May 17, 2018

Rex Tillerson warns of "crisis of ethics"

Tillerson delivers farewell remarks at the State Department. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rex Tillerson, the first Secretary of State for President Trump, didn't mention Trump by name while addressing graduating cadets at Virginia Military Institute yesterday, but he didn't have to. One big quote:

"If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both the public and private sector — and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector — then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years."
— Rex Tillerson
  • "If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom."
  • Tillerson added that "America's future [should] be fact-based — not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises."
  • “When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth even on what may seem the most trivial matters, we go wobbly on America.”

Flashback: Tillerson feuded with Trump during his short term leading the State Department and was abruptly ousted in favor of Mike Pompeo, whose foreign policy views align more closely with those of the president.

Go deeper

Scoop: Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates will be reassigned as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the National Security Council said Thursday — and a senior White House official said that the administration "rejects" the rumors that she is "Anonymous."

Why it matters: Coates has battled claims that she is the still-unknown Trump administration official that penned a New York Times op-ed and book critical of President Trump.

The Fed may be setting the table for 2020 rate cuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed looks to be laying the groundwork to lower U.S. interest rates this year, just as they did in April 2019 before cutting rates in July, September and October.

Why it matters: A Fed rate cut makes taking on debt more attractive for U.S. consumers and businesses, helping to juice the economy, but also puts the central bank in a weaker position to fight off a potential recession.

Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in a $13 billion deal

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Morgan Stanley is planning to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. in a $13 billion all-stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, with plans to acquire the company known for helping everyday Americans manage their money.

Why it matters: The deal, which would be the largest by a major American bank since the financial crisis, signals Morgan Stanley‘s desire to bulk up in wealth management.