thursday's report was a 43.5% increase in e-commerce sales year-over year.
Omarosa Manigault, who was the only African American woman among President Trump's senior White House staff, drew attention to the Trump administration's lack of diversity when she resigned on Wednesday. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders maintained that the White House has "a really diverse team" across all departments, and are always trying to add to it.
The reality: Manigault, along with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, was one of two black officials among Trump's three dozen-plus team of Cabinet members and senior staffers.
Lack of diversity of Trump's cabinet: Ben Carson; Elaine Chao, who is Asian American; and Nikki Haley, who is Indian American, are the only non-white members of Trump's cabinet.
Omarosa also suggested traces of racial tension within the White House, as she said on "Good Morning America": "
Venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar has left Sherpa Ventures, the San Francisco-based firm he co-founded in 2013, following multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He has denied all of the claims, including one made on-the-record to Axios.
Pishevar, who is best-known as an early investor in Uber while with a previous VC firm, already had taken a leave of absence from Sherpa and his portfolio companies boards. He also is pursuing a lawsuit against a political opposition research firm that he claims is behind a "smear campaign" against him.
Pishevar's statement, which he posted via Twitter:
For the seventh year in a row, Alaska Airlines was the most fuel-efficient airline among U.S. carriers, according to a study from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).
Why it matters: Naya Olmer, the study's author, said Alaska Airlines "burns about 13% less fuel than the industry average, it's a profitable airline, and it's done this for seven years running...So, it's possible." The report also notes that aviation accounts for around 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, and U.S. carriers make up 30% of that.
One more thing: Alaska Airlines bought Virgin American last year. Dan Rutherford, aviation director at the ICCT, told Axios that "a back-of-the-envelope suggests that Alaska would have lost its fuel efficiency advantage over Frontier, Spirit, and Southwest in 2016 if the merger had gone ahead then. But Alaska's future efficiency will depend on how it actually operates Virgin's leased A320s, and also for how long."
President Trump says he's confident the GOP tax bill will get Sen. Marco Rubio's vote despite a Washington Post report that Rubio is threatening to vote against the plan unless it includes the child tax credit expansion he has been advocating for.
Trump made the comments at a White House event where he "cut the red tape" of government regulations and claimed his administration has ended 22 old regulations for every new one created.